Philadelphia

Mural Arts Litter Critters (7) Solar Powered Compacting Trash and Recycling Bins

As mentioned last week at the Palomar Hotel’s Earth Day Happy Hour, I spotted some of the Mural Arts Program and the Department of Streets departments Solar Powered Compacting Trash and Recycling Bins wrapped in the new designs done by artists Ben Woodward, Thom Lessner, and students from the Big Picture art education program In 2009, as part of a city-wide initiative to reduce litter, the City rolled out 500 of these efficient cans that double as solar powered trash compactors. The Big Picture program has taken this effort one step further by decorating 50 BigBellies with graphic vinyl wraps, turning them into playful “garbage monsters” and “litter bugs” that provide both kids and grownups with a fun incentive to properly dispose of their garbage. Lessner and Woodward visited students one a week to help them imagine their three-dimensional creatures through two-dimensional drawings. The final designs are almost entirely kid-created with each student contributing a piece of their art to the designs. The BigBelly project was made possible by the City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services in partnership with the Department of Streets.The litter critters are an extension of Mural Arts’ Design in Motion recycling truck project completed in April 2010, wherein 20 city recycling trucks were decorated with artwork created by Big Picture students in response to their study of textiles; each vinyl wrap features elements drawn from The Design Center’s textile collection.Big Picture provides young people ages 10 to 14 with mural training and visual arts education through four sessions beginning in October and running through August. The first three sessions (Fall, Winter, and Spring) focus on community and social responsibility. Students concentrate on foundational art skills, mural design, and small indoor or outdoor murals. The fourth session (Summer) focuses on job training. Students are involved in large-scale mural or mixed-media public art projects with professional artists, and receive a modest stipend.
Stop by Headhouse Square on Wednesday, April 27 from 4-5 p.m. as Mural Arts officially dedicates the litter critters. (I shot these on Easter Sunday as this man was installing one at I think this was 8th & South Streets.)