KIBCU un­veils cleanup sculp­ture

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Front Page - By KRIS­TIAN JAIME Kjaime@ches­

CEN­TRE­VILLE — For Lucy Kruse, one man’s trash is in­spi­ra­tion and such was the case with un­veil­ing her lat­est work, “Many Hands of the Ch­e­sa­peake,” on Thurs­day, Sept. 27, at the Queen Anne’s County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion.

The part­ner­ship be­tween the Kent Is­land Beach Cleanups, the Queen Anne’s County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion and fund­ing from the com­mu­nity en­gage­ment mini-grant from the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Trust led to the de­sign and theme of en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion and pro­tec­tion.

“This is an amaz­ing event be­cause the youth have the op­por­tu­nity to see the detri­ment of sin­gle-use plas­tics,” said Kristin Weed, KIBCU pres­i­dent and founder. “This gives them the chance to learn about an is­sue and we hope it stim­u­lates change with them. Just col­lect­ing trash isn’t as im­pact­ful as mak­ing a beau­ti­ful piece of art where peo­ple can look at it and put the is­sue into per­spec­tive.”

With the cause in mind, artist Lucy Kruse wanted to in­te­grate ma­te­ri­als that told the story and thus was born the ini­tial draw­ing of the sculp­ture with the help of a close friend.

Fol­low­ing a beach cleanup, more than enough ma­te­rial was col­lected and work be­gan on weld­ing the quar­ter-inch steel frame of the sculp­ture. The me­tal sculp­ture artist was no stranger to flush­ing out a form us­ing myr­iad com­po­nents.

That task got con­sid­er­ably dif­fer­ent with the col­lec­tion of plas­tic wa­ter bot­tles, cig­a­rette butts, fishing line, por­tions of chil­dren’s toys, and even a pair of vin­tage cheer­leader shoes to name a few items.

For its part, KIBCU started in earnest fol­low­ing a trip to the beach by Weed and her fam­ily only to be shocked by the amount of trash on the beach. What started as a so­cial me­dia cam­paign be­came a for­mal 501c3 that fo­cuses on re­duc­ing the amount of sin­gleuse plas­tics like wa­ter bot­tles and straws.

Through 600 vol­un­teer hours to date, the or­ga­ni­za­tion has al­ready col­lected an es­ti­mated 60,000 pounds of de­bris and gar­nered men­tor­ship from the Na­tional Aquar­ium. The pri­mary goals of the or­ga­ni­za­tion are ed­u­cat­ing kids about pol­lu­tion of beaches and clean-up ef­forts and get peo­ple to make changes and take per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity and come out and help clean up, Weed said.

“From the be­gin­ning, peo­ple have been in­ter­ested in the sculp­ture and have vol­un­teered to work on it,” said Kruse. “The point of the sculp­ture was to get the com­mu­nity in­volved, and peo­ple just em­braced it. The cause of sin­gle-use plas­tics made oth­ers post ar­ti­cles (on so­cial me­dia) about clean­ing up the Bay, and it’s been a great ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Kruse said art has the power to draw in the view­ers and serve as an ed­u­ca­tional piece. The seven-foot sculp­ture will tour from Oc­to­ber through March to all 14 pub­lic schools in the county, along with ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­ri­als pro­vided by KIBCU and the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Trust.

The piece took six months to com­plete with vol­un­teers work­ing with a dozen 11-gal­lon bins and a tarp full of garbage and sin­gle-use plas­tics for Kruse to work into her sculp­ture.

“The fact that peo­ple were in­ter­ested in it al­lowed us to give them the facts about beach clean-up,” Kruse said.

The Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Trust needed lit­tle con­vinc­ing that this was worth­while project in need of fund­ing, even with a com­pre­hen­sive grant ap­pli­ca­tion writ­ten by Kruse and Weed.

“This project en­gaged the com­mu­nity and in­creased ste­ward­ship and aware­ness on im­por­tant top­ics on our nat­u­ral re­sources, but it also worked to clean up the beaches. That’s a di­rect source of things that end up in our wa­ter­ways,” con­cluded Bre’Anna Brooks, pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor for CBT.


Artist Lucy Kruse ex­plains spe­cific items picked up dur­ing the beach cleanup where her ma­te­ri­als were col­lected.


Artist Lucy Kruse point out de­tails from her sculp­ture “Many Hands of the Ch­e­sa­peake.”

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