C'mon, get scrappy

By Holly Johnson

Scrapfest challenges teams to transform trash into eye-catching artwork

Friedland Industries’ scrap yard is filled with 9,000 pounds of abandoned scrap metal. To an average consumer, this may appear entirely worthless, even useless. But not the Old Town Commercial Association, which enables artists to use the metal to create unique sculptures for its fourth annual Scrapfest, in conjunction with Old Town’s Festivals of the Moon and Sun.

Louise Gradwohl, executive director of OTCA, said Scrapfest began as an idea proposed by Old Town’s Such Video Inc. owner, David Such. After attending a similar festival in Los Angeles, Such was inspired to spread the idea of turning recycle scrap into art.

“The idea of repurposed art — and Old Town being an artistic community — it was like, ‘Why are we not doing this?’” Gradwohl said.

In Scrapfest, 17 teams have one hour to collect up to 500 pounds of metal and two weeks to compile a sculpture entirely made of what they find. To join Scrapfest, artists submitted examples of their work, plus a statement describing their creative process, what they intended to create and the purpose of the project. A committee of 12 reviewed each submission to decide who would become the scrappiest artists in Lansing.

Participating teams are The Barn, Jamco, Iron on the Move, Alka Creative, ARC Angels, Scrap Art Guy, We-Are-Junk, Iron in the Blood, Artistic Design Services, Scrap on my Mind, Metal Masters, Junkyard Pirates, Buzzard, Family Unit Fabricators, The Raconteurs, JunkAnew-bies, and Team Redhead. They will delve into the dump this Saturday to begin the competition. Their sculptures will be on display at the Festival of the Moon on June 22 and auctioned off at the Festival of the Sun the next day.

Last year’s first place winner, Team We Art Junk, created a pirate ship, complete with seven sails and a skull-and-crossbones flag. Second place and people’s choice winner, Team Arc Angels, sculpted a Grateful Dead-inspired skeleton playing an electric guitar.

Scrapfest winners receive prizes, as well as one-third of the auction bid. The remaining proceeds benefit the OTCA’s efforts to revitalize Old Town.

This year’s Scrapfest has expanded to include an artist and booth area where participating artists can display and sell their work. Visit www.oldtownscrapfest.com for more information.