Art at the Dump: The Artist in Residence Program and Environmental Learning Center at Recology documents the twenty-year history of the art and education program at San Francisco’s garbage and recycling company. This one-of-a-kind initiative enables artists to work with materials taken directly from the city of San Francisco’s waste stream, while teaching the public about recycling and resource conservation. Art at the Dump presents profiles of the seventy-eight artists who have participated in the program since its founding, and provides reproductions of their artwork. Work in a variety of mediums—sculpture, photography, painting, drawing, performance, video, textiles, and musical composition—is represented, and often runs counter to traditional notions of what art made from found materials should look like. The founding of the program, student artists-in-residence, on-site sculpture garden, and off-site exhibitions program are also detailed. Just as tours of the facility and program prompt visitors to think more deeply about materials and their own consumption habits, this book will educate and inspire readers.
The Recology Artist in Residence Program was established in 1990 at the same time that curbside recycling was being implemented in San Francisco. Conceived by artist and activist Jo Hanson, it was the most innovative component of an outreach plan developed by the City and Recology San Francisco to educate people about recycling. Now twenty years later, the Artist in Residence Program has grown to include an Environmental Learning Center, an extensive tour program, a three-acre sculpture garden, off-site exhibitions, and has been nationally recognized and awarded as the only program of its kind in the country. Artists are provided with a stipend and a well-equipped studio to make artwork from materials they scavenge from the Public Disposal and Recycling Area ("the dump"). Artists speak to the more than 5,000 students and adults who annually attend the San Francisco garbage and recycling facility tours which focus on the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling.