Welcome to SLCgreen Connections, an occasional series highlighting SLCgreen’s fantastic local partners—the people and organizations with whom we work closely to make Salt Lake City a greener, more vibrant, and sustainable city!
It has been a busy summer for the Clever Octopus Creative Reuse Center. The creative reuse center is one of Salt Lake City’s e2 Businesses, a program dedicated to helping Salt Lake’s business community be more economically- and environmentally-sustainable. And Clever Octopus is passionate about sustainability. With multiple summer camps, including Sculpting the Future: Art to Save Utah with Goldman Sachs, and even more classes throughout the summer, the creative reuse center helps divert waste, support the community, and foster creativity and environmental awareness through art.
Indeed, Clever Octopus has expanded its programming from a thrift store for art supplies to a fully-fledged creative reuse center providing educational opportunities for students of all ages and skill levels across Salt Lake Valley.
SLCgreen recently met with members of Clever Octopus’ team, Lin Huang, Kacy Huston, Jen Lopez and David Sadler, to talk about their work making art sustainable and accessible.
Today the Hogle Zoo launches a new animal exhibit, but these animals are a bit different from the rest.
The exhibit’s animals are made up plastic debris washed up on the shore of the Oregon coast. The colorful sculptures make a bold statement about plastic pollution in our oceans and its impact on marine life.
From May 24 to September 30, visitors to Salt Lake City’s Hogle Zoo will come face to face with fifteen sculptures built entirely out of plastic trash. The sculptures are located throughout the zoo grounds.
Artist and art educator Angela Haseltine Possi created Washed Ashore to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of plastic within the ecosystem. Possi spent many summers on the beaches of Oregon when she was young, which fostered her love of nature. But over time, she noticed the massive amounts of plastic and trash that washed up on the shore. Possi decided to educate herself about plastic pollution and the impact it has on marine life. Her research inspired her to help in the way that she knew how—by creating art.
And so, the Washed Ashore Project was born. Volunteers who work on the Washed Ashore Project join forces to clean up beaches on the Oregon coast, process the debris, and then create the sculptures representing marine life. To this day, over 10,000 volunteers have contributed to this ongoing project.
The exhibit travels across the country to educate viewers about the dangers of plastic waste in our oceans to the marine life, and what they can do to help.
Each of the animals on display represents an animal impacted by marine debris. For example, one of the sculptures is a billowing jellyfish. Hungry sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish– a staple in their diet. The mistake can be deadly for the sea turtles. This piece serves to spark conversation about the negative impacts of plastic bags and the importance of reusable alternatives.