Public Art on the Cheap: Providence's Custom Metal Trashcans

In Providence, Rhode Island, local craftsmen are turning trashcans into art. The metal bins are custom-worked with designs celebrating local businesses and more general themes.

The experiment may hold a lesson for other municipalities.  “The idea is an ingenuous one for any cash-strapped city,” Emily Badger writes.  “Don’t have a budget for more-traditional art?  There’s probably money for it somewhere.”

The Providence program is an initiative of The Steel Yard, an industrial arts nonprofit. Since its founding in 2001, the organization has transformed its headquarters, the former site of an ornamental metal fabricator, into a center for industrial arts education and practice.  Its clients include Providence’s Downtown Improvement District, which purchased 120 custom-made trashcans for the city’s sidewalks.

Full Story: The Case for Trash Cans as Art


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