- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - When most people want to recycle a glass bottle, they throw it into a recycling bin. That’s a little too easy for Marilee Burnside.

Burnside and fellow artist Roxy Lentz created a community garden on the grounds of Duke Energy, Clarksville, using little more than some bottles salvaged from the trash bins of local bars, some heavy wire reels provided by Duke, and some materials to hold them all together.

The project was the third in a series of green, artistic gateways built as part of the Arts Council of Southern Indiana’s Southern Indiana Gateway Project. Duke Energy donated $5,000 Wednesday to the Arts Council to fund the project, the News and Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1xVfl4C ).

“It’s an opportunity for the Duke Energy Foundation to give back to the community, to impact our quality of place,” said Pat More, government and community relations manager with Duke Energy. “And for this particular project, what makes it so significant is that we’re looking at environmentally friendly ways to impact construction methods, taking things out of the landfill such as bottles, wire reels and things like that that normally would go into the landfill.”

The Duke Energy Gateway’s centerpiece is a Burnside-made table made using a large, wooden cable spool inlaid with cut glass from salvaged beer bottles.

“We designed it thinking of energy, movement and fluidity, so there’s a spiral in the pattern of the design,” said Burnside, who added that she worked on the project with her 9-year-old granddaughter, Lily. “It’s meant to be outside and to last, and for folks to enjoy.

“Glass is really a nice tactile medium, and it’s fun to touch it as well as look at it. I was really happy to cut the glass bottles to make them useful instead of putting them in the recycle bin.”

Arranged around the table are four planters made out of beer bottles bound together by concrete, made by Lentz and son Luke. The planters are the home to native plants that don’t take a lot of care, said Arts Council Executive Director Julie Schweitzer.

The Arts Council has also constructed a bench in Jeffersonville and a bus shelter in New Albany, working with the Jeffersonville Arts Alliance and the New Albany Housing Authority, respectively, in addition to the two municipalities.

“Besides the environmental, there is quality of life and community,” Schweitzer said. “We’re very proud that Duke has been sponsoring our projects for the last four years. We’re really pleased that they come on board and that they really support environmental issues in our community.”

The next project may be the biggest Gateway project to date, as Hidden Hill in Utica has provided the Arts Council with a large space with which to work, Schweitzer said.

“It’ll be something really fun and, I have a feeling, really whimsical,” Schweitzer said. “We have a really big space there, so we have all kinds of opportunities to do fun things.”

Schweitzer added that community involvement is needed to help future projects succeed. To participate, call the Arts Council at 812-949-4238 or email [email protected]


Information from: News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind., https://www.newsandtribune.com

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