March 25, 2016
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Free exhibition is partnership of Gerdau, Dogwood Arts and UT Sculpture Program
Sculptures created by eight University of Tennessee art students that incorporate materials provided by steel recycler Gerdau will be on public display April 1-17 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 1, at 10 a.m.
In February, Gerdau’s Knoxville steel mill opened its scrap yard to the students, along with John Powers, UT assistant professor of sculpture. The group selected more than two tons of discarded metal and steel, provided free of charge by Gerdau, and gained inspiration for new works of art.
“I am delighted that our students again have the opportunity to participate in this wonderful experience,” said Powers, who has worked with the project since 2014. “We appreciate Gerdau’s generosity and hospitality. The access and support they provide are key to this event’s success. The students’ creative juices are flowing, and they are eager to reveal their works to the public.”
The partnership always has resulted in new works of art, but 2015 was the first time it culminated in a public art exhibition. The Knoxville Convention Center remains an enthusiastic supporter of the project.
“We are happy to continue hosting the exhibition because it is 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 six years, welcomes the opportunity to provide the students both raw materials and artistic inspiration.
“Recycling discarded scrap into brand new steel is what we do every day,” said Johnny Miller, vice president and general manager of Gerdau’s Knoxville steel mill. “We enjoy seeing discarded steel through the students’ eyes as they transform it into impressive works of art.”
Dogwood Arts Executive Director Tom Cervone 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,” Cervone 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 addition to Dogwood Arts.”
Participating UT students include Shane Coe, Will Evers, Brian Hoppers, Erica Mendoza, Marisa Mitchell, Patty Tinsley, Charlie Waddle and Anna Weible.
“Most people don’t realize how ‘green’ our business really is,” Miller said. “This project provides an excellent opportunity to support the arts, celebrate National Recycling Month and educate the public about our business.”
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.
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/northamerica.