GLEAN - Make Art, Not Landfill

Check out the GLEAN Blog at
GLEAN is a partnership between Recology, crackedpots, an environmental arts organization, and Metro, the regional government that guides the region's garbage and recycling systems.

GLEAN is modeled after the Artist in Residence Program at Recology San Francisco. Since its founding more than 20 years ago, the San Francisco program has supported more than 100 professional and student artists in the Bay Area, and has been the subject of national and international acclaim. Similarly, GLEAN's mission is to prompt people to think about their consumption habits, inspire creative reuse, and initiate larger conversations about the waste we generate.

Every year, five artists are chosen by a jury of local arts and environmental professionals to help promote new ways of thinking about conserving resources, art and the environment. Each artist receives a stipend and privileges for six months to scavenge discarded materials at Metro Central transfer station in Northwest Portland. The program culminates with a formal exhibition in the fall at Disjecta Gallery.

How to Participate

This juried program gives five artists from the Portland area (Multnomah, Washington or Clackamas county residents) access to the Metro Central transfer station (the dump) to glean materials to use to create art. This year we are placing special attention on plastics and the impact they have on the environment and possibly human health. More information is available upon request.

Program Elements
  • Artists will have the opportunity to glean materials from Metro Central transfer station for five months.
  • Each artist will be required to create a minimum of ten pieces available for sale at the exhibition.
  • Each artist will be required to incorporate plastics into at least one piece.
  • Ninety-five percent of each piece must be created from materials gleaned from the transfer station.
  • Artists are required to sign an Artist Agreement and attend a safety training before gleaning.
  • Each Artist will be paid a $2,000 stipend upon the successful completion of the program.
  • Each Artist will receive 80% commission from the sale of their art at the 2015 exhibition at Disjecta Gallery.
Application Requirements

Go to for the application form and instructions. Application must be received no later than January 31, 2015. Applicants must be a resident of Multnomah, Washington or Clackamas counties.

2015 Program Dates
January 1Artist applications first accepted
January 31Deadline for artist applications
February 12Jury Committee selects eight artists to be interviewed
February 19Interview panel selects five finalists
March 1Artists begin gleaning after safety training
August 14Exhibition opening
August 14 to Sept 6Exhibition dates


Contact Amy Wilson at or (503) 278-0725.

2014 GLEANers

These local artists gleaned materials from the Metro Central Station for six months and created art that was shown in a public exhibition at Disjecta Gallery in August 2014.

August 8 - 31, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, August 8, 2014, 6 pm - 9 pm
Location: Disjecta - 8371 N. Interstate Ave., Portland, OR - 503.286.9449
Gallery Hours: 12 - 6 pm, Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Glean Exhibition

Sarah BernsteinSarah Bernstein

Sarah is a mixed-media artist who works predominantly with collaged materials and found imagery in order to create narrative-based pieces that explore human archetypes, frameworks and traditions of storytelling, and the relationship between word and image. She sees landfills as truly modern mythical landscapes where our waste system exists as a direct expression of what we, as a society, wish to abandon, release or forget.

She received her BFA in Printmaking from Washington University in St. Louis and has participated in several group exhibitions and one solo exhibition since 2005. She is proposing to create a series of bas-relief sculptures that investigate contemporary female identity evidenced within our waste stream by gleaning materials that have been obviously manufactured for, tangibly used by, or symbolically representative of women.
Francesca BerriniFrancesca Berrini

Francesa is a mixed media artist who enjoys working in found materials as a way to celebrate that which is already on its way to being forgotten by diverting the discards of our community back into the transformative spotlight of artistic endeavor. Her work is primarily focused on collage but she also creates 3-dimensional pieces.

She received a BFA in Furniture Design from the Rhode Island School of Design and has participated in numerous group and solo shows since 2003. She proposes to glean the following materials: plastics and other flexible materials that can be transformed with hand tools into wearable art; paper fabrics and flat materials that can be transformed into two-dimensional collage works; and metal and wood that has the potential to be transformed into durable outdoor art or furniture.
Alyssa KailAlyssa Kail

Alyssa is a mixed-media sculptor interested in the distortion of perspective and visual perception. She utilizes sculpture, installation, and photography to create optical phenomenon to alter our perception of value of the oft-not-considered everyday experiences. She is currently a student in the PNCA/OCAC Applied Craft & Design program and will graduate in May. She has participated in approximately a dozen group shows since 2010 and proposes to create a series of sculptures that may include small light box style mechanisms to illuminate abstracted photographic images.
Michelle LiccardoMichelle Liccardo

Michelle is a sculptor and painter who works primarily with plaster, wood, paper, mixed media and found objects. She teaches Painting at PCC and 3-dimensional Design at PSU. She received her MFA in Contemporary Studio Practice 2010 from PSU and has participated in several group exhibitions (including one at Disjecta’s Vestibule space) and 4 solo exhibitions since 2008

She proposes to create a body of work based on drawings she has made from broken vessels interspersed with stacked rocks that created “precarious totems” which she likens to relics found in an underwater archaeological dig.
Whitney NyeWhitney Nye

Whitney is a visual artist who works in different media with a thematic approach of examining patterns of repetition and the rhythms and pauses of the natural and industrial worlds. She received her BA in Studio Arts from the University of Oregon in 1989 after which she was awarded a Fellowship with Penland School in North Carolina, a Residency at OCAC and was an Artist-in-Residence with Bullseye Glass.

Her work is in the collections of over a dozen major institutions, including OHSU and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum in Eugene. She is represented by the Laura Russo Gallery. She has participated in over a dozen group and solo shows including a recent exhibition at the Portland International Airport.

She proposes creating a new body of work predominantly with wood, and is excited to share about the program, seeing it as a great opportunity for people to learn more about the amount of waste we produce and the vast potential for re-use.