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Art from discards

BRADENTON — Roadside trash inspired Kerry Topjun and Michelle Brunone to create art out of bed headboards, chair rails and other pieces of discarded wood.

Saturday they were part of artists exhibiting in Re Vision, a recycled arts and crafts fair at the Village of the Arts.

“We like to recycle whatever we can back into the art,” said Topjun, who calls her work reinspired mixed media. “Our great love is finding something along the road and knowing it won’t end up in a landfill. It’s like a treasure hunt.”

Although artwork made from recycled materials is nothing new, the idea for the Village art show was the brainchild of Christine Turner, co-owner of the Baobab Tree Gallery on 12th Street West. She was inspired by her husband Gordon’s recycled art.

He creates fish and clocks from old wood and embellishes them with things he finds, she said.

“Anything he can find that he can use, he reuses them,” said Turner. “He goes to garage sales every weekend and hunts for stuff.”

Turner does some of her own recycled art from boxes and other found items. The kitchen wall of her gallery home is decorated with chair and table parts. A piece hangs on the gallery wall called “Torem goes to the beach” and is made from an Ikea lamp box.

“It says on the back recycle the box, and I did,” she said.

With Earth Day on April 22, the show was in part to showcase artwork that was environmentally friendly, said Turner.

Re Vision took place on the same weekend as the Village’s monthly art walk.

“We believe in the concept of repurposing,” said Turner, who spent most of her career as an art teacher before owning a Village gallery. “There already is a group who believes in the concept, so we thought we would use it to draw people together.”

Twenty-four artists in addition to the 35 village galleries demonstrated their recycled works of art. They showcased things created from recycled bottles, jar lids, metal scraps and even computer parts.

The show featured not only art, but a garden walk through Village yards, jazz music from students at Manatee School of the Arts and art clubs from two different high schools.

“Hopefully it will be an annual event,” she said.

Re Vision also was a chance to highlight the Village of the Arts, a living and working art community started by the Artists Guild of Manatee nine years ago, said Turner. The Village is located just south of downtown Bradenton and is almost 42 acres with 240 residential structures of mostly 1920s and 1930s homes. Almost 40 of the structures have been turned into galleries, restaurants and shops.

Christine Silva of St. Petersburg was impressed with the Village’s “ambience and energy.”

“It’s phenomenal, the whole uniqueness of it,” she said. “A whole village dedicated to the arts to me is just amazing.”

Artist Carrie Price, co-organizer of Re Vision, bought one of the Village homes with her husband last fall, and together they turned it into Innervisions Gallery and Yoga Arts. It was one of the best decisions they ever made, she said.

“I had always wanted to live here,” said Price, while she cradled her infant daughter. “It’s really amazing that it happened.”