By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item
LEWISBURG — What a beautiful day for a Dumpster dive.
Under a clear blue sky and bright sun, Bucknell University’s Anna Kell led a half dozen people Monday along Cherry Alley, looking for treasure in another man’s trash.
The goal of this “Junk Walk,” as Kell called it, was “to see that art is not a magical ability that some people have,” she said.
“You don’t need to draw or paint to create,” said Kell, an assistant art professor at Bucknell. “There is beauty all around, and anyone can make art. We shouldn’t discount” what others see as waste.
She had six eager subjects for this unusual project, among them Ann Loganbach, of Lewisburg, who has a big interest in recycling “really odd objects with an appeal to make into art. I think this is really cool,” she said.
“It is cool,” said her friend, Jina Gillis-Rosencrans, of Northumberland, also interested in recycling and who likes the local art scene. She was excited to learn more about Kell’s method.
Kell met her charges at the Downtown Art Gallery on Market Street, where her own work is on display in the “Pentimenti” exhibit. Pentimenti is an underlying image in a painting that shows through, usually when the top layer of paint has become transparent with age.
With that example, Kell told the students how objects can speak to them in assorted ways. Gathered around several art books, she showed them examples. For instance, a Guyanan artist took bottleneck wrappers and stitched them together, making them look like a print. When backlit, the piece looked like glowing jewels.
Participants strolled Cherry Alley to the Street of Shoppes, a local second-hand emporium, where they could find more items to repurpose. It was fun to see what people picked.
Kell, for instance, found several directories and textbooks in one Dumpster. Gillis-Rosencrans scored a brick and a pine cone.
Morgan Slade found a discarded CD and a used restaurant jelly packet she thought were interesting.
“It’s nice to do these different things,” said Slade, a Bucknell art history major from Princeton, N.J. She interned at the Downtown Art Gallery and wanted to try her hand at this type of art.
After a picking session at the Street of Shops, the students went back to the gallery with their treasures, where they painted them all white and would set them up inside a white wooden box.
Gillis-Rosencrans was painting a figurine of a couple, the man holding a skein of yarn for the woman, their bodies somewhat facing each other. She said it reminded her of she and her husband, Tom, who had just undergone a major health issue.
He’s fine now, she said, “He shooed me out the door today.” But the couple, somewhat entwined with each other in the yard, “reminded me I’m entwined with mine even more.”
That brought tears to Kell’s eyes. “You don’t know what someone sees when they look at an object,” she said. “It won’t always be the same thing, you see.”