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The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
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New York Knicks forward Precious Achiuwa (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers guard Kelly Oubre Jr., rear, in red, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New York on Sunday, March 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)
Column | Former Villanova fanatic watches “Nova Knicks” take down Sixers in NBA Playoffs
By Aidan Kasner, Sports Editor • May 23, 2024
Opinion | Do not arrest peaceful protesters
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • May 23, 2024

Students showcase sustainable art at an Eco-Artisans exhibit 

Art+displayed+at+the+EcoArtisans+expo+under+the+William+Pitt+Union+awning+on+Thursday.
Liam Sullivan | Staff Photographer
Art displayed at the EcoArtisans expo under the William Pitt Union awning on Thursday.

Showcasing sustainable art is a priority for students in Professor Ward Allebach’s sustainability course. As a part of this class, the students made an Eco-Artisans exhibit on the WPU patio. 

On April 11, students in Allebach’s class hosted an Eco-Artisans exhibit as part of their class project. The exhibit featured recycled artwork made by students, faculty and artists in the Pittsburgh area. 

“A lot of the artwork is made of plastics or degradable materials,” sophomore environmental studies major Rachel Garcia said. 

The exhibit portrayed different types of artwork, such as paintings, sculptures and drawings. In addition to the artwork, different groups like Plant2Plate tabled. 

“Some [of the pieces] are made of photos, paper and cardboard,” Garcia said. “There is a reused fan, magazines and stuff like that.”

To highlight the prevalence of single-use plastic cups on campus, junior environmental studies major Gabriel Agiira made a display of cups glued together to show the waste. 

“[Agiira] is also a student in the class, and he made an exhibit with a bunch of plastic cups he found on campus to feature the campus dependence on single-use plastics,” Garcia said. 

Allebach said a key goal of the sustainability class is to give students the opportunity to make environmentally friendly changes on campus. 

“I found that over the years, when students work on projects they really care about, then they’re more likely to get further down the road,” Allebach said. 

After teaching at Pitt for more than 20 years, Allebach has seen different sustainability class projects grow, such as Thriftsburgh, Clutter for a Clause and Plant2Plate. 

“Students come up with an idea of their own at the beginning of the class,” Allebach said. “We collaborate with different sustainability staff around campus and make a wish list of what projects we would like.”

When designing the project, Allebach said a priority for the class is teaching student advocacy and the process of making change, such as through artwork displaying sustainable practices. 

“The group has been amazingly on-task and diligent about everything since day one,” Allebach said. 

As a student in the sustainability class, environmental studies major Elizabeth Dowd said she was interested in making sustainable art herself. 

“The group that I joined is not all artists, but we all appreciate art for sure and recognized the power that it has,” Dowd said. 

Dowd said the group originally wanted to sell sustainable pieces like jewelry but quickly turned away from the idea due to permit difficulty. After they talked to a mentor, Dowd came up with the idea of an Earth Month art gallery, featuring paintings and sculptures with sustainable messages.  

“We came up with the idea of the Eco-Artisans exhibit and locked the gallery down with the farmers market in collaboration,” Dowd said. “We started reaching out to different clubs for their support and decided it would be cool to have them tabling there.”

After deciding on the exhibit, Dowd said the group reached out to the art and environmental studies department and had them send a link to their newsletters. Dowd also said the EcoReps groups utilized social media, posting flyers on their Instagram to attract attention from local sustainable artists. 

“We had some serious flyers and some meme flyers going around campus to kind of catch people’s attention,” Dowd said. 

After garnering attention from the artists, Dowd said she found some pieces like a collage of found materials or flowers made of plastic utensils. 

“We actually had the head of the environmental studies department submit a piece of art of found objects to make sculptures, so that was really cool,” Dowd said. 

After the exhibit, Dowd said the class wanted to make the exhibit into a more permanent exhibition. 

“I reached out to Hillman about a more permanent gallery,” Dowd said “The coordinator is going to the event and pick out a few pieces on what can be displayed there.”

Since Hillman is limited in how many pieces they can showcase, Dowd said the class is looking to put together a virtual art gallery.
“We’re trying to put together a virtual gallery with the pieces that are going to be posted on the sustainability website,” Dowd said. 

Allebach said he is fascinated by the intersection of the two ideas when reflecting on sustainability and art. 

“I think putting sustainability in the context of art is a fantastic way to communicate things that I think you would never have the opportunity to communicate otherwise,” Allebach said. 



About the Contributor
Emma Hannan, Staff Writer