February 3, 2015
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Scrapyard provides inspiration, materials for April art exhibition
Student sculptors from the University of Tennessee surveyed piles of discarded steel at Gerdau’s Knoxville mill, selected pieces that inspired them and will turn the materials into tributes of artistic reuse.
“Recycling is what we do every day, but these students see these materials in a fresh new way,” said Johnny Miller, vice president and general manager of Gerdau’s Knoxville steel mill. “We look forward to seeing how these sculptors transform these raw materials into works of art.”
The project is a partnership between Gerdau and Dogwood Arts and will culminate in a public art exhibition at the Knoxville Convention Center in April that will celebrate both sculpture and National Recycling Month.
“Dogwood Arts believes in creating partnerships that cultivate new artists and art,” Dogwood Arts Executive Director Lisa Duncan said. “This project is an excellent way to support the arts and highlight the importance of recycling.”
On Jan. 31, the sculptors collectively selected from Gerdau’s scrapyard more than three tons of discarded metal and steel, which the company provides free to the students. Between now and the exhibition, they will work with John Powers, UT assistant professor of sculpture, to create works of art.
“Our students appreciate this hands-on opportunity to create and show their works,” Powers said. “We appreciate Gerdau’s generosity in providing raw materials for these new sculptures. I’m eager to see these students’ visions realized at the April exhibition.”
Participating students included Rachel Byrd, Veronica Castle, Keelin Cavanaugh, Kylee Haynes, Daniel Hood, Cameron Kite, Marisa Mitchell, Lauren Sanders, Joshua Shorey, Paige Smith, Patricia Tinsley and Nicholas Tamas.
Gerdau is the area’s largest recycler by weight. In 2013, the mill recycled more than 532,000 tons of discarded steel into reinforcing bar, which is used to support concrete in new bridges, buildings and other structures.
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.
For more information, visit http://www.gerdau.com/longsteel.