May 19, 2010

Local art to adorn Collegetown waste cans

Trash receptacles in Collegetown soon will have a new look as four pairs of garbage and recycling cans, adorned with student and local art, are installed in coming months to encourage less street littering and more recycling and to help beautify Collegetown. And it's all thanks to a group of eco-minded students.

Collegetown ART (Art, Recycling and Trash cans), a project of the student-run Sustainability Hub at Cornell, has been raising money this academic year and recently sponsored an art contest. The 20 winning designs by eight artists will soon be displayed on the new trash and recycling receptacles to be installed in four locations over the next few months in Collegetown.

"The current trash and recycling cans in Collegetown are gray, dreary and poorly marked," said Whitney Larsen '10, who launched the project with Chelsea Clarke '10. "We hope that making the new cans bright, conspicuous and attractive will encourage people to actually use them and respect them as community property."

Local artist Helena Cooper designed the top five winners; Tyler Armstrong '11 designed the next group of winners; other winning designs were submitted by Alyssa Tsuchiya '12, Bari Greenfeld '10, Mitchell Chisholm '13, Jessica Stitt '10, LaiYee Ho '12 and K.C. Alvey '12. The panel of judges stemmed from the Collegetown Neighborhood Council, Public Art Commission, Johnson Museum, Ithaca Common Council and Collegetown residents. Each set of cans will display five designs.

After securing permission from the city to install the cans and arrange pickups for four locations in Collegetown, the Collegetown ART group secured a $2,000 grant from the Public Service Center to run the art contest, and raised $1,500 via a fundraiser with Kaplan Test Prep, a $400 sponsorship from the Cornell Graduate and Professional Student Assembly and about $1,000 in small donations. And last week, the group received a $1,500 grant from Clean Air Cool Planet.

Money raised to date is enough to support the installation of two pairs of cans this summer, says Larsen. Money for the remaining two locations (approximately $1,985) will be raised next fall, and the cans will be installed as funds become available.

"The addition of urban artwork will make Collegetown a more pleasant place to live," said Trevor Romich '13, a new member of the group.

Two pairs of cans will be located on College Avenue and two pairs will be on Dryden Avenue.