A local environmental watchdog organization is mixing aesthetics, art and public service for the fifth year in a row this weekend with a cleanup project and art installation at Locust Beach north of Bellingham.
An idea for the trash-art creation gelled after the 2009 recycled art show sponsored by the RE Store, a Bellingham recycled home supplies store. It's part of the RE-Sources for Sustainable Communities.
Jason Darling, the RE Store's education and marketing coordinator, said he discussed the subject with Bellingham-area artist Kuros Zahedi, known for his progressive art projects that involved people's trash.
"He had been doing these little cleanups (to make art) and I thought that it would be amazing to have that as part of our art show," Darling said.
For the project, they decided to use some of the trash collected during regular volunteer cleanups at Locust Beach, a popular kite-surfing stretch of shoreline along Marine Drive. Prevailing winds that make the area fun for recreation also funnel much of Bellingham Bay's flotsam and jetsam onto that beach, Darling said.
The idea caught on, and people enjoy the satisfaction of beautifying the shoreline, coupled with a chance to create art in a highly unusual medium - one that offers a variety of texture and color.
"We did a profile piece of Lummi Island built out of trash once," Darling said. "In other years, we've done more abstract work."
Darling said the event is open to all ages.
"It's really a fun family event, to get everybody out there and have some fun."
The event is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 6, at Locust Beach, which is at the end of Locust Avenue. It's sponsored by the RE Store, RE Sources, North Sound Baykeeper and the Northwest Straits Surfrider Foundation. For more information, call 360-647-5921 or go online to re-store.org.
Because of limited parking on Locust Beach, Darling said participants should park at the nearby Bellingham Kite Boarding Community Center on Marine Drive. For those who wish to use public transit, the area is served by Whatcom Transportation Authority bus No. 50. For route information, go online to ridewta.com.
Participants should dress appropriately for the weather, and in layers, because it can be cool and windy on the waterfront. Participants should bring plastic buckets, gloves and wear sturdy shoes.
About a half-ton of trash was collected during last year's cleanup, Darling said, including some large pieces of boats.
"Our oceans are in pretty bad shape with plastic and trash," Darling said. "We try to shine a light there."
Robert Mittendorf is a Herald copy editor and page designer. Suggest your ideas for local family-friendly events, hikes or day trips at 360-756-2805 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.