Contact: Gail Rost, General Manager, The I.D.E.A. Store
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Something big and green — and infused with artistic energy and imagination — has been incubating for months at The I.D.E.A. Store, Champaign-Urbana’s premier creative-reuse marketplace. And it’s all about to crack wide open March 1-3.
That’s when HATCH, the area’s first-ever creative-reuse art festival, produced by The I.D.E.A. Store, will emerge in various venues in and near downtown Champaign. HATCH includes an art exhibition and gallery talk; a one-day art fair; and a host of activities led by visiting artist-in-residence Michelle Stitzlein of Baltimore, Ohio. Stitzlein is a found-object sculptor and educator who has been dubbed the “the Bottle Cap Lady” for her efforts to teach children and others how to transform otherwise disposable plastic trash into art.
With the exception of a daylong plastic-bottle-cap mural-building exercise Stitzlein is leading with children at Champaign’s South Side Elementary School on March 1, most events are open to the public.
A complete schedule of activities and list of participating artists is on the Hatch website.
While the term “creative reuse” is somewhat new in the vernacular, The I.D.E.A. Store General Manager Gail Rost noted that people have actually been practicing creative reuse for centuries.
“When used in the context of artmaking, creative reuse is what occurs when artists and designers take discarded materials destined for the landfill — everything from bottle caps, corks and spools to old trophy parts and packing materials — and add their creative touch and talent to ‘hatch’ something brand new,” she said. “Results may be whimsical or functional, but almost always are clever and compelling.”
Along with a team of volunteers from The I.D.E.A. Store, Rost has put together “a vibrant, multifaceted festival with a full menu of simultaneous activities to give attendees a multi-course sampling of the many ways artists throughout the Midwest are embracing the tenets of creative reuse.” The festival, she added, is intended “not only to inform but also to inspire others to rethink the way they interact with materials previously regarded only as junk or trash.”
“We want our community to have a full experience in learning about creative reuse through HATCH,” said Rost, who also is Executive Director of the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation. “We want you to see it, touch it, hear about it, explore it, support our artists with your purchases, love it with your friends and help us help the world to slow down, use fewer materials and create less waste. We want you to see the fun, beauty and potential in the everyday waste object.”
Rost said entry into the juried art exhibition and art fair was competitive. HATCH jurors reviewed nearly 100 entries from more than 50 artists and artist-vendors from throughout Illinois, Indiana and Missouri. Selected work — created using at least 75 percent recycled, reused or repurposed materials – ranges from assemblage, collage, jewelry, fiber and paper arts to functional design, including garden décor, lighting fixtures and clothing.
Twenty-five pieces by 16 artists were chosen for inclusion in the exhibition, which takes place March 1-3 (Friday-Sunday) at Indi Go Artist Co-op, 9 E. University Ave., Champaign, and continues on view through March 17 (see online schedule for hours).
Twenty-six artist-vendors — including several teams and collectives — were selected to sell their art made from recycled, reused, repurposed or upcycled materials at the art fair, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 2 (Saturday) in the McKinley Fitness Center gym, 500 W. Church St., Champaign. The exhibition also will feature large-scale moth sculptures made from found objects by artist-in-residence Stitzlein.
Another festival highlight is a “mini-bottle-cap mural” workshop for teachers and other interested adults, led by artist-in-residence Stitzlein. To guarantee a spot in the workshop, preregistration is advised, though walk-ins may still be available the day of the event. The fee is $30. Participants may preregister at The I.D.E.A. Store, 28 E. Springfield, Ave., Champaign; by phone at 217-352-7878; or by sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org and making a payment via PayPal to email@example.com.
Also in conjunction with HATCH, award-winning local artist Lisa Kesler has created a limited-edition, signed and numbered 18 x 12 inch poster to commemorate the festival. The two-color poster features linoleum-block-print illustrations of craft-making/reuse materials and vintage wood type from the Living Letter Press in Champaign. The poster paper is from French Paper Co., and is made from recycled fibers.
Kesler’s posters are available for sale now at The I.D.E.A. Store and also will be sold at the HATCH exhibition and art fair for $30 each. Half of proceeds will be donated by Kesler to The I.D.E.A. Store/Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation.
“HATCH is really something special for this community — nothing like it has ever taken place here before; we are lucky to be able to attract professionals that usually go to larger cities,” Rost noted. “In order to sustain this kind of festival, we need the community to come out and get behind HATCH. We want people to come see the creative reuse of just ordinary materials at the exhibition and be inspired — and to ensure that artists will come back next year, we need shoppers at the fair to purchase the really cool stuff that the artists have handcrafted. Think birthdays, Mother’s Day, wedding gifts, graduation, something for yourself…We want to break-even on the event. And, if we do better than that? proceeds will go to help run the store.”
For more information about “HATCH,” contact festival organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact The I.D.E.A. Store, 217-352-7878.
The I.D.E.A. Store was launched co-founders Gail Rost and Carol Jo Morgan in 2010 as a social earned-income enterprise of the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation. Income generated from sales and other programs directly benefit teachers and students in the Champaign and Urbana public schools. In addition to providing local businesses and individuals with an alternative means of discarding unwanted but reusable materials and making them available at affordable costs to teachers, students, artists, crafters, hobbyists and others, The I.D.E.A. Store staff and volunteers offer workshops and other educational programs, and engage in community outreach activities that emphasize ways to protect the environment, conserve energy and other resources, and reduce the local waste stream.