Show features dumpster art
Snow leopards outside Danes Hall
By Angie Landsverk
When the Waupaca Art Show opens at Danes Hall this weekend, one of its entries is greeting visitors near the front door.
Wendy Griffith’s 2D painting of snow leopards is being placed outside the building for the show.
“It’s not a standard piece,” she said.
Her work is on a dumpster.
“Faulks Brothers commissioned Wendy as a professional artist,” said Bob Faulks.
He and his brother Randy own the Waupaca business.
For about 15 years, they have hired professional and non-professional artists to paint their dumpsters.
“Dumpsters are usually in front of a person’s home or business for an extended period of time,” Faulks said.
It was his idea years ago to turn them into canvases of art.
Faulks and his wife Christine first saw Griffith’s work in Waupaca’s 2002 art show.
A year later, they met her at an art show in Stevens Point.
Griffith has done a number of projects for them through the years.
Her interest in art began in elementary school when she learned how to write in cursive.
“I was amazed at how you can take a piece of paper and a pencil and bend these lines around,” she said. “I would practice how different letters went together.”
In high school, Griffith took photography classes, which she believes “played a big role in visually composing a scene to be viewed by people.”
She also took art classes at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Griffith enjoys photography, drawing and painting.
“I had been interested in doing something bigger, working on metal,” she said.
Faulks Brothers Construction gave her the opportunity to do that.
Before the dumpster arrived in April 2017, Griffith knew she wanted something with patterns for her subject.
“I Googled ‘spotted critters,’” she said.
She found the snow leopard.
“I became very interested in this cat, where it’s from,” Griffith said.
She learned snow leopards live in the high altitudes of Asia.
Griffith also discovered they are an endangered cat.
“I got the idea and was going different directions, how I could let people see this cat,” she said.
She began thinking about calling attention to the issue by perhaps doing an installation piece.
“I just wanted to do something, even though it’s small, to help them,” Griffith said.
She lives and works in Stevens Point and started the project in June 2017.
Her original idea was to fill the space with different scenes and images.
Faulks advised her to remember people see the dumpsters from a distance, and so the images need to be big.
As Griffith worked on the project, she became attached to the snow leopards and felt a responsibility toward them.
She painted a different mural on each side of the dumpster.
In all, Griffith painted six snow leopards.
“Wendy does an excellent job with animals and their eyes,” Faulks said.
Griffith was working on the project right up until the time of last year’s art show.
As people saw her work, a few mentioned she should enter it in the art show.
“Bob and Christine approached the board and asked if it was OK,” Griffith said of this year’s show. “An email was forwarded to me saying they thought it would be a great idea.”
The dumpster was located at several different locations during the past year.
It was most recently outside Danes Hall, which is where the art show will be held this year.
Premiere Night is 6-8 p.m. Saturday, April 13. in the renovated Danes Hall, at 301 N. Main St.
The show is open 1-6 p.m. Sunday, April 14.
The critique by the judges is from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Awards are presented in professional, non-professional and high school categories.
The art show is then open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, April 15 through Thursday, April 18.
Griffith appreciates the opportunity Faulks Brothers Construction gave her.
“This is a wonderful show, and I’m grateful that this piece is being seen in it,” she said.
Faulks reminds those who visit the show to look at each side of the dumpster.