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ArtCenter Manatee shows wonders of recycling


BRADENTON - Reusing and recycling is the motif of the age, it seems, and one person's old junk can be another's raw material for art.

A pterodactyl soars over the gallery
A pterodactyl made from a school desk soars over the gallery at ArtCenter Manatee.

At ArtCenter Manatee, three galleries show how a variety of artists interpret the world through old objects from toasters to books to shoes - and even a car door.

The center's "Altered Functions" show presents art made from recycled and reused objects.

Executive director Diane Shelly said she asked Dee Hood of the Ringling College of Art and Design to curate a gallery for artists, and then opened it up to any artist.

"With all of the efforts for recycle, reuse, I thought it would be interesting to just kind of throw that concept out to the artists," she said. "And then we waited to see what would show up."

The artists were encouraged to use familiar items in their work.

Shelly noted, "We were very pleased with a lot of the pieces that we've gotten."

A walk down the entry corridor reveals modified books, shoes that are either wrapped in Monopoly money or are used as nests and a school desk that has been repurposed as a pterodactyl. Got an old satellite dish taking up space in the garage? Well, a few artists turned them into works of sculpture.

Diane Shelly
Executive director Diane Shelly shows a new use for an old satellite dish.

In another gallery, a spindly thing holding a golf club became "Tiger on His Mind," a tribute to golfer Tiger Woods, and there was furniture made of old doors. In the corner of a gallery, a work titled "Media Monster" was wrapped in strips of newspaper with the headlines appearing to make some commentary.

"A lot of it can be just commentary," Shelly said of the artists. "They want to make some comment about junk or things being reused."

There are price tags on almost everything, so if you have a corner or niche just crying out for modernist objects and a few bucks burning a hole in your pocket, the artists will gladly help out.

In addition to exhibitions, ArtCenter Manatee offers art classes for children at a summer camp and workshops for adults in art, pottery, photography and jewelry.

Tiger on His Mind
A golfer interpreted one of the sport's greats in "Tiger on His MInd."

The current show runs through June 26, and then there are the shows "More than Meets the Eye," "Chickens and Cherry Bombs" and "Art Knows No Boundaries" starting July 3 at 5 p.m. Admission is free, but the opening reception for the above events is $5 to get in.

Otherwise, admission is free. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.


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