From Trash to Treasure at the Arboretum: Plastic Sculptures on Display

If you walk through the Arboretum at Penn State this summer and early fall, you'll see more than flowers and greenery. Gravity Schmavity, an exhibition featuring outdoor plastic sculpture by Aurora Robson, is installed at the Arboretum through October 29.

Robson, one of the artists featured in the groundbreaking Palmer Museum of Art exhibition Plastic Entanglements: Ecology, Aesthetics, Materials, is a multimedia artist predominantly known for her work with plastic debris. She was commissioned in January 2017 by the Arboretum and the Palmer Museum of Art to create three outdoor sculptures using industrial plastic waste generated by Penn State.

"Aurora is one of the most accomplished artists working with 'recovered' plastic in the art world today," said Joyce Robinson, curator at the Palmer. "Her outdoor pieces, particularly her recent work made from intercepted industrial plastic waste gleaned from the very institutions she partners with, are whimsical and beguiling but also remind us to consider the long-lasting impacts of plastic."

Kim Steiner, director of the Arboretum, said the sculptures "enrich the aesthetic experience" of the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens and inspire a sense of renewal and stewardship.

The three site-specific works, which are lighted using LED lighting powered by small solar panels, can be seen in the Overlook Pavilion, the Glass House in Childhood's Gate Children's Garden, and the Poplar Court. Following their display at Penn State, the pieces will be available to travel in conjunction with Plastic Entanglements, which is scheduled for stops at three additional venues through the end of 2019.

Support for this exhibition was provided in part by Diane Blanton, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Centre County Board of Commissioners, and Penn State's Sustainability Institute, Materials Research Institute, and Solid Waste Operations.

Unit Outreach: Palmer Museum of Art