When I was asked to design and create an installation that was about sustainability, and inspired by Germantown Academy’s new green campus, I decided to build a topographical rendering of the Wissahickon Watershed out of recycled materials. I initially went to GA to collect all the cardboard boxes used in the move from the old buildings to the new green campus, with the idea of employing only recycled materials from the GA community. In searching for more textures and colors to contribute to the aesthetic of the piece, I went to a recycling center to find more materials that could represent a larger concept of moving, construction, and building on the GA campus. I had heard of a recycling center in Northeast Philadelphia called Revolution Recovery from a friend. I was told that the center was working on a project teaming with artists to develop a residency program where the artists would collect and utilize materials solely from their junkyard. Coincidentally, when I told the residency director about my project, she informed me that Revolution Recovery was the exact recycling center that had been contracted to pick up GA’s materials from their construction site! The materials I collected from the junkyard at Revolution Recovery could be the exact ones that came from the construction site at GA.
This cycle of materials, concern with service to the community, and interest in our impact on the environment align with GA’s objective of sustainable living, the mission of Revolution Recovery, and the theme of “Constructing the Wissahickon.” I am grateful to have had this opportunity to complement GA’s progressive plans with a project that shares those ideals.