Artists bring new life to salvage material for exhibits in Mt. Pleasant, Jeannette

The saying, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” has never been more true than for a new art show conceived by You Are Here gallery in Jeannette.

“These Faded Walls: An Exhibition of Artistic Reclamation” features regional artists’ works made from at least 70% recycled materials. The exhibition will consist of separate shows in two different locations.

The first opening will be 5:30 to 7:30 pm Saturday at You Are Here, 406 Clay Ave. The second will be from 9 am to 3 pm Aug. 13 at American Architectural Salvage, 23 W. Main St., Mt. Pleasant.

Works will remain on view through Aug. 27 at both locations.

The idea for the exhibition evolved from a vision shared by the gallery and the salvage store, a social enterprise of Westmoreland Community Action. The store accepts tax-deductible donations of surplus and reusable building supplies to resell to the public.

“As You Are Here goes along, we’ve gotten more and more into the idea of ​​recycling, reclaiming and using what you’ve got — which we hope, in a way, is a model for Jeannette,” said co-founder Mary Briggs.

You Are Here collects and resells low-cost art materials through its Oh! Scrap thrift shop. Gallery participants and volunteers also make benches and mosaic planters from recycled materials to be placed at locations around Jeannette.

Tiles for the mosaics are sourced from the salvage store, so the two entities have had a relationship for a while, Briggs said.

“Our whole store is about reusing, recycling and reclaiming. Everything can have a new life,” said store manager Christine Marquis. “Just because something was created as a bench, it doesn’t have to stay a bench — it can be made into something else, maybe something even better.”

Artists participating in “These Faded Walls” were on their honor to use a majority of recycled materials, said exhibition curator Natalie Condrac, an artist from Level Green.

“People who make art are noble individuals — and you can usually tell what they’ve been using,” she said.

Most of the submitted pieces ended up being three-dimensional.

“For some reason, when people go to reuse, they usually go to 3-D,” Briggs said.

Briggs collaborated with You Are Here co-founder Jen Costello on an installation including two large papier mache koi, along with aquatic plants and birds incorporating various materials.

“A good portion of the paper we used came from Oh! Scrap,” she said. She also sourced chicken wire and bamboo from her home gardening projects.

The reception at You Are Here will feature light refreshments and jazz music by Practice Makes Perfect Music Studio in Greensburg.

The reception in Mt. Pleasant will feature rock music by HiDef and the Little Slice of Heaven and Lynn’s Franks food trucks. All materials in the store will be 50% off throughout the day.

“When people see this art, we hope they’ll leave feeling creative or get an idea for their own projects,” Marquis said.

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Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley by email at or via Twitter .

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