Wayland artist Dan Balter and Randolph artist Peter Vazquez approached the Wayland Board of Selectmen months ago about an art project of sorts at the .
Saturday, they saw that vision come into focus.
Saturday marked the first of what Balter and Vazquez, founders of FireSeed Arts, hope is a long-term and ever-evolving artist-in-residence program at the Wayland Transfer Station. The purpose of the program is to educate the public about and promote eco-art, which is art created from "trash" – everything from construction scraps to teabags to paper grocery sacks – that is high-quality and could be displayed in any business or home.
Jason Parris Fitz-Gerald joined Vazquez and Balter Saturday at the transfer station to serve as the first artist-in-residence. Fitz-Gerald creates paintings on canvases of plywood using paint and burning techniques. At the transfer station Saturday he sat in front of a large canvas reprint of one of his paintings.
"This is going to be huge," Fitz-Gerald said of the artist-in-residence program.
The idea of the program, Balter explained, is to show visitors to the transfer station the possible life that continues to live in their "trash."
"Not everything can be repurposed," Fitz-Gerald said. "We have to get people involved. Get them dirty -- get them to see what their own process is."
Even as Fitz-Gerald was saying "not everything can be repurposed," Vazquez was retrieving baskets, an espresso machine and more from the give-and-take pile.
"I didn't know the studio needed an espresso machine until now," Vazquez joked.
Fitz-Gerald said several people stopped by to talk with the artists on Saturday, most were just curious about the set up and wanted to know more.
Balter gave credit to town officials for embracing the idea and helping get the artist-in-residence program off the ground.
Next steps include possibly offering some eco-art classes and working with area businesses to sponsor eco-art projects that connect artists with people who enjoy their art.
The artist-in-residence program will continue next Saturday with Fitz-Gerald being in attendance again. He said if he finds a suitable piece of plywood by then, he will work on a new painting during the stint at the Wayland Transfer Station.