Adams County Arts Council – Supporting the arts in Adams County, PA

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Artist Spotlight: Melissa Swift and the Recyclable Art Contest

Posted on: March 30th, 2015 by Lisa Cadigan

20150327_152842_resized“If you can see beauty in everything, you are an artist.” –Anonymous

Melissa Swift has been teaching art at Fairfield Elementary School since 2007, a position she filled after Adams County Arts Council (ACAC) Board Member Louise Garverick retired. Melissa credits Louise with connecting her to ACAC and introducing her to the Recyclable Art Contest and Exhibit, an event sponsored by the Gettysburg Recycling Committee and McDonald’s, which invites students across Adams County to submit pieces constructed entirely of recyclable materials. This year marks the show’s 20th year, making it the most long-lived event at the the ACAC.

Before inviting her students to showcase their work at ACAC, Melissa holds her own contest at Fairfield Elementary. Participation is voluntary – it’s not a graded project. The children work on their recyclable art projects at home, but the kids look forward to participating every year. She does set aside one day of class time to talk about why it’s important to recycle and to show examples of past projects, encouraging students to think about how they can turn someone else’s trash into an aesthetically pleasing treasure. This year, she discovered students had already started their projects before she even announced the contest. Fairfield Elementary’s contest boasts 48 entries this year, all of which will be invited to participate in the exhibit at ACAC. “There were actually fewer entries this year than last,” Melissa said, “but they are all of high quality, so they will all be invited to participate.” Melissa works hard to teach the children how to transform their work to its highest potential, worthy of aesthetic appreciation.

For the ACAC contest and exhibit, each student may submit one work of art that does not exceed a size of 36 inches in any direction, and that is constructed entirely of recyclable materials. The projects are rated by a panel of judges based on the following criteria:

Flowers

Claudia Bricker (2nd grade) points to her garden collage constructed with all recycled materials. Claudia received First place in 2014 in the Fairfield Elementary Show.

  • integration and transformation,
  • creativity, individuality, originality and uniqueness
  • and presentation.

Cash prizes are awarded to the top four entries in each of the following categories:

  • Grades K-2
  • Grades 3-5
  • Grades 6-8
  • Grades 9-12

One piece will be selected as
best in show.

Artists are invited to submit their projects on March 31 and April 1, and the show will open to the public for First Friday on April 3. Awards will be presented on Saturday, April 18. A People’s Choice award will also be presented – be sure to visit the show to cast your vote, and reinforce the message that if we stop to look long enough, there truly is beauty in everything.

Some photos of the Fairfield Elementary entries for 2015:

2015pieces

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