Archive for December 8th, 2007

I love the Albuquerque International Sunport. I love that it’s small and easy to navigate. I love the ageless art deco wood-and-leather chairs, comfy to sit in while waiting to board a flight. Mostly I love what the airport folks dream up to entertain weary travelers passing in and out of the airport’s doors.

Case in point — Recycle Runway: The Airport Project.

Recycle Runway is an exhibit of elegant dresses, coats, shoes, hats, and other accessories — all made of trash. Pages from magazines folded into intricate, colorful fans and sewn onto a flamenco dress. An entire cowgirl getup, complete with cowgirl hat, made from the woven sheets of phone books. The most colorful outfit is a dress covered in plastic “buttons” cut out of laundry detergent bottles.

This exhibit is delightful. More than that, it is hopeful.

There is something moving about seeing the beauty that can come from empty aluminum cans, reams of computer paper, ubiquitous plastic bags, crushed glass, even rusty nails. No woman is ever going to wear crushed glass all over herself (Help! Your hug just shredded my stomach!), yet these articles of clothing bring home the message that we MUST recycle if we are to save our planet. That recycling is more than a duty. Recycling is beauty.

Nancy Judd started Recycle Runway seven years ago, after working as the Recycling Coordinator for the City of Santa Fe and then as Executive Director of the New Mexico Recycling Coalition. The exhibit has already been featured in several airports this past fall. It’s unclear where it will go next, but one thing is for sure. It adds to a growing movement of artists taking on environmental issues.

My favorite pieces are a Carmen Miranda-style headdress, blouse, and skirt made of plastic Target bags, and a coat made of cassette innards.

Recycle Runway will be in the Albuquerque International Sunport through January 16, 2008. If you miss it, you can write to an address on the website to ask whether it will be showing up at an airport in your part of the country. And if you’re really excited by this kind of art, mark your calendars for the tenth annual Recycle Santa Fe Festival in November 2008.

Good job, little airport of mine! So what that you’re not truly international? You give free internet access, and more important, ya got culture!

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