The "Found Objects Sculpture Trail" exhibition will debut Monday, June 1, along Snapper Pond Trail at Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve in Crete Township.
Visitors who mosey along the path will see how artist Jennifer Meyer looked at discarded items and saw art potential instead of useless trash. The exhibition, sponsored by The Nature Foundation of Will County, features seven of her sculptures and will run through March 31, 2021.
“Some of the waste was created from my own personal consumption of our natural resources like my furnace and my car muffler, but most of it was lying around in the street or in the alley” she said. “ … All of the artwork is still ‘junk’ that was ‘no good anymore.’
"The only difference is that one person thought about it before she threw it out," Meyer said. "So now, instead of that ‘junk’ taking up more land in the landfill and turning the water, air and soil all around it toxic, it can coexist with nature and people who like to be in it and preserve it.”
Satellite dishes, bike parts, a car hood and a water tank hand crank were all repurposed for the sculptures. Meyer said she hopes the exhibition inspires others to be more mindful.
“One person can make a difference,” she said. “Think about what you consider discards. Think about what you see when you walk on Snapper Pond Trail, and what you can do around where you live to protect many kinds of life. We as humans are a small part of a larger ecosystem and you can be the kind of human that protects good things and not the kind that threatens them.”
The artwork will be a great addition to the trail, said Suzy Lyttle, an interpretive naturalist at Plum Creek Nature Center.
“We hope these sculptures bring a new feeling to the trail,” she said. “It is probably the most popular trail at Goodenow Grove due to its accessibility, length for little ones and the beautiful views of the forest and Snapper Pond.”
The sculptures feature old items that have been given new “whimsical life,” she added.
“What some might call old junk has been transformed into huge flowers, a singing chorus, a bird, a sheep trio, a frog and a girl blowing bubbles,” Lyttle said.
The sculpture trail will provide an interesting experience for new and veteran trail users, Lyttle said.
“We encourage everyone to experience the trail and then come inside to Plum Creek Nature Center to make some art of your own (once the visitor center reopens),” Lyttle said. “We will have all sorts of supplies like cardboard, jars, caps, containers etc. We challenge you to take something destined for the landfill and turn it into something beautiful, just like Jennifer does with her artwork. In the end, it is about repurposing and upcycling items to give them new life and a new meaning.”
The art exhibition was supposed to debut on April 3 but was delayed due to the state's coronavirus-related stay-at-home order. But now that Illinois is moving into Phase Three of its reopening plan, the outdoor art exhibition can go forward.
All visitors are encouraged to practice social distancing and to take precautions, including wearing face masks, if they cannot maintain the recommended 6-foot social distance from others.
Preserve visitors also should be aware that Plum Creek Nature Center and preserve latrines and water fountains remain closed.
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