Library detritus inspires February exhibit

There’s beauty in the small things, the forgotten things, the leftovers. Local artists have taken inspiration from the stuff normally sent to the trash bin for the exhibit, The Detritus Project: Turning Library Cast-offs into Art, at the Fond du Lac Public Library’s Langdon Divers Gallery February 3-March 2. A public reception will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, February 11, in the gallery. Refreshments will be served.

Local artist and library gallery curator Mel Kolstad instigated the show after her own successful library detritus project was featured in the book “The Artist’s Library” in 2014. She asked library staff to save the scraps, ticket stubs, receipts and such and allowed local artists to take what they wanted.

The result is a show of 25 artists ranging in age from 4 to 77, with 31 pieces in a variety of media: sculpture, collage, acrylic painting and assemblage. Kolstad was blown away.

“I thought maybe 10 people would answer the call for artists,” she said. “But to have 25 respond – even artists for whom working with paper is quite out of their wheelhouse? Fantastic.”

Why art from the stuff left behind?

“I’m struck by how much of our daily lives are entwined with the books we're reading. The placeholders – grocery lists, poems, book recommendations, ticket stubs, doctor's appointment reminders, coupons - are the very fabric that hold our lives together, the reminders that the minutiae of our lives is more important than we realize. It's my pleasure to honor these little bits of life.”

The library’s gallery is a showcase for local and regional artists. Questions about exhibiting should be directed to Kolstad at [email protected].

In the photo: Open Your Heart by Deb Doll 

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