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Sea to Sky artists turn trash into treasure

Art and environmental education project unveils next phase of Diving In: The Art of Cleaning Lakes and Oceans.

Local artists are diving in for the environment. 

The Sea to Sky Arts Council Alliance has partnered with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans, Return-It and local artists in the creation of a travelling environmental art campaign, called Diving In: The Art of Cleaning Lakes and Oceans.

Eleven artists from North Vancouver to Pemberton were chosen to represent their local arts councils and turn the trash collected by volunteer divers into treasured art pieces. 

This is the second phase of this year-long project. 

Squamish Arts Council artists transforming the trash to treasure are Karen Yaremkewich and Michael Binkley

Also involved in the project are members of the Pemberton Arts Council, Arts Whistler, Lions Bay Arts and The Hearth Arts on Bowen, West Vancouver Arts Council, and North Van Arts. 

Find the full list of artists involved online.

On Saturday, Dec. 11, at the Cheakamus Centre in Squamish, there was an event to mark the unveiling of the discarded materials the artists will create with.

“Our waterways are precious, and every pollutant that goes into our water has the potential to cause problems,” said Henry Wang, founder of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans, whose team conducted dives in waterways throughout the corridor to retrieve the trash artists will use. “Since 2013, we have completed over 150 cleanup dives, removing nearly 40,000 pounds of trash from our oceans and lakes.”

 Amy Liebenberg, project manager for Diving In, said in addition to taking garbage from the water where it does not belong, the aim of the project is to make people think about their impact in a new way. 

“We hope that the artwork made through this project educates and gives us all an impactful reminder about the importance of recycling responsibly and reducing waste," she said in the release. 

For the next few months, artists will work with the trash to create their works of art that will then tour galleries from North Vancouver to Pemberton. 

“The cultural richness and beauty of our natural environment is what attracts people from around the world to our region,” said Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott, in the release. “The importance of helping our waterways stay as clean and pristine as possible cannot be understated." 

 Return-It is a sponsor of the dives and will be funding the art tour. 

 “This initiative increases attention on the impact of discarded materials in our oceans and waterways. We are fortunate to have many ways to properly recycle in B.C. and there is no reason for material to end up in our ocean and waterways,” said Allen Langdon, president and CEO of Return-It, in the release

Get more information about the project by going to: Diving In: The Art of Cleaning Lakes and Oceans, @DivingInBC on Instagram or Facebook.