The Racine Art Museum Zero Waste Art Initiative
Rebirth & Reclamation: Springtime Sprouts in Racine
at 1401 Washington Avenue in Uptown Racine
Dripping with raindrops, hovering with hives, drizzled with dragonflies, littered with lilies—let this installation by Racine Art Museum take you into a fantasy world of eco-design art with a nod to the opulent storefront windows of days gone by.
This window diptych mimics large-scale merchanding displays using a whimsical and floral spring theme. However, when you look beyond the illusion, there’s a deeper message. Will we continue to have beautiful flora and fauna as our natural resources are depleted? What will happen to our oceans, lakes, and rivers when plastic completely permeates these environments?
Peek into our unnatural world to discover truths around the abundance of overconsumption and waste. Each element is created with by-products and waste from local manufacturers and businesses or from the museum’s own recycling bin of art making materials. Even the concept is a recycled idea—a fantastical display from a bygone era, evoking the elegant windows of Marshall Fields, Gimbels, and similar large department stores. Look closely to see a wall of waste masquerading as a living wall and tree saplings growing from cardboard. Oversized lily pads, lilies, and other flora are cultivated from foam. Big bottle cap bugs and grocery store plastic bag beehives float about. The lighting was created with recycled wood and lighting, while most of the paint used was test paint that would have otherwise been tossed.
These windows are part of RAM’s Zero Waste Art Initiative—an innovative, multi-faceted eco-design venture that redirects the dialogue and changes the narrative around environmental issues. RAM aims to bring forth change through building community awareness around reducing consumption practices, reimaging waste as a resource, creating solutions for reuse, and making socially responsible art. This initiative is working to establish partnerships with local businesses and manufacturing plants to reduce their waste and keep it out of landfills by turning these materials into educational, eco-art.
RAM would like to thank our many partners for donating their waste materials to this program, particularly Butter Buds, Cree Lighting, and Alter Trading Corporation.
This project is co-sponsored by the Racine Arts Council Art Seed Grant—with funding provided by Wisconsin Arts Board and Real Racine.