By SAMANTHA MIDDLESTEAD/Montana State News
Rubber duckies and a dinosaur were the stars of the show this past weekend during the launch of the Human Empowered Arts Project at the Gallatin Earth Celebration’s Clean Up and Sustainability Fair.
These commonly discarded childhood toys transformed into modern flowerpots and were exhibited during the HEAP debut. These items demonstrated a few of the opportunities provided by the new non-profit, which showcased its “upcycling” skills at the Bogert Park event.
Executive Director Anna Hernandez has been planning this event since she made the decision to start the program in January.
“This was an idea I had been sitting on for quite a while,” said Hernandez.“The public interest has gotten me excited, and now I cannot wait to give Bozeman even more,” she said. “We have made multiple contacts and this is just what we needed to get ourselves up and running.”
With a stated mission of empowering Bozeman through creative and environmental education, HEAP plans to partner with teachers, artists and institutions to promote awareness and community action.
With a booth compiled from old doors, cardboard and chicken wire, HEAP Bozeman’s presentation aimed to demonstrate the benefits of upcycling and the reusability of surplus items found around the home.
Patrons of the event commented on the variety of items that were created from 100-percent reusable products and searched for the objects that made up the booth.
Taylor Feiss, a local business owner, hunted down the items and stated, “They made a stool entirely out of cardboard that held my weight. When I first looked I had no idea what it was made of until they told me.”
Cameron Miller, a Montana State University student, examined a bird feeder made from teacups and the leg of a chair. After careful observation he said, “This is insane how they made this. Upcycling is a new concept to me, but even now I am thinking of all the stuff around my house I could reuse.”
With creative activities occurring throughout the day, HEAP gave patrons of the fair the opportunity to build their own art. Children made caterpillar planters made from egg cartons while parents focused on the interactive education HEAP could provide.
Alexandra Thomas, a mother of three, saw this as artistically fun but also educationally interactive. When asked if her kids could learn from this program Thomas said, “I am always teaching my children about the environment and if they are having fun while doing it then I am one happy parent.”
HEAP plans to start upcycling activities beginning in June. “Our launch was just the first step. We still have a ton of work to do, but now the community is aware of what we have to offer,” said Hernandez.
“HEAP will give Bozeman a new form of art,” she continued, “And I cannot wait for what the future has in store for us.”
Edited by Megan Higgins.