Celebrating ‘The Art of Recycling’

📅April 3rd, 2015, 10:00
John Powers, University of Tennessee assistant professor of sculpture, and student Paige Smith survey the massive piles of discarded metal and steel at Gerdau’s scrapyard Jan. 31.

John Powers, University of Tennessee assistant professor of sculpture, and student Paige Smith survey the massive piles of discarded metal and steel at Gerdau’s scrapyard Jan. 31.

This month we are honored to host “The Art of Recycling” sculpture exhibition. The exhibition features works created by 11 University of Tennessee art students that incorporate materials provided by steel recycler Gerdau. The sculptures were unveiled in a public ceremony on April 3 and will be on public display in our Clinch Concourse through April 19.

When Gerdau approached us about hosting the exhibition, we saw it as a natural fit. Our facility is the first convention center in Tennessee to achieve Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification, so we have a strong interest in green practices. And this exhibition is a nice extension of our $1 million permanent art collection that is available year-round to our guests.

It’s a nice perk of the job to work in a building that houses a world-class art collection, and I am already enjoying this sculpture exhibition. I am impressed by the work of these talented students — Rachel Byrd, Veronica Castle, Keelin Cavanaugh, Kylee Haynes, Dan Hood, Cameron Kite, Marisa Mitchell, Lauren Sanders, Paige Smith, Patricia Tinsley and Nicholas Tamas.

The UT sculpture students created their works during February and March at the University of Tennessee’s Art & Architecture Building. Photo Credit: Dan Hood

The UT sculpture students created their works during February and March at the University of Tennessee’s Art & Architecture Building.
Photo Credit: Dan Hood

In case you’re wondering how this came about, the exhibition celebrates April’s National Recycling Month and a partnership among Gerdau, Dogwood Arts and the University of Tennessee Sculpture Program. This marks the fifth year that Gerdau has opened its scrap yard to area artists in partnership with Dogwood Arts and the second time working with UT art students. It is the first time the exhibition will be on display at the Knoxville Convention Center.

The process started in January, when Gerdau’s Knoxville steel mill opened its scrapyard to the students, along with John Powers, UT assistant professor of sculpture. The group selected more than three tons of discarded metal and steel, provided free of charge by Gerdau, and gained inspiration for new works of art.

I hope that you will stop by the Convention Center to see this impressive sculpture display and also take a tour of our permanent art collection.

Following are some samples of the works on display:

Castle - Fe Triceratops from the Gerdassic Dig“Fe Triceratops from the Gerdassic Dig” by Veronica Castle

Mitchell - Ascension“Ascension” by Marisa Mitchell

Tinsley - Industrial Sculptural Jewelry“Industrial Sculptural Jewelry” by Patricia Tinsley