Reclaimed Waste = Artful Invention
The Coastal Oregon Artist Residency
The third annual Coastal Oregon Artist Residency (COAR) has grown this year from two artists to three. COAR was launched in 2016 as a collaborative effort of Recology Western Oregon (RWO), an employee-owned company that manages resource recovery facilities on the North Coast, and local arts non-profit Astoria Visual Arts (AVA) to raise awareness of the nexus of recycling and art-making by supporting the creation of art from repurposed and discarded materials.
The three 2018 COAR artists are Cara Mico of Nehalem, Stephen Shumaker of Knappa, and Wenda Vorce of Astoria. The artists were chosen via a rigorous application process. Each will be provided with a monthly stipend, materials, and dedicated studio space at RWO’s Astoria Recycling Depot and Transfer Station over a three-month period, which began July 2, 2018. All work completed during the residency will be exhibited this fall in Astoria.
“The submissions were so impressive this year we decided to expand the program to include not only Cara and Wenda, who will make art out of recyclables, but also Stephen, who plans to document their work,” said Danielle Gambogi, Project and Art Program Manager at Recology and a member of the 2018 COAR selection committee. “Those of us working on the project at RWO and AVA are delighted with the level of thought and creativity brought to bear by these artists and can hardly wait to see what they come up with during the residency.”
Cara Mico is currently the program director for the Cannon Beach Arts Association. She holds a graduate degree in nonprofit arts administration and a B.S. in watershed science and policy. A longtime resident of the Oregon coast, Mico has been a practicing artist her entire life, having studied fine art at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. She plans on using the residency to create a series of paintings using found materials.
Wenda Vorce first became involved in making art via recycled objects in the 1980s and has continued since that time. Vorce describes the fanciful items she creates as “cleaning up the earth one piece of art at a time.” She discovered that creating art from the things she salvaged was not only a good use of the resources, but that people enjoyed her handiwork enough to buy it. “I can't say for certain what I will make with what I find [during the residency.]” said Vorce. “I usually let the materials dictate what they will become.”
Stephen Shumaker is a photographer, filmmaker, and educator. Much of his work is focused on environmental sustainability and cultural awareness. Shumaker plans to continue “Plastic in Paradise,” an in-progress photography project of his, as well as document the work of Mico and Vorce, in photographs and video, over the next three months.
By supporting artists who work with recycled materials, AVA and RWO hope to encourage people to conserve natural resources and promote new ways of thinking about art and the environment. For more information about the COAR program, visit astoriavisualarts.org and recology.com/recology-western-oregon.
Employee-owned Recology Western Oregon manages municipal disposal processes and services that span the needs of urban, suburban and rural communities. Recology companies operate in California, Oregon and Washington, coordinating dozens of recycling programs to recover a variety of materials.
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