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A New Way To Clean up In the Art World

What’s green, has style and comes around every spring in Cornwall?

There’s probably more than one answer to that question, but you get the prize only if you were thinking Art @ the Dump.

Call it the art show that recycles, the art show to feel good about, whatever, but go and have fun. Better yet, go and bring something trashy.

It’s the ninth annual Art @ the Dump, and how it came to be bears repeating.

Founder Gail Jacobsen was inspired by her husband Jeff’s weekly trips to the town dump. There, former "dumpmaster" Art Breen would dispense his wit and wisdom. Jeff would pass these gems on to his wife, beginning always with "Art at the dump said…"

This is the year she passed the reins to Richard Griggs, one of the show’s most prolific artists. There’s nothing he likes better than to turn scraps of metal and other found objects into sculpture. Tiny motors from old VCRs set the sculpture in motion.

Just as likely to be found are toilets, old shoes, mannequins and toys, anything, as long as it was pulled off the trash heap and molded into art.

It shouldn’t even have to be said that humor, sometimes outright hilarity, is a mainstay of this event. Artists, and those who don a beret only this one time during the year, have bagged things like discarded medical equipment from the side of the road and turned them into masterpieces.  

A most memorable prize-winner was a truly beautiful wedding dress made from Tyvek and plastic garbage bags.

And where else are there people’s choice winners and a venue that truly reflect the theme: the dump (transfer station) sand shed.

"Call it ‘green art,’ " Griggs said, latching onto the current energy consciousness of the town. "We’re leading the way into a new way to recycle. Create art and green up the world. I see Cornwall as the mecca for trash art."

April 19 and 20 are the dates to set aside this year. For those keeping score, that’s two days instead of the usual one. Most items are for sale, with 30 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Cornwall Consolidated School art department.

Griggs said he wanted to expand it to allow more people to see the show, and to participate.

"I think it should be more of a regional thing. We’re getting more artists from outside of Cornwall and I think that’s great. As it grows, it may be able to benefit things around the region."



The show runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Art should be dropped off between 8 and 10 a.m. on Saturday.


The Cornwall transfer station is located off Route 4, just south of Route 125. For more information, contact Griggs at 860-672-6208 or thing@optonline.net.


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