Joint project part of Artsbridge expansion

Artsbridge, Belpre in Bloom, Belpre High School Art Club, Belpre Area Community Development Foundation, Habitat for Humanity ReStore and Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce partnered March 19 in the planting of 60 flowers made from recycled vinyl records as an Artbridge footprint expansion project, according to Amanda Stevens, Artsbridge executive director.

Art Club students used discarded vinyl records donated at ReStore and re-donated to the project, to create the blooms, said Art Instructor Chad Stevens. Students used the ReStore heat box to melt the vinyl to 130-160 degrees, setting the softened material on flower pots to form into a bloom shape. Some student hands-on work was needed to complete the transformation, he said. Students then spray painted the blooms, attaching them to metal rods with green leaves.

Belpre in Bloom representative Shirley Brown recommended planting locations within the Elephant Ear Garden located at the top of Washington Boulevard in Belpre, in the frontage bordering Howe’s Grove Park. The “flowers” will stand among spring tulips and later among special elephant ear plants, whose distinctive leaves can grow to two feet long. Centered in the bed is a giant elephant, a metal structure lined with pool noodles to create the visible outline.

Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karen Waller, a member of the Artsbridge board of directors, suggested the project after seeing photos of similar gardens in other areas supplied by Leslie Pittenger, Belpre in Bloom coordinator. Pittenger was interested in the project both from a beautification standpoint and from the recycling aspect.

The Artsbridge Mission is “Igniting the Arts within the Mid-Ohio Valley,” with objectives including:

¯ To maintain and develop arts education opportunities in the schools and communities.

¯ To strengthen technical capabilities for qualifying arts organizations and individual artists.

¯ To develop awareness of arts activities and the role of Artsbridge in the community we serve.

¯ To facilitate cooperation among arts organizations and artists.

¯ To maintain a presence in community planning and development activities.

¯ To contribute to the health and well-being of the community by offering creative outlets which enrich, uplift and educate.

¯ To reach underserved constituencies who may not traditionally be involved in artistic experiences, and to make the arts accessible to all people.

Belpre in Bloom is a volunteer group whose mission is “Planting Pride in Community” through planting and maintaining beds at city entrances, strategic locations of interest in the city, placing hanging baskets in Civitan Park and partnering with groups to beautify areas using art and recycled materials.

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