Appleton Art Center rakes in the TRASH

Oswald, Milton

Saturday, the Appleton Art Center will make pulchritudinous presentations out of distasteful debris as it celebrates the opening of a new exhibit entitled “TRASH: Finding art in unlikely places.” The exhibit will feature visual art that is inspired by or made of junk.According to Todd Midtvedt, program director for the Art Center, TRASH will feature “found objects that others would throw away that are used to create amazing and innovative art.” The exhibit will include works by local artists, drawing in part from the art collection of UW-Stevens Point. Also featured will be the work of Daphne Ruff, former artist-in-residence at San Francisco Recycling & Disposal, Inc., who will be premiering four new pieces at the exhibit.

In addition to the art displays, Lawrence percussionists, led by Nick Kraus, will perform from 1 to 3 p.m. at the opening of the exhibit, using their own “found objects” as well as some of the pieces on display at the Art Center.

As strange as all this seems, Lawrentians are not unfamiliar to the idea of found object art. Members of Greenfire build a found art sculpture every year as part of their Earth Day celebration. Materials for this yearly exhibit come from the shores of the Fox River, where the group spends time picking up trash. Steve Rogness, an environmental science major and president of Greenfire, recommends that people go see TRASH because “exhibits like this hopefully make people consider that there might be more useful alternatives to simply putting our trash in landfills.”

The hullabaloo surrounding this exhibit is likely to inspire student artists to explore the found object genre first-hand. In addition to the yearly Greenfire sculpture, an impromptu found object art installation is on display every Sunday morning in the formal group housing quadrangle. In the interest of campus cleanliness, however, students are strongly encouraged not to start their own exhibitions by depositing trash in unlikely places on campus.

TRASH opens Saturday, April 24, from 1-4 p.m.

Appleton Art Center hours are Monday-Wednesday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday-Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Visit for more information.