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March 16, 2015

March 16, 2015

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Scott Bird
Moxley Carmichael
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Free showing is partnership of Gerdau, Dogwood Arts and UT Sculpture Program

Sculptures created by 11 University of Tennessee art students that incorporate materials provided by steel recycler Gerdau will be on public display April 3-19 at the Knoxville Convention Center.

“The Art of Recycling” sculpture exhibition celebrates April’s National Recycling Month and a partnership among Gerdau, Dogwood Arts and the University of Tennessee Sculpture Program. The sculptures will be unveiled in a public ceremony Friday, April 3, at 10 a.m.

In January, Gerdau’s Knoxville steel mill opened its scrapyard to the students, along with John Powers, UT assistant professor of sculpture. The group selected more than three tons of discarded metal and steel, provided free of charge by Gerdau, and gained inspiration for new works of art.

“This is a wonderful experience from top to bottom,” said Powers, who also oversaw the project in 2014. “Gerdau is incredibly accommodating. The access and support they provide is really a unique and amazing experience for us. The students are excited about the project and eager to reveal their works to the public.”

Though the partnership always has resulted in new works of art, 2015 is the first time it has culminated in a public art exhibition.

“When Gerdau approached us about hosting the exhibition, we saw it as a natural fit,” Mary Bogert, Knoxville Convention Center general manager, said. “Our facility is the first convention center in Tennessee to achieve Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification, so we have a strong interest in green practices. And this exhibition is a nice extension of our $1 million permanent art collection.”

Gerdau, which has partnered with Dogwood Arts for the past five years, welcomes the opportunity to provide the students both raw materials and artistic inspiration.

“We’re in the business of recycling discarded scrap into brand new steel, so our employees see a value in scrap that most people don’t think about,” Gerdau Vice President and General Manager John Miller said. “Similarly, these artists recognize an entirely different type of potential in our scrap piles. Seeing our steel recycled into art is always intriguing, and I look forward to seeing this year’s sculptures.”

Dogwood Arts Executive Director Lisa Duncan also is a strong advocate of the partnership and its benefits, including empowering and inspiring student artists.

“Part of our role at Dogwood Arts is to bring together businesses and artists to enrich our city’s culture,” Duncan said. “Gerdau’s continued support of our organization and the talents of the University of Tennessee sculpture department faculty and students make this exhibition a vibrant new addition to Dogwood Arts.”

Participating UT students include Rachel Byrd, Veronica Castle, Keelin Cavanaugh, Kylee Haynes, Dan Hood, Cameron Kite, Marisa Mitchell, Lauren Sanders, Paige Smith, Patricia Tinsley and Nicholas Tamas.

“Gerdau is excited to again have this opportunity to support the arts, celebrate National Recycling Month and share the message of how ‘green’ our business really is,” Miller said.

Around the world, Gerdau transforms millions of metric tons of scrap into steel every year. The company’s Knoxville mill recycles discarded steel into reinforcing bar, which is used to support concrete in new bridges, buildings and other structures.

About Gerdau

Gerdau is the leading producer of long steel in the Americas and one of the largest suppliers of special long steel in the world. It has over 45,000 employees and industrial operations in 14 countries with operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia, which together represent an installed capacity of over 25 million metric tons of steel per year. It is the largest recycler in Latin America and around the world it transforms millions of metric tons of scrap into steel every year. Gerdau is listed on the stock exchanges of São Paulo, New York, and Madrid and has around 140,000 shareholders.

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