Fun with Waste: ArtFest in Fort Meyers, Florida

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The annual ArtFest Fort Meyers recently wrapped up its 2019 festival. Billed as southwest Florida’s premier art festival, 2019 event included a exhibit dedicated to waste and unique student art contest in which sculptures had to be composed of waste.

Lee County Solid Waste Management organized the waste art exhibit entitled “We Are Overflowing” to show the importance of preserving natural resources. At the exhibit, festival participants were able to see what art could be made from a pile of trash.

Donald Gialanella was selected from 42 talented artists who submitted artistic concepts for We Are Overflowing 2019.exhibit. His installation Dumpster Diving showcases ingenuity and imagination to convey the message “as a country we are overflowing with trash and recyclables.” It is made from re-purposed, discarded, and cast-off materials.

In his own words, Donald Gialanella talks about his art: “My art repurposes artifacts that are things people bought and eventually discarded, according to the vagaries of personal status and cultural values. The artwork comments on our curious relationship to the life-cycle of utilitarian objects. Seen as a mass of shapes formed into a single sculptural entity that explores temporality, disposability, and questions the viability of a material based culture.”

For the student art contest held at the festival, which prizes were award to students who made the best sculptures from from re-purposed, discarded and cast-off materials. Cash prizes were award to the Best in Show ($250), Best Creative Use of Materials ($150), Peoples Choice ($150), and more.

Molly Schweers, the communications specialist for Lee County Solid Waste Management, in an interview with a local TV station, Fox 4, stated the goal was to make more people aware of the waste getting disposed in the environment. “The idea behind our “Overflowing” exhibit was just to let people know that our rate of trash generation is exceeding our population growth. We’re just throwing away too much,” Schweers said.