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MECCA’s Object Afterlife Brings Recycled Materials To Fine Art

Aubrey Bulkeley

MECCA (Material Exchange Center for Community Arts) in Eugene is hosting the 13th annual Object Afterlife art challenge at OSLP’s (Oregon Supported Living Program) gallery on 4th Ave. The pieces showcased in this project give new life to recycled materials. 




Participants were given three months to create art using a mystery bag of materials that ranges from corks and fabric scraps to floppy disks and easter eggs.

This is MECCA’s signature event and combines arts and environmental conservation. 

“Arts have a really important voice in sustainability. Both in terms of how we use materials,” said Executive Director Heather Campbell. “But then also to inspire people to be creative with their materials. And use it to the fullest extent of their life cycle.” 

The only requirement for the 78 pieces being displayed by 64 artists was to use the mystery materials in some way.

Some artists are challenged by the materials, like a metal worker given fabric scraps. And some artists make their own challenges like recreating a famous piece of art. 

“Everybody has a different approach and process and take. And I think that really shows with all of the things that we’re seeing because it is totally diverse,” Campbell said. “The only uniformity is it’s recycled materials.

Another aim of the project is to show that art made from upcycled and conventional materials has a place in the fine art world. 

The art can be viewed online on MECCA’s Facebook and Instagram. In person viewing is available at OSLP’s Lincoln Gallery on 4th Ave on Fridays from 5-7 pm. Except Friday, September 3, which is from 5:30-8 pm. 

The public can also judge the pieces in person or online.


Aubrey Bulkeley co-created FLUX podcast, a three-part series to accompany award-winning UO School of Journalism and Communication publication, FLUX Magazine. Bulkeley finished her Master's degree in Journalism at the University of Oregon in 2019.
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