Freshmen display recycled art projects as part of sustainability showcase


Kaitlynn Devitt / Hilltop Views

This is one of the many creative projects made out of objects such as newspaper and article clippings found by Ruby Bello.

In the Fall 2022, St. Edward’s freshmen were given the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of seminar classes. In these seminars, students are able to actively engage with the community through academic exploration. These classes challenge students to think critically, discuss and learn about several social justice topics. One class in particular, Eco-Art & Action, taught students the importance of the environment and ways that art could be created out of recycled materials. On Dec. 9, the Munday Library hosted an opening reception for the Sustainability Showcase where students displayed their work created in this seminar class.

There were several group projects students participated in that focused on specific environmental issues, such as the one above, which focused on fast fashion issues. This art piece called “Up-Quilt” was created out of upcycled clothing that students collected and sewed together on a blanket background. Smaller details were later sowed on by hand or by sewing machine.
“This class has literally taught me that any trash can be turned into something beautiful,” Elle Aronson said. “It has made me more aware to think about what I am putting into this earth and what I can do with things I consider trash. I personally believe and wish that everyone would be more mindful of our planet because we are slowly poisoning it.” (Kaitlynn Devitt / Hilltop Views)


This installation was created by Bella McClelland out of objects found within the environment. This showcase not only allowed these students to have their art displayed, it also showed the rest of the community perfect examples of how we can take part in reusing things we might consider trash in a creative and thoughtful way. (Kaitlynn Devitt / Hilltop Views)


This piece was created by Nayeli Lara, who like many freshmen come across this course when registering for classes. To her, the thing that made her most interested in taking this class was the idea of combining and creating art out of nature. Lara considered herself someone who previously held a pessimistic view on the current state of the world, but her views and opinions changed after taking this course, and it made her more optimistic.
“There’s something that I find very beautiful about nature in its purest form and sometimes, it is as though nature is art itself,” Lara said. “I thought about the materials I had available and wanted to use around me first, mainly being the orange pill bottles. Knowing that I’ll have to take this medication for the rest of my life, this is a source of my own personal waste.”
“Thinking about what is related to medicine, I could not help but think of plants,” she continued. “I have an affinity for medicinal plants, and it is actually what I plan on studying closer as a biology major. Knowing that, I thought that this would be the perfect way to merge something artificial with something natural.” (Kaitlynn Devitt / Hilltop Views)


Deanna Akindele took part in this class by creating the project above out of objects found within the community, along with other recycled materials such as aluminum pieces from cans and bottle caps. In her piece, the bottle caps are surrounded by thought provoking phrases and words on paper. (Kaitlynn Devitt / Hilltop Views)


Maggie Phelps created this collage out of trash found around campus to create colorful gradients and textures. She knew that she wanted to make a piece about the bats that live under the South Congress bridge.
“They are an iconic part of Austin, not only for being a huge tourist destination, but also because they are really important to the environment because of their roles as pollinators,” Phelps said. “I really wanted to make something colorful and fun because seeing the bats reminded me so much of my childhood as an Austin native.” (Kaitlynn Devitt / Hilltop Views)


Similar to the “Up-Quilt” project, the piece above was another group collaboration created by students within this seminar. This colorful, life-sized statue was covered in vibrant, hand-made and cut flowers created out of paper.