This Re-Usable Life: Rich Art in Centralia, WA
In this episode of This Re-Usable Life, we visit an amazing installation created from castoffs by Richard Tracy, aka Rich Art, in Centralia, WA.
Ruby Re-Usable has been venturing the 1/2 hour south to Centralia many times since moving to Olympia in 1995, eventually taking a tour of Rich Art’s maze of sculptures and outdoor environments made from scrap lumber, styrofoam, miscellaneous metal, and other junk in June 2001. As an official Washington State Arts Commission artist-in-residence, Ruby was invited to be a teaching artist at an elementary school in Centralia for a week, working with the first graders to create recycled art dolls. While there, she encouraged the teachers to take the students on a field trip to Rich Art’s, which is within walking distance of the school, but the teachers were hesitant to take the kids to “that crazy man’s house.” My husband, who does not always appreciate Ms. Re-Usable’s unusual art-from-trash ways, would take a detour to avoid driving past Rich Art’s house, afraid that I might get some crazy ideas for our house … some folks just do not know how to appreciate this awesome artist and his overwhelmingly obsessive/creative work.
But some folks do:
In 2001, Vanessa Renwick created a documentary video about her visits to Rich Art’s. Roadside America reviews Rich Art’s visionary outsider art HERE
The Seattle Times quoted artist Richard Elliot about Rich Art: this is the “most important art site in the Northwest. ” Read the rest of this informative article HERE
Second-hand Sid and Ruby visited again this week, disappointed that Rich Art did not come out to greet them, but still thrilled just to admire what is visible from the street. More pics of Rich Art HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE but this is the kind of place that you just have to get out of your car and experience for yourself; pictures just don’t describe the feeling of being surrounded by the playful patterns and sometimes ominous creatures, all salvaged from the scrap heap and turned into a wonderland of reuse. Make Art Not Waste!
I’ve been by there. The first time, I got so excited I nearly drove off the street.
I encourage every artist I know to check it out, totally worth the trip to Centralia, but stay on the street! next time you are down south, give me a holler!