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Upcycling Artist-in-Residency

Rethinking Value & Waste through Creativity

Fall semester 2021 marked the the inaugural Spartan Upcycle x Art Lab Residency, an 8-week upcycling artist-in-residency program led by the MSU Broad Art Lab in partnership with SSRC's Spartan Upcycle program.

The Spartan Upcycle x Art Lab Residency will help tell the story of waste as a resource. Detroit-based artist, Megan Heeres, will use the Broad Art Lab as a gallery and studio while she works to creatively reuse and reimagine materials collected by the MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center​.

In addition to producing an original body of work, the artist is an active participant in the MSU Broad and Spartan Upcycle education programming. Art Lab visitors are invited to witness the artist’s process in the gallery and interact with them during open Art Lab hours. 

It culminates in an exhibition that aims to invite each of us to rethink our definitions of value and waste, challenge conventional thinking around the value of discarded items, and encourage us to see waste as a resource.​ The eight-week residency began in August 2021, and the exhibition was on view at the Art Lab.

Spartan Upcycle x Art Lab Residency: Megan Heeres is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Britta Urness, Art Lab Studio Educator. Support for this exhibition is provided by the Michigan State University Surplus Store & Recycling Center and The Graduate Hotel East Lansing.

Through Spartan Upcycle, we seek to encourage everyone to rethink our definitions of value and purpose, and ultimately discover a higher and better use for material that would otherwise be considered unwanted and/or waste. Heeres' installation is primarily composed of discarded materials and objects collected by SSRC, with additions from the campus brush pile, Heeres' flooded basement, and other unexpected places. Heeres' show is a beautiful example of what's possible when we step out of the box and reconfigure everyday materials and objects. 


Discovering the Discarded, a Conversation with Upcycling Artist Meg Heeres (Nov. 2021)

This talk is led by Megan Heeres, the sustainability-centered artist participating in the inaugural Spartan Upcycle x Art Lab Residency.

Heeres has created a exhibition made of materials sourced mostly through Spartan Upcycle, the creative reuse retail and education program of the MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center. For eight weeks, she reworked and reimaged the materials within the studio space at Broad Art Lab. Her resulting exhibition, titled Never Not Nature, is open to view now through Jan. 23, 2021 at the Broad Art Lab.

Heeres work intends to challenge conventional thinking around the value of discarded items, and supports SSRC's mission to manage MSU's waste as a resource through an integrated system of reuse, recycling, collaboration and education.