Vancouver’s Annual Recycled Arts Festival a summer staple

The Recycled Arts Festival, which was held on June 28 and 29 this year, is an annual, official event of the Portland Rose Festival and is located in downtown Vancouver at Esther Short Park. The event is presented by the Clark County Department of Environmental Services as “part of our ongoing effort to encourage waste reduction, reuse, recycling and a cleaner place to live in Clark County, Washington” according to recycledartsfestival.org. Each year, hundreds gather to see artists create unique art made from scrap metal and recycled material, which is then made available for sale. Past works of art include a school of large metal fish and a comedic guitarist. Over 130 artists enter into the RAF and every piece of art is made of “75 percent recycled or reused material.”

This year at the Festival, Brad Howe and Heather Baley set up a booth for their small business ‘Pane in the Grass’. With material made from reclaimed silverware and fused glass, Pane in the Grass sells handmade plant markers that can be placed directly into the ground and are capable of withstanding the elements. Pane in the Grass has been around for nearly five years and they sell merchandise in over 40 states as well as Canada. Their products are manufactured locally in Portland.

Another artist present at the festival was Jennii Childs. Much like Howe and Baley, Childs also uses scrap metal as her main working material, but rather than making plant markers, she makes jewelry. Childs says she was a “product of the 70s” and grew up making bent silverware jewelry. She has been making and selling her reUNIQUE pieces for the last nine years. Childs remarked that the pieces that usually sell best are the rusted metals, because of their “timeworn” quality.

Activities and entertainment at the Recycled Arts Festival include live music, the chance to speak with representatives from OMSI, and the opportunity for guests to create their own recycled art. The RAF is an event aimed at all-ages, looking to entertain art enthusiasts and their children.  A professional juggler, a stilt walker, and a clown are also present at the event to that end. Volunteers of the RAF keep a large map for guests to mark where they are from, how they traveled, and how they heard of the RAF. This is both a way for guests to contribute to a collaborative work of art, and for the coordinators of the event to learn about their guests and better understand how the word is spread for future festivals.

Admittance to the Recycled Arts Festival as well as the Vancouver Farmers Market is free and parking is limited to street parking near Esther Short Park. For more information on the RAF or the VFM and many other organizations such as Green Neighbors and the Clark Public Utilities Stream Team, visit www.recycledartsfestival.com and www.vancouverfarmersmarket.com


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