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The Art Barge reused in Artvoice

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Some folks who saw the canal barge model that occupied the Burchfield Penney main space gallery this summer may have had misgivings about spending so much money and materials on a construction that would be dismantled and demolished after a brief three-month life span. Sadly, the huge barge model was taken down last week. Happily, most of the construction materials--an amount of lumber and plywood and hardware and drywall that would be needed to build about a 20,000-square-foot house--are being substantially recycled, repurposed.

The PUSH Buffalo organization is taking most of it for a compost greenhouse in Silo City so they can compost through the winter. The composting operation has been going for about a year. PUSH greenhouse project manager Josh Smith said PUSH uses the compost—from all vegetable matter—in constructing and maintaining its vegetable gardens and rain gardens on the West Side. The rain gardens are part of a green infrastructure program to retain rain water to alleviate raw sewage discharges through the city’s combined sanitary and storm sewer system during heavy rain events. About twenty rain gardens, and three large community vegetable gardens, so far.

The compost greenhouse will be about 80 feet long by about 35 feet wide, and 16 feet high, with a roof of industrial grade transparent plastic material to keep the compost cooking by sunlight through the cold months.

The drywall will go to the Buffalo Maritime Center, which will use it to build office and work spaces in its old industrial facility in Riverside.

Dietrich Olivier Delrieu-Schulze (aka Ulysses), one of the eight artists on the art barge project said about 90 percent of the barge materials would be reused. He said the project budget was raised mainly from private donors, who he pointed out will now see their investments doubled.

The art barge is a multi-year project. The in-gallery barge model was phase one. Ultimately, the plan is to obtain use of an actual canal barge—one that floats—and load it with local art and voyage the canal and Hudson River to New York City and back, stopping at points along the way for folks to come on board and enjoy the art and music and whatever. The canal and river trip is scheduled for the summer of 2016.

Read more in Artvoice.