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Artists go for green

Carol Estes LaPorte shows dress made coffee bags by Mookie's Madhouse Designs next dress Estes made from apple peck bags

Carol Estes, of LaPorte, shows a dress made of coffee bags by Mookie's Madhouse Designs next to a dress Estes made from apple peck bags, snow fencing and a protective jacket during the seventh Greening of the Arts show. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 2, 2012 2:05PM



When artists gather for an exhibition, it’s not always about competition. Such was the case when 13 artists recently displayed their work at the seventh annual Greening of the Arts at the Environmental Education Center in Hammond.

Sponsored by the Association for the Wolf Lake Initiative, the day’s activities were combined into a multi-faceted event — the art exhibit, a discussion involving the artists and an afternoon reception.

“We wanted to have a reception to thank all of those who have volunteered and donated to our organization this past year,” said Michael Boos, executive director of the AWLI. “We also wanted to offer our seventh annual Greening of the Arts; and have a program where the artists introduce themselves and talk a little about their backgrounds.”

Greening of the Arts featured artists who use recycled products, or who focus on nature and the environment. Works included paintings, prints, sculptures, textiles and photographs.

Art teacher Maria Villarreal, of Chicago, brought grandchildren Lyn Garcia, 4, and Joe Garcia, 13, to see the exhibit and also show them around the Environmental Center, which stores hundreds of items to be recycled.

“I love this place, I get most of my materials here,” Villarreal said, as the trio entered the Educational Center. “I work with children at the South Chicago Art Center and with the After School Matters program in Chicago, and they have everything I need here.”

Items in the display included a “flower arrangement” fashioned of aluminum soda cans and copper wire by Mary Ann Enriquez, of Glenview, Ill.; a dress made of old vacuum-sealed coffee bags, and an after-five frock made from industrial shipping wrap, with dryer sheets used for the peplum — the accent around the waist — by Carol Estes, of LaPorte.

“We have to think outside the box,” World said. “Education (about recycling) cannot be understated. Creativity allows us to put together the idea of becoming eco-friendly.”

The afternoon reception recognized AWLI volunteers and donors, both corporate and business. But before the formal accolades were given, Boos discussed the nexus of nature and art.

The conclusion of the day’s activities included the raffle of a chair made of recycled No. 2 plastic. It was donated by the Lake County Solid Waste Management District.

Among the returning artists was sculptor Jerry Whitted, of Dyer. In addition to Estes, local first-time exhibitors included Jeanne Cvitkovich, of Griffith, who displayed collages.

After the Environmental Educational Center event ended, the Greening of the Arts exhibit traveled to Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, and will remain there until mid-December.



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