KIBCU unveils cleanup sculpture
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.”