GLEAN: to gather, collect bit by bit, or pick over in search of relevant material


Call to Artists

The deadline for applications for the 2017 GLEAN program has closed.  Thanks to all the artists who applied.  Selected artists will be announced in late February.

GLEAN is a juried art program that taps into the creativity of artists from the Portland metro region to inspire people to think about their consumption habits, the waste this generates, and to reconsider the value of these resources.

In mid-February, a jury of arts and environmental professionals will choose 5 new artists from the 87 who applied.  Selected artists will have 5 months to glean materials from the Metro Central transfer station (aka, the “dump”) from which to make their art.  Each artist is required to make eight pieces and receives a stipend of $2,000.  The program culminates in a formal exhibition in August.

GLEAN is a partnership between Recology, an employee-owned integrated resource recovery and recycling company, Metro, the regional government that guides the region’s garbage and recycling systems, and crackedpots.

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What's the transfer station?

Up until the early 1990s, most regions around the country still had local “dumps” where the community’s waste was taken. Due to concerns about public health and the environment, as well as increasing regulations, most of these local landfills began to close.

As communities struggled to figure out what to do with their waste, large waste management companies began construction of “mega-landfills” in remote locations designed to accept waste from hundreds of miles away. This new system created a new challenge — how could waste picked up by small, local garbage trucks be transported over such long distances?

The solution was to build transfer stations where waste from local garbage haulers and citizens could be processed and reloaded onto long-haul trucks, freight trains and even barges, in some instances. The Portland region’s waste is trucked 150 miles to the 2,000-acre Columbia Ridge Landfill in eastern Oregon. While we can be very proud of our high diversion rate, we still send more than a million tons of waste to landfills each year. Ouch.