“Straw Bale” is an art piece is designed to raise awareness of the problem of plastic pollution to the environment, specifically wildlife and watersheds. It takes the shape and dimensions of a traditional bale of straw, but is comprised completely of straws.
“Straw Bale” is play on words, a place to sit, a subject for conversation, and a marquee for needless waste.
“Straw Bale” can be placed anywhere and can work as a stand-alone project, but would be even more powerful when juxtaposed with a similar conscious-raising outdoor sculpture. For example, sitting on “Straw Bale” while pondering Phil Campbell’s “Giant Water Bottle” could strongly reinforce the message of plastic waste.
A common object used by almost everyone, the straw has numerous negative ecological impacts. Straws end up in our watershed systems, eventually circling the gyres of our oceans, ingested by creatures. In some instances, the plastic can become lodged in creatures’ orifices, and in general does great damage to the environment as plastic polymers never fully break down.
The piece is designed to captivate the everyday person as they walk, run or bike along a river trail. Awareness of the wastefulness of straws can be driven home by this art piece, which also carries an element of whimsy and humor to it.The acquisition of the straws needed to finish the piece could include a public campaign that might lead to further awareness. Something like a Devour Downtown or Dig-IN event could be united with a “straw capture” campaign where local restaurants commit to capture all the straws in one day that would normally be thrown away. We collect the straws from that one-day capture to build “Straw Bale,” illuminating the massive amount of waste straws create on a daily basis.
“Straw Bale” might inspire the viewer to “Refuse the Straw,” which is in fact a national movement to reduce plastic waste. “Straw Bale” might motivate one to join the “Refuse the Straw” or the Colorado-based “Be Straw Free” initiative. Accompanying social networking, media coverage and local interpretation would connect the viewer to these and other communities.
“Straw Bale” has the potential, then, to elicit a clear path of action.
Big Car Collaborative thrives on activating spaces through creative approaches and has been an active partner of Reconnecting to Our Waterways (ROW) since it started.
In spring 2015, Big Car hired Alan Goffinski to serves as ROW’s creative placemaker-in residence to empower artists and residents to take a critical look at their neighborhood assets – spaces along their waterways – and how they can be leveraged to build stronger neighborhoods and more vibrant public spaces.
This video takes a closer look at a series of programs and events designed to bring people to the waterways. These creative placemaking efforts are supported by a grant funded by The Kresge Foundation and Central Indiana Community Foundation.
Event footage and photos provided by Kurt Nettleton and Jim Walker of Big Car Collaborative.
David Engwicht presents on Six Secrets of Great Places at the ROW Creative Placemaking Workshop on October 21, 2015. Organized by Big Car, the workshop was part of the collaborative's "Rethink Reconnect Reclaim" series exploring creative approaches to revitalizing communities and improving public places with talks and workshops led by internationally recognized experts on placemaking.
David Engwichthas over 25 years experience in placemaking. He is a passionate designer, artist, author, communicator, and social inventor, best known as the creator of the Walking School Bus. PPS in New York describe him as “one of the world’s most inventive thinkers on creating vibrant public spaces”. Nothing gives David greater joy than working with communities to breathe new life into dead spaces.
Tony Garcia presents on tactical urbanism at the ROW Creative Placemaking Workshop on October 21, 2015 . The workshop was part of Big Car's "Rethink Reconnect Reclaim" series exploring creative approaches to revitalizing communities and improving public places with talks and workshops led by internationally recognized experts on placemaking.
Tony Garcia is a principal of Street Plans Collaborative, and leads the firm’s Miami office. He is a nationally recognized architect, writer, speaker and advocate in the in the field of transit, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. As a writer and advocate, Tony’s work has appeared in or been featured by The Daily Business Review, Atlantic Cities, Next American City Magazine, New Urban News, The Real Deal, Momentum Magazine, Streetsblog, the Miami Herald, the El Paso Times, and The Miami New Times, among other publications. Tony is a coauthor of the globally acclaimed series Tactical Urbanism: Short-Term Action, Long-Term Change Vol. 2, and together with Mike Lydon authored the full-length book Tactical Urbanism, published by Island Press in March 2015.
During the last round of grants to support creative placemaking along Indianapolis' waterways, Reconnecting to Our Waterways (ROW) awarded $60,000 for system-wide waterway interpretation and education.
Managed by The daVinci Pursuit, the funding was used to underwrite temporary, movable and adaptable artistic and educational installations placed along each waterway to increase awareness. The pilot project was designed to learn how to better educate and engage the community about the ROW initiative and its elements.
This video takes a closer look at this effort and features three creative projects including a kinetic sculpture by David Landis, a “strawbale” by Jim Poyser of Earth Charter Indiana, and a giant boom box by Wil Marques and the Design Bank.
This innovative endeavor has been followed up by a grant from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust to create permanent version of the creative placemaking concepts.