Each July, Iowa City’s Rummage in the Ramp event seeks to keep items out of the Landfill by collecting donations of still-usable items, selling them at a giant parking-garage sale, and dividing the proceeds among local nonprofits. This year, the mega-reuse event added another component: turning cast-offs into art.

Rummage ReDux was introduced this year to get people thinking about the possibilities of renewing, upcycling, and fixing items to give them a new life. While the majority of items available for sale at Rummage in the Ramp are usable right from the get-go, with a little love and creativity, many can go from being simply serviceable to being downright spectacular. For this new event, Johnson County residents, artists and craftspeople were invited to pick an item to repair, repurpose, upcycle, or otherwise improve, to show others how easily and inexpensively it can be done.

Artists include Kumi Morris, who repurposed furniture; John Demory, who repurposed coffee tables to a chess table and chairs; and Amy Smith Pasley, who reupholstered a chair. In a collaborative project with Four Oaks/AMP youth called “Achieving Maximum Potential” (AMP), the fourth artist, Jo Myers-Walker, used art as a life-skills teaching piece. She worked with students to repurpose items like recycled plexiglass, roller skates and a toy truck to be future dream homes for kids doing what they like to do. Each student added his or her own house to the AMP village. 

Works from Rummage ReDux will be on display for the public to view as part of the upcoming Downtown Iowa City Gallery Walk from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 2. The special exhibit will be set up in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn Street. The public is invited to view the artists’ work, talk to them about their projects, and get ideas for projects of their own. In addition to Rummage ReDux, the Gallery Walk will feature 13 other venues in Downtown Iowa City: AKAR, Chait Galleries, The Englert Theatre, Glassando, Iowa Artisans Gallery, MC Ginsberg, MidWestOne Bank, the Paper Nest, rsvp, Senior Center, Textiles, United Action for Youth (UAY) and US Bank.

The walk is self-guided, family-friendly, and does not require an admission fee. Attendees who visit six or more of the participating venues will have a chance to win a $50 gift certificate from MidWestOne Bank. To qualify, have your Gallery Walk postcard or map stamped at each location you visit. Maps may be picked up or dropped off at any participating venue. For more information, visit http://downtowniowacity.com/pages/events/listings/fall-gallery-walk-4794... or “Iowa City Gallery Walk” on Facebook.

Plans are also underway to showcase the artists’ work on America Recycles Day on Sunday, Nov. 15.

For more information, contact Jennifer Jordan, City of Iowa City Recycling Coordinator, at 319-887-6160 or jennifer-jordan@iowa-city.org.

Date of publication

Wednesday, September 23, 2015