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What Happens When You Let Artists Play With San Francisco's Trash

Trash can be beautiful. Just take a look at Recology San Francisco’s Artist in Residence Program, which lets professional and student artists run wild with the waste management company’s garbage.

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As we have mentioned many times before, trash can be beautiful when viewed in the right context. Waste management company Recology San Francisco caught onto that fact decades ago; in 1990, the company launched an Artist in Residence Program that gives professional and student artists a studio space (a shipping container at its Solid Waste Transfer and Recycling Center), a stipend, and the opportunity to use Recology’s trash to make art.

Grist points us to this video, which explores the work of Ethan Estess, a former Artist in Residence.

During his four month stint with Recology, Estess came up with some striking pieces, including a marine mammal tail made out of rope and a sea urchin made out of plastic and welding rods. All of his pieces, he explains on his website, address marine sustainability issues.

Want to see more of what the over 100 past artists in residence have come up with? Recology has a three-acre sculpture garden featuring over 35 sculptures from past Artists in Residence.