Student artists recycle materials

Student sculptors from the University of Tennessee recently surveyed piles of discarded steel at Gerdau’s Knoxville mill, selected pieces that inspired them and will turn the materials into tributes of artistic reuse.

“Recycling is what we do every day, but these students see these materials in a fresh new way,” said Johnny Miller, vice president and general manager of Gerdau’s Knoxville steel mill. “We look forward to seeing how these sculptors transform these raw materials into works of art.”

The project is a partnership between Gerdau and Dogwood Arts and will culminate in a public art exhibition at the Knoxville Convention Center in April that will celebrate both sculpture and National Recycling Month.

The sculptors collectively selected from Gerdau’s scrapyard nearly three tons of discarded metal and steel, which the company provides free to the students. Between now and the exhibition, they will work with John Powers, UT assistant professor of sculpture, to create works of art.

Participating students included Rachel Byrd, Veronica Castle, Keelin Cavanaugh, Kylee Haynes, Daniel Hood, Cameron Kite, Marisa Mitchell, Lauren Sanders, Joshua Shorey, Paige Smith, Patricia Tinsley and Nicholas Tamas.

2014-01 Gerdau - Scrapyard Dig

John Powers, University of Tennessee assistant professor of sculpture, and student Paige Smith survey the massive piles of discarded metal and steel at Gerdau’s scrapyard. A dozen students will create works of art from materials selected from the scrapyard, and the art will be on display during April 2015, National Recycling Month. Photo submitted.