In Focus: Decorated Recycling Bins

To Sixth College fourth year Jordan Liss and his team of artists, campus art should be more than just teddy bears and giraffe catchers — they want you to enjoy your daily fix of color every time you recycle your water bottle.

During his sophomore year, Liss was inspired by the new Chicano mural take on his own project and give UCSD undergraduate artists a chance to express their creativity.

Liss drafted a proposal to get funding from the Green Initiative Fund, a grant provided by the Sustainability Resource
Center. It took over a year to draft the grant and get permission to paint the recycling cans from the administration of University City.

Liss, an Environmental Studies major, says the project also attracts students to the recycling cans, encouraging them to be mindful about what they throw away.

For Sixth College Senior Emmanuel Pantoja, an artist that Liss found through an organization called the Art Community Club, it was establishing a lasting legacy on the UCSD campus that encouraged him to take on the feat.

“When the opportunity to paint something on campus [came up], something that will be here for ever and ever, it got me excited,” Pantoja said. “What’s really cool about them is that they have a plaque, so my name is actually on that plaque. I’ll be here forever.”

Pantoja’s painted recyling bin was recently vandalized, which was heartbreaking for the diligent artist. But even in its broken state, the recycling bin has brought the community together — following the vandalism, passers-by wrote notes of condolences on the bin. Pantoja is also planning to create another, even more extravagantly painted recycling bin to add to the collection.

Liss and the artists at ACC are excited about the success of their creation. He says that the project built new bridges between undergraduates and administrators of University City, paving the way for future projects.

“The whole purpose of this was to see how easy it was to do public art at the university,” Liss said.

The six recycling bins can be found around Café Roma and Price Center.

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