dumpster enclosure

This trash dumpster enclosure located at the City of Yuma Housing Authority parking lot is one of 10 the city plans to adorn with public art.

Where people are used to seeing trash dumped, they’ll soon see art as well.

The city is seeking proposals from artists in the Yuma area to apply their talents to the three-sided cinderblock enclosures of trash dumpers in the downtown Yuma.

The city’s Division of Arts and Culture has picked out 10 enclosures that it wants adorned as part of ongoing efforts to place art on outdoor surfaces where they can be seen by the passers-by in the downtown.

“It’s a unique opportunity to create beauty out of something not historically thought of as being beautiful,” said Lindsay Benacka, the city’s arts and culture program manager.

The Trash Enclosure Art Project offers literally a blank slate for artists limited only by their own imaginations and technical skills.

A mural would seem to be the obvious choice for the art work to be applied to the vertical surfaces of the enclosures, but Benacka stressed that the city is not limiting proposals to muralists. It would like to see, for example, ideas for mosaics or metal work, or any other art medium that could be adhered to cinderblock as an outdoor canvas.

“We are encouraging projects of all kinds,” she said. “There is no limitation on the types of artistry or theme. What is envisioned is up to the artist.

“It’s a very open opportunity,” Benacka added. “There’s no theme. It’s completely open to what an artist could envision for the space. We wanted to create a project that would be inclusive and accessible to artists in our community.”

Proposals will be accepted from artists 18 and older who live in Yuma or “the greater Yuma area.”

“Professional art experience is not required, but we are asking for an artistic resume or examples of comparative artwork,” Benacka said.

Artists whose concepts are chosen are scheduled to be notified Sept. 30, and each will receive a $1,000 budget to cover materials, the artist’s compensation and any other costs incurred in creating the art.

Funding for the project comes courtesy of artist Corey Cowan with Degree Mechanical of Yuma. Earlier this year, he was chosen among bidders to design a new fountain to replace the one at Main and 2nd streets that broke apart in September. The city allocated $10,000 to him, but he donated back the money on the condition it go for another public art project within the city.

Applying the money to dumpster enclosures might not have been the first thought that came to mind. A number of walls and building sides in the downtown had already been painted in mural projects commissioned either by the city or done through private initiative.

Driving around the downtown, the arts and culture staff saw that there weren’t many remaining publicly owned sites that could serve as canvases, Benacka said. But some brainstorming led to the idea of using the cinderblock walls enclosing the trash bins.

“It’s a small canvas in terms of public art,” Benacka said, “but it’s really an opportunity to engage local artists.”

There may be as many as 30 such enclosures in and around the downtown, Benacka said, but the arts and culture staff has identified 10 that are suitable based on such criteria as locations in areas of high pedestrian or vehicle traffic and availability of ambient light. Most are in places bounded by 1st Street on the north, Gila Street on the east, Giss Parkway on the south and Madison Avenue on the west.

Artists can submit multiple design proposals, Benacka said, but the city is not looking to pick a single artist for all or even most of the enclosures. More than one artist can work on a single enclosure.

“Can artists collaborate? Absolutely, Duos, trios and collaborations are definitely welcome.”

For information about submitting proposals, artists can visit https://tinyurl.com/7nsmcr8u

Artists have a Sept. 3 deadline to submit proposals. The city Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission will selecting winning designs based on their visual impact, interpretation and creativity, composition and design and adherence to eligibility guidelines.

The city hopes to have the art projects completed by the end of the year.

For more information, contact Benacka at Lindsay.Benacka@yumaaz.gov., or 928-373-5202.

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