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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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College of Architecture to collect 3,000 milk jugs for art installation


Thanks to an upcoming art project, milk jugs destined for disposal can now be recovered for recycling.
The College of Architecture and the College of Architecture Diversity Council are collecting 3,000 plastic gallon milk jugs as materials for the Shades project, an art installation at the Brazos Valley African American Museum in downtown Bryan.
Patrick Patterson, urban and regional planning graduate student, said the finalized project would be an outdoor installation raised to look like floating clouds above the museum’s patio.
Weiling He, associate professor of architecture, is designing the project. As both her art and research interests focus on the transformation of materials without using any chemical alterations, she will be utilizing the individual milk jugs in their original state to construct the installation.
“I’ve had this kind of commentary to our society because I think our society is trying to consume a lot and therefore we waste a lot,” He said. “But I see a lot of ways to use – to me they are not ordinary ways in which I see value in it because we put a lot of value in making the jugs, so how do we reuse and transform it into something pretty or beautiful?”
Not only will the project focus on the individual nature of each jug, but also the impact the entire installation will have when it is completed, He said.
“Milk jugs are an everyday object, so it’s a very personal one and once we put 3,000 milk jugs together and make it a big shaded cover, it becomes acollective effort,” He said. “So we are also playing on a conceptual scale, from an individual to something more collective and serving the community.”
In April, the College of Architecture will host two workshops where local high school and middle school students and A&M students can assist in the assembly of the plastic containers. The workshops will likely be held on-site at the museum.
Cecilia Giusti, professor and associate dean for outreach and diversity in the College of Architecture, said the Shades project was an opportunity to expose a piece of the community she felt was unknown to the general public.
“It’s very relevant in the sense that there is a portion of the population that has been so invisible or discriminated that they don’t have a voice,” Giusti said. “And [the museum staff members] have worked very hard to show all the contributions of the African-American population.”
He and Giusti said professors from construction science and two other students were involved in the project.
Patterson, who is a student representative on the diversity council, is spearheading the project’s outreach. He said he felt drawn to volunteer with the project and thought it would be a terrific opportunity to give back to the community as a graduate student.
Heavily involved as an undergraduate in service related organizations at Texas A&M, Patterson said he felt it was important for all graduate students to stay involved as they continue their education.
“As a grad student it’s just easy easy to get stuck in your research and work,” Patterson said. “Most opportunities that graduate students get to have are usually within the college and that’s great, however the opportunity to really interact with the community – those are a little harder to find because we’re so wrapped up in our work. This project has been something that I can apply to everything I’ve learned as an undergrad while also spreading it out to the community, but not take away from my studies.”
The College of Architecture will be collecting the gallon jugs until March 31 at the Biochemistry/Biophysics Building.

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