Broad Art Lab Artist Residency Showcases Creative Upcycling

Print More

Photo courtesy of Katie Deska

A patron enjoys seeing upcycled creations at the Art Lab

Did you know that the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum has an art lab just across the street? Known as the MSU Broad Art Lab, it is a collaborative space that welcomes and features makers, innovators, and lifelong learners.

With studio-on-demand, art lab to-go packs, and in-studio workshops, the Art Lab encourages collaboration between campus and community. Their latest exhibition is a great example of that with a partnership between Spartan Upcycle, which showcases Megan Heeres’ Art Lab Residency.

Art Lab Studio Educator Britta Urness spoke about the inaugural Spartan Upcycle x Art Lab Residency, a collaboration, she said, the Broad is hoping to bring back once a year for the fall semesters.

“That exhibition was based on a project and collaboration with us and Spartan Upcycle,” Urness said. “Spartan Upcycle is the creative reuse arm of the MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center. They look at materials. They might set aside things that come in through their collections from campus or community donations. They set stuff aside that then could be creatively repurposed or used to make craft-oriented or practical things, repurpose furniture, and that sort of thing.”

Detroit-based artist Megan Heeres was chosen to showcase her eco-friendly work with a sustainability mindset, said Urness. Heeres’ materials were almost all from Spartan Upcycle and created within the gallery studio space. Creating vibrant art and newfound purpose out of items that would otherwise end up in landfills made Heeres a good fit for the collaboration.

“We’re also really interested in the fact that she makes paper, which is a different way to use fibers and materials to make a whole new kind of object,” Urness said.

Photo courtesy of Britta Urness

Art made from electronic waste.

The eight-week artist residency was celebrated with an opening reception on Oct. 15, and the installation is on display until Dec. 12. Megan Heeres will be discussing her work as the special guest on the Surplus Store & Recycling virtual town hall via Zoom on Nov. 18.

Coordinating events throughout the semester also include Spartan Upcycle Fridays, occurring each week in the Art Lab. The workshops are $5 for the general public and free to students.

“That’s another part of how we work with Spartan Upcycle,” Urness said. “Every Friday, we have a new project that people can drop in and make anytime we’re open 12 to 6 p.m. We get a lot of students coming in, wanting a place to make things, hang out and do something no-pressure that’s outside of classrooms or their residence halls.”

October’s project was making plant hangers from e-waste like fiber optic and power cable cords.

“E-waste is a hard thing to recycle, so this is a really cool upcycling way to give them a different life,” Urness said. November’s drop-in project is a metallic votive candle holder. Pre-registration is encouraged

The Art Lab is located at 565 E. Grand River Avenue, and is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

Do you appreciate knowing about cool events around town? Keep that information coming by making a financial donation to ELi today!

Comments are closed.