It can be hard sometimes to find a good home for unique artwork, especially when that art is 14 feet high and made up of more than 600 individually suspended pieces shaped like butterflies.
But all of those butterflies and the rest of the 35 pound piece called "Rise Above Plastics: The Butterfly Effect" have landed in their new home at the Thurston County Family and Juvenile Court building in Tumwater. The piece will be on display in the court building lobby through 2015.
Artists Carrie Ziegler and Jennifer Johnson are also both county employees, and they joined staff from Family and Juvenile Court Monday evening for a dedication ceremony for the piece. "In a way, this is a homecoming, since the project and the art in education program is sponsored by the county's Solid Waste Division and Environmental Health Division," said Ziegler, an educator with the county's Solid Waste Division.
"When Jennifer and I saw this space, then realized how powerful the messages of hope, inspiration, and creating change through personal choices would be here, we knew this was the place for the piece," Ziegler said. "And I couldn't have asked for a better response from staff and court visitors."
"We are really excited to host this piece, and we hope our visitors—and especially our youth—are inspired by the story of how it was created, and inspired by the imagery of hope and renewal," said Judge Chris Wickham, who presides over Family and Juvenile Court.
"I am still amazed at how everything came together. The piece has such impact, and so many layers to its meaning and message, and I am still taken aback by how perfectly it fits this space," said Court Commissioner Indu Thomas, who helps administer the court's Student Art program.
Artists Ziegler and Johnson completed the art project with the help of nearly 700 students from 19 Thurston County schools who created the butterflies out of upcycled plastic juice pouches. Along with the work on the art piece, students also learned tips, tricks and information to help protect the environment and their own health, including using glass or stainless steel water bottles, taking re-usable bags shopping, and heating food in non-plastic containers.
"Our goal with having local students help build the piece was to create a lasting memory for them, and also foster a sense of accomplishment and pride in being a part of something with so much impact," said Jennifer Johnson, an outreach and education coordinator with the county's Environmental Health Division. "Now that it's here in the Family and Juvenile Court building, my hope is that even more young people in our community will be inspired by it and connect with it."
For more information about the Thurston County Solid Waste education and youth programs, visit www.ThurstonSolidWaste.org/Youth
For more information about the Student Art Program at Thurston County Family and Juvenile Court, visit www.co.thurston.wa.us/fjc/student-art.htm
or contact Court Commissioner Indu Thomas at (360) 709-3285 or ThomasI@co.thurston.wa.us