Waste into Want: Transforming Trash into a Garden of Self Expression

Waste into Want: Transforming Trash into a Garden of Self Expression

United States
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Waste into Want plans to create a sculpture garden out of recycled materials in a Pittsburgh neighborhood city lot by encouraging youth participation under the guidance of local artists. 

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What is your idea? What makes your project innovative? Why is it important?

Waste into Want will provide youth with the opportunity to help create a sculpture garden. Gardens are usually places designed by adults where youth are rarely invited to play. Our garden will be a place where young people can express themselves through the design and creation of sculptures and plant materials with the help of local Pittsburgh artists. They will decorate the path squares and planters and benches with paint and mosaics, and place the plants. The garden will teach youth to enjoy and respect public spaces and art, as well as provide a green refuge in an urban environment. The mosaics will be created with broken stained glass and tile donated by artists and bits of toys or mementos provided by the youth themselves. The use of recycled materials fosters environmental consciousness and encourages seeing the possibility in objects that would normally be cast away as trash.

What will be the impact of your idea?

Waste into Want will impact the youth who participate by teaching them how to create an outdoor art project from the planning stages to the finished project. It will give them a means of self expression, but also teach them how to mold their ideas to fit within the physical limitations of an outdoor garden. The artist mentors will gain from the experience of sharing their expertise with area youth and be inspired by them. Pittsburgh's urban setting will be beautified by a public space combining garden greenery and art, showing that the city isn't just about its industrial past, but that it's a city creating a future in green design.

What will it take to launch your idea? How will you secure community support and youth participation?

We have artist volunteers, creative mentors and garden advisors. We will generate community support and youth participation by contacting area schools to make them aware of this opportunity, as well as utilize resources such as Construction Junction to acquire recycled materials for the youth art projects. The total cost of the project is estimated at $5500 which covers marketing materials (flyers, copying); gardening supplies and tools(such as gardening soil and topsoil, benches, path stones, planters, marble chips); artists' supplies (paint, brushes); and artists' stipends.

We are looking for ideas from people who can make them happen. Tell us about yourself or your team.

Lisa Toboz is a freelance writer, photographer, and curator born and raised in the Pittsburgh region. She earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. In 2005 she worked in community development for the Center for Peace in Osijek, Croatia. In addition to her creative pursuits, she works in post-secondary education.

Roya Hamadani is a creative writer currently working on a masters in public health at the University of Pittsburgh. She also has a degree in education and is experienced in faciltating youth creative projects.

Jeff Schreckengost is an artist, curator and senior graphic designer at the Pittsburgh Children's Museum. He is a city mural finalist for a Sprout Fund public art grant and exhibits his art extensively throughout the region.

Other members: L Fusco - candidate for masters of public health in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, Jon Antoszewski - local artist, William Fulmer - Masters in Education