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

After five months of focusing their artistic inquiry on materials discovered at the Metro Central transfer Station, our 2016 artists are ready to share their insights and inspire us with their creative visions.  Please join us!

Congratulations to our 2016 artists Erinn Kathryn, Hilary Pfeiffer, Dan Pillers, Amanda Triplett and Austin Turley!  After 5 months of discovering the artistic potential of discarded materials, they are ready to share their visions in a formal exhibition.

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

Taking its inspiration from Recology San Francisco’s renowned Artist in Residence program, GLEAN’s mission is to prompt people to think about their consumption habits, inspire creative reuse and initiate larger conversations about the waste we generate.

In February of 2016, a jury of arts and environmental professionals choose 5 new artists to participate in the program. The artists have had 5 months to glean materials from the Metro Central transfer station (aka, the “dump”) from which to make their art. Each artist was required to make eight pieces and received a stipend of $2,000. 

If you would like to be added to the notification list for future Calls for Artists and Exhibition notices please sign up here:

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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 56.8% diversion rate, we still send more than a million tons of waste to landfills each year. Ouch.