Frisco showcases art with a conscience this weekend at the fourth annual Downtown Frisco Green Art Festival, where local and visiting artists from around the nation will congregate to display and discuss their eco-friendly and awareness-raising pieces. Last year, upwards of 20,000 visitors attended the free open air event, both to shop for artwork and to be a part of something bigger in the process.
"What makes my art green is the process by which each of my prints are assembled," said wine country photographer Bob Wyckoff, describing himself as a "serious amateur photographer with a passion for great wine." His work focuses on Northern Sonoma County, home to Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignons.
"I use an environmentally friendly framing process in which I fuse my prints to either 100 percent recycled wood fiber or recyclable aluminum. Each print is fused with a formaldehyde free adhesive," he said. The process eliminates the need for glass over the print.
"This eco-friendly framing process has inspired some of my fellow photographers to be mindful of the systems and components they use to assemble their work as well," said Wyckoff, whose work was well received at last year's festival. "My commitment to sustainability with minimal environmental impact adds to the beauty of my photography." If the wine country photos make you thirsty, the artist is also happy to suggest a bottle of wine from the region.
Jewelry artist Kate Baer lives off the grid in a straw bale house at the headwaters of the Buffalo National River in the Ozarks. Her nature-themed pieces, which often use fossils "as reminders of life's impermanence," are created with carefully chosen materials such as certified conflict-free diamonds and recycled silver.
"I think art is a great medium for changing consciousness because it affects people at a visceral level, which seems to really motivate action more than the facts and figures do," Baer said.
"I hope that my photos inspire and encourage respect for the environment and environmentally friendly practices so that these magnificent places can remain for future generations to enjoy," said local Frisco photographer Todd Powell, who incorporates numerous green practices into his work, including printing on acid-free, archival cotton or bamboo fiber paper, "made under strict guidelines for sustainable resources prohibiting the conversion of forests for industrial use and the use of hazardous chemicals in the manufacturing process." He uses 100 percent cotton-based matt boards to finish his work and now offers framing materials made from recycled wood waste in addition to reusing packing and shipping materials and other scraps.
"The new tools and techniques afforded by the changes in photography processes over the last decade ultimately are helping out in the greening of photography compared to when I began experimenting with photography in the 1970s," said Powell.
Last year, the artists were very happy to have an avenue through which to draw attention to their eco-friendly practices, show coordinator Helayne Stilling said. The festival is organized by Howard Alan Events, which also puts on Frisco's Main Street to the Rockies art festival in August.
South Dakota-based artist Gail Heilmann , who creates porcelain "pieces for serving food artistically," is a recent convert to the idea of green art. Her newest collection features reused silverware, to which she adds clay adornments. "You have inspired me," she told the show's promoters.
For more green art inspiration, check out the Downtown Frisco Green Art Festival this Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and pieces range from $25 earrings to $30,000 life-sized metal sculptures.