Junk is transformed into art at 4th annual Community Art Project | SteamboatToday.com

Junk is transformed into art at 4th annual Community Art Project

Nicole Inglis

— There are pieces of Yampa Valley history just waiting to be discovered in the Home ReSource salvage yard in Milner.

Those items include decades-old skis with the names of their former owners emblazoned on them, appliances from houses and businesses long gone and a box of keys that once opened every door in the Thunderhead Lodge.

Those objects might not have a future if it wasn't for the annual Creative Community Art Project.

Local artist Paul Potyen took that box of brass keys and transformed them, after about 100 hours of work, into a hanging sculpture of a butterfly that flaps its wings and glints in the sun.

"To me, it's just a part of the sustainability thing," Potyen said. "It's just a great way to promote the whole idea of recycling."

And there's an aesthetic value, too: His brass butterfly project and the five other art pieces designed for this year's event will add a creative flair to the junkyard — an alternate perspective on the potential of trash.

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Dave Epstein, who runs the landfill that houses the Home ReSource yard, saved the Thunderhead Lodge keys specifically for someone to make a piece of art out of them.

"It's the fact that you can have something that otherwise would be scrap, and you can turn it into a really cool piece of art," he said.

The six sculptural pieces will be on display at an open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Home ReSource. During the fourth annual event, there will be hot dogs and an opportunity to peruse a variety of art projects that will make their home in the salvage yard from now on.

This year, Charlie Holthausen has entered his dragon car, a float that won the grand prize in the Fourth of July Parade this year.

Randy Salky made a 15-foot-tall "ski-pee" out of about 100 old skis bolted together.

Epstein's own children, ages 8 and 9, also built a piece that they came up with on their own. "Arch Enemy" is a giant, colorful archway made entirely of plastic: plastic bags, plastic tubing and plastic mannequins. Epstein said his kids have put almost 10 hours into the project so far, which Epstein thinks is representative of a generational shift in environmental thinking.

"I think kids now are really showing an interest in the environment," Epstein said. "And I think they know more about it than we do."

LuAnn Foty, who moved to Milner last winter, made an interactive Plinko board — like on "The Price is Right" — with her son, and visitors can drop a chip into the board and win discounts to Home ReSource to buy the recycled materials, sports equipment and appliances that fill the yard.

Foty said the salvage yard was a saving grace when she was remodeling her home: Every window, door and piece of weather stripping or wood that she found there was one less thing she had to buy new.

Johnny Walker, a local welding artist, wanders Home ReSource year-round looking for fodder for his whimsical and sometimes political sculptures.

For this year's Community Art Project, he made a piece about gun control out of a chain, a toy gun and a Barbie doll.

"It's a fun thing to do with junk," Walker said. "It's a fun way to recycle. It turns a junkyard into an art museum."

To reach Nicole Inglis call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com

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