Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What's been keeping me busy? Trash

Plastic debris fouls a bridge over the Catawba River. Photo: Nancy Pierce
What's been keeping me from blogging regularly these days? Trash.

To be more specific, I've become involved in a three-year project, through the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and the UNC Charlotte College of Arts + Architecture, to highlight environmental issues in and around Charlotte. We call it KEEPING WATCH.

Year One, which we are in the middle of, is KEEPING WATCH on PLASTICS and focuses on plastics and recycling. We're working with a whole flock of community partners -- you can read the long and growing list at

If you missed it Sunday, here's a lengthy article in The Charlotte Observer that goes into much detail. "Debris to beauty: Keeping WATCH exhibitions reveal the beauty in discarded plastics" describes many of the arts-related events taking place this spring. Disclosure: The "Aurora Robson: Stayin Alive" exhibit at McColl Center for Visual Art was planned separately but the concept dovetails well with the overall theme. Robson's work will be on display through July 26.

We'll host a "Clean Martini night" June 13 at UNC Charlotte Center City, 6-9 p.m., with locally sourced drinks sponsored by Slow Food Charlotte, locally sourced nibbles, and a screening of the film "Growing Cities." It's free and open to the public.

Other pieces of the project have included articles at from local writer Mae Israel:

Finally, the Sustain Me Baby exhibit at the UNC Charlotte Center City gallery highlights recyclable plastics and the problem of plastics in the oceans. And Is This Yours takes art out of the gallery, with totems made of bales of recycled plastic, by Kurt Warnke, displayed in uptown Charlotte as well as placing recyclable vinyl stickers with photos by Nancy Pierce. all over town. 

Next year's KEEPING WATCH will be bigger and better. We'll focus on Charlotte's creeks, those maligned and mistreated urban streams that are finally being taken seriously as amenities. Well, some of them are...