Talkin’ trash: An Interview with Creative Arts Coordinator Oren Stevens about RUBBISH: One Day Sculpt & Build at Opportunity Farm

Posted on Friday May 15, 2015



Earlier this month, our amazing Creative Arts Coordinators Alexis Iammarino (Camden) and Oren Stevens (New Gloucester) planned a day-long art project at our Opportunity Farm campus with fellow artists Rick Hamilton, Lindsay Parker, Eric Leppanen and ten Wayfinder students.  Entitled: RUBBISH: One Day Sculpt & Build, it turned out to be a perfect day of creative collaboration, with some pretty amazing results.


Here’s what Oren had to say about it:


Wayfinder Schools: How did you get the idea for this project?

Oren Stevens: I had a dream about making sculptures out of refuse and started talking with Alexis about it. As it turned out Alexis has been a part of a midcoast collaboration called “Resisting Entropy” where artists take found materials and build sculptures for 24 hours. We were trying to come up with a name for the event and Joseph said, “I like the word, rubbish.” To me that captures everything, even in the sound of the word as you say it.

the guys

WS: What were the project goals?

OS: I took the New Gloucester students to the Gray Transfer Station last fall to tour the facility and get a sense of how much stuff gets thrown away and that a lot of it still has integrity and value. I wanted the students to work with random objects and create sculpture from inspiration in the moment. I also wanted students to collaborate with artists in the community as well as each other to create.

faith bike

WS: Where did all the stuff come from?

OS: Gray Transfer Station; Randy Cookson is the Director there and has developed an excellent facility that is dedicated to minimizing what goes into the landfill and directing materials to places they can be recycled. Randy was excited about our project and let me pick freely. Alexis also brought materials left over from the most recent “Resisting Entropy” project and other random goodies.


What was your role on the big day?

OS: I feel a real kinship with Alexis and I think we fuel each other. She inspires me; we were co-inspirers for the RUBBISH attendees. For me, teaching is lot about giving permission and nurturing choices to the next place. As host, I was also focused on making sure folks felt welcomed.

shannon myranda

WS: What would you say the highlights were?

OS: The weather could not have been much nicer. The artists needed zero prompting and just dug in. Being surprised by who worked together, Ethan, Rakeem, and Elijah making a sculpture about oppression or Alex Koch and Lindsay Parker making a haunting and potent installation. I learned a lot about Shannon, Erika, and Myranda by watching them execute clear visions of what they were creating. Papi is simply a joy to be around and be a part of his creating, which is a fluid experience. Rose and Fiston are craftsmen and settled into some detailed work, and Faith never misses an opportunity to deliver a message. My final highlight was just how well everyone got along–everyone seemed to know that something extraordinary was happening, and not necessarily the event, but the people, the weather, the project; there was a flow that was exceptional.

first man

WS: Anything else you’d like to say about this project?

OS: Thanks to Lindsay Parker, sculptor, Eric Leppenen, painter, Rick Hamilton, painter, Randy Cookson, Director of Gray Transfer Station, Joseph for supporting the vision, Wayfinder students for enthusiastic participation, Alex Koch for diving in, and Alexis for being such a great dance partner.


dot rose fiston


drum set!