On Wednesday, Nov. 13, the James Center lobby was filled with art pieces all made from litter found throughout Eckerd’s campus. Hosted by the Reduce Single-Use Project, students and faculty were welcome to browse through the art, talk with the artists that made the piece and vote on their favorite for the Critic’s Choice Award.
With a huge plastic bag made of smaller, individual plastic bags, a sculpture of bird skeletons with trash inside their stomachs, various paintings and photographs and an educational, yet comical, video the “Used Once, Lasts Forever” Art Show had something for everyone to enjoy.
“I'm just so proud with how it went,” Reduce Single-Use Project Co-head Shannon Gowans said. “It came together so beautifully, the artwork is incredible and it's amazing the creativity that the students have brought; it’s fantastic.”
Three judges of various backgrounds picked winners for five categories. St. Pete City Councilwoman Gina Driscol, Adjunct Professor of Visual Arts Betsy Orbe Lester and ASPEC Member Laurie Clement all judged the student’s artwork for five categories. The sixth category was judged by the audience as attendees filled out a survey throughout the night.
“A Plastic Cry ‘Help’ ” by Adam Maxwell
“Plastic Patrol” Video by Reilley McHale and Cam Laramer
“Plastic Prison” by Annalise Sutter
“Eternally Unnatural” by Phoenix Ridings
“The Closet in the Skeleton” by Esi Wadee
“A Plastic Cry for Help” by Adam Maxwell
Senior Phoenix Ridings with her plastic bag art piece said she was thrilled to be part of the event. Originally for her performance art class, she taped many plastic bags together over many hours that she and her friends had accumulated to make one single plastic bag.
“This event is my first art show, which is pretty exciting,” Ridings said.
She filmed another student struggling within the plastic bag on South Beach, representative of the struggle so many creatures face in plastic pollution. Ridings submitted just the bag itself to the art show, while the staged film was for her class.
“This really puts in perspective for us versus the trash that we're creating,” Ridings said. “You can see this person stuck in the plastic bag like a wounded animal would be.”
At about 6:30 p.m., Dean of Students Jim Annarelli formally presented the break free from plastics pledge signed by President of Eckerd Donald R. Eastman III, who was traveling that night. President of ECOS Bailey Cross also signed the pledge, making the policies also applicable to ECOS-affiliated organizations.
“There is a lot of interest. I see people talking to the artists and talking to each other. And it's been really more than we could have hoped for,” Gowans said.