From Waste to Wonderful

MECCA’s Object Afterlife asks artists to transform scraps into masterpieces



EUGENE, OREGON — April 11, 2017 —The challenge: to turn a mystery box of materials into inspiring, thought-provoking and creative works of art. On Friday, April 21 from 6-8 p.m., the Object Afterlife Artist Reception and Awards Ceremony will celebrate the work of the inspiring artists who accepted that challenge.


Now in its ninth year, Object Afterlife, an annual event organized by Eugene-based MECCA — the Materials Exchange Center for the Community Arts — asks artists to re-imagine materials that are often considered unwanted and turn such “scraps” into masterpieces. Participants receive a mystery box of materials and a MECCA gift certificate, and they’re given two months to create. The desired result: artworks that exist in the space where artistic discovery and conservation meet, inspiring us all to think differently about the materials we may consider waste.

“We inspire our community to reimagine unwanted materials while breaking down the financial barriers to the arts and creativity,” said Director Heather Campbell, who added that Object Afterlife also “challenges artists to work outside their traditional media.”

Among those accepting the challenge this year were Maiya Becker, whose “Planetary Playtime” uses beads to put a new spin on the classic landscape form; Scott Parker’s “Birds of a Tree” works wonders with panels of Styrofoam, and glass chips helped Eli Rise peer into “A Window into a Different Past.” Judges for 2017 include Saturday Market Manager Kim Still, Kelly Bell of the Lane County Master Recycling Program and ‘Eugene Weekly’ Arts Editor Bob Keefer. Awards will be announced at 6:30 p.m.

Since 1999, MECCA has been dedicated to diverting art materials from the waste stream and toward the Eugene art community’s creative endeavors. Campbell said that MECCA chose to hold the Object Afterlife reception on Earth Day weekend in part to support the viewpoint that creative reuse — the practice of reuse over recycling as an ideal way to create using the materials at hand — is a vital component of environmental conservation.

More information about MECCA’s Object Afterlife is available at