First Annual Recycled Art & Resource Expo (RARE) to Kick Off Up-Coming Earth Day Weekend

RARE sculpture by Thor Myhre

(Bellingham, Washington, USA)  The first annual Recycled Art and Resource Expo (RARE)  is set to kick off April 20 and continue through Earth Day, April 22, in this cozy little college town just minutes from the Canadian border.

The inspiration of sculptor, carpenter and event organizer Thor Myhre (in collaboration with Allied Arts), the ambitious event will feature way cool works of Art (of course) and also music performances, seminars/lectures, fashion shows, film screenings, exhibits, story-telling, sustainability and handicraft workshops…and more (see below for details).

“The RARE Expo features artists as agents of change, by creating new dialog, connecting communities with undervalued resources, and collaborating to help inspire the green movement.”

We all know about the ‘Three R’s’ of eco-friendly living (reduce, reuse, recycle)…and we try to implement these in our lives as best we can…but somewhere along the way, we tend to forget the more fun — and more aesthetically pleasing or provocative  — aspects of this lifestyle ethos. To be sure, there have been occasional features on recycling artists, recycled art exhibitions, and not a few recycled fashion shows, but RARE represents one of the first of its kind in the U.S.: an entire exposition dedicated to recycled and re-purposed Art and its myriad eco-social-cultural permutations.

‘I have some old paintings I want to get rid of…’ What is Recycled Art, Anyway?


Sculpture by Graham Schodda
A sculpture by Graham Schodda

To be clear: we’re not talking about existing art that is being recycled (unless it’s art made from old art, which is getting a little ‘meta’), rather, recycled art is made from recyclable materials of every kind — including materials not typically considered to be recyclable).

Recycled Art is typically 3D or 2D work and can include re-purposed materials or objects, or art objects made partly, mostly or exclusively from recycled materials (even the glue), and which may also take the form of ‘up-cycling’  — the creation of a new object (of greater value) from old materials — though this term is typically used for functional creations (like bird feeders and garden pots). But that distinction is blurred as well with some uses of the art form, such as in fashion and handicrafts, which offer both functionality and artistry in their own right.

Also, one could argue that any object de arte, made from disposable materials, could be considered “of greater value”, as such — making it up-cycled — and that creating “aesthetic pleasure” is surely a function, if not a utilitarian one.

And to be accurate, artists using recycled or “found” materials in their work is part of a very old, and respected art tradition (starting with the Collage and Surrealism/Dadaism movements, most likely).

With RARE, it would appear that recycled art is now poised to become a permanent trend in the Arts and represents a subcultural movement that is coming fully into mainstream (creative) consciousness (Long live recycled Art! – ed.)

Green Trash Prom Queen by Maggie Bates photo by John Cornicello
'Green Trash Prom Queen' by Maggie Bates, photo by John Cornicello

So, if you’re in Washington State, nearby, or planning to visit, consider heading over to Bellingham (in the  Northwest “corner” of the State) later this month and take in some or all of this most stimulating, three day event.

Discover the Magic of Creative Reuse


RARE: Recycled Art & Resource Expo – April 20th thru 22nd, 2012 – Various locations around downtown Bellingham, Washington.

The first annual RARE Expo features entertainment, exhibits, seminars, and workshops — plus an expo-hall full of remarkable artist and business booths with green ideas. Locations throughout downtown Bellingham include the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention (home of the MegaZapper – one of the world’s largest Tesla Coils), Whatcom Museum, Allied Arts of Whatcom County, The RE Store, Pickford Film Center, Mindport, and more. You’ll find inspiration for creative reuse, too.

For event schedules and information visit or call 360.676.8548.

RARE face book page:

DISCLOSURE: This writer has been invited to RARE to give a power point lecture (‘World’s Coolest and/or Weirdest Recycled Art Projects’) on Saturday, April 21. How could I refuse?

Top photo by, artwork by Thor Myhre



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