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Upcycled art contest culminates in Downtown Throwdown

Jul 25th, 2015 | Category: Crafts

For two months, more than 20 artists have sewed, glued, spackled and glittered recycled and donated fabric, clothing and household goods to create their original art submission for The Downtown Upcycle ThrowDown, an art and sustainability challenge event created by Ragfinery and Wise Buys Community Thrift Store of Lydia Place. This creative and original art contest, sponsored by Northwest Recycling, Inc and The Downtown Bellingham Partnership marks the first annual cooperative “Upcycle Challenge” of these two local nonprofits. The culminating group show-off exhibition and ThrowDown takes place during the Bellingham Art Walk on Friday, Aug. 7 from -10 p.m. at the new HATCH retail storefront located at 1302 Commercial Street in downtown Bellingham. Artist meet and greet, People’s Choice contest, live music provided by DJ Birdman of GMB Entertainment, cold beverages from Kulshan Brewery and Kombucha Town, and surprises top off this original art challenge featuring 100 percent recycled materials and 100 percent creativity.

A sneak peak at Jeni Cottrell's work in progress for the Downtown Upcycle Throwdown. COURTESY PHOTO

A sneak peak at Jeni Cottrell’s work in progress for the Downtown Upcycle Throwdown. COURTESY PHOTO

From June 1 through July 31, artists were invited to participate in the first annual ThrowDown designed to challenge stereotypical paint and canvas and fabric fashion creations and push individuals to use materials that were once discarded and donated to create original works of art. A $20 contest entry fee afforded each participant two $10 vouchers to spend at each store for materials. From plates to t-shirts, to discarded kimonos and linens – contestants were challenged to see beyond the garment or the spoon – and stretch the limitations of what they could create. These and unseen fasteners (thread, tape, glue) were the only sanctioned materials for their pieces of work. Artists then chose to enter their piece in one of two categories –  “Wearable” or “Non-wearable” for a chance to win two $100 cash prizes courtesy of Northwest Recycling Inc.

A jury will select winners. Jurors include Emily O’Connor – Lydia Place Executive Director, Shan Sparling – Ragfinery Manager, Nick Hartrich – Downtown Bellingham Partnership Executive Director, Kelly Hart – Allied Arts Executive Director, and Kelli Linville – Mayor Of Bellingham. An additional “People’s Choice Selection” will be orchestrated in real time by art walk participants during the opening from 6-8:30, with the winner being crowned at 9 p.m.

Lydia Place has been a key partner in our community’s effort to end homelessness for individuals and families here in Whatcom County for over 25 years. Essential Lydia Place services and programs help to provide housing, case management, life skills, parent support programs, positive childhood outcomes and advocacy for over 250 families annually. Wise Buys Thrift Store provides essential outreach, financial support and client resources to our community. The purchase of and donation of products and goods help eliminate waste, create community involvement opportunities and contribute to awareness of the Lydia Place mission and issues facing homeless residents in Bellingham.

Ragfinery is a nonprofit training business and textile reuse center. Ragfinery collects unwanted garments and textiles and determine creative reuse value to keep them out of landfills. The community’s involvement and purchases of fabric, supplies, and products from The Ragfinery retail shop help protect the environment, support local jobs, and promote a sustainable local economy.

For details on the contest, submission stories and images,  or to request graphics please visit http://www.ragfinery.com/?p=1374 or email Lydia Place Development and Outreach Director Shultzie Willows at shultziew@lydiaplace.org.

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