The Brunswick News - By Anna Hall
Looking around Lea King-Badyna’s office, it is easy to see she has a spark for creative thinking. As Executive Director of Keep Golden Isles Beautiful, it’s her daily duty to find new, innovative ways to take the concept of recycling and inject it with a zeal that translates to community interests.
Next month, she will do just that through a partnership with the City of Brunswick, Glynn County, the Golden Isles Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Association. The organizations have come together to create a unique community art project that celebrates the character of the region.
Thanks to two recently secured grants, King-Badyna and her team of partnering agencies will launch the “Make Art, Not Litter” campaign. The initiative will bring in five sculptures which will be placed in community public spaces, each portraying a coastal creature and highlighting the effects litter has on its environment. Fabricated of metal mesh, each hollow sculpture contains internal space for trash placement, spotlighting the juxtaposition of creature versus litter, King-Badyna said. “This community art and environmental education project will serve as cultural destination points for local residents and tourists,” she said. “Through this project, we can really be interactive and get a hands-on opportunities out there for people to connect, or reconnect, with our coastal resources and ignite their energy for litter prevention. This is shaping up to be a really unique way to prevent litter and bring attention to conserving our coast.”
For five days in June, the sculptures will be installed, with each piece being filled with aluminum and hard plastics that will be collected through clean-up sessions held prior to the artwork installation. Bringing the community into the project is a key element, she said, as having hands-on aspects allows individuals to feel more connected to the environment and take a mindset of ownership. King-Badyna is also hopeful that the visible, vibrant art will start a conversation about future conservation efforts. “We hope the custom sculptures will spark dialogue and encourage stewardship regarding litter and our valuable coastal resources. These cleanups take place after school to give families and youth groups a chance to be involved,” she said.
The art project grants came from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources from the Office for Coastal Management, as well as from the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation. When the community engagement art project idea came across her desk, Valerie Hepburn, President and CEO of the Communities of Coastal Georgia Foundation, was more than encouraged to see it get off the ground. “For Coastal Georgia, our environment and natural resources are precious and deserving of our utmost respect,” Hepburn said. “‘Make Art Not Litter’ is a great way to engage both our community and our visitors in the important work of stopping litter before it starts.”
In addition to the art installations and connected clean-up events, the project will also include educational interpretative signage to accompany each sculpture, as well as feature a geocaching component to encourage visiting all five sculptures, King-Badyna said.
For more project information and participant registration, contact Keep Golden Isles Beautiful at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (912) 279-1490.