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Global IMC Network

Beyond Recycling

October 21, 2015 by pegjohnston

Local resident Les Platt, who has extensive experience promoting  recycling and creating opportunities for re-use, is working with BU students to explore new possibilities for the Southern Tier and solve the unequal marketing problems for recycled materials and used products.  According to Platt, “The overall goal here is to get as many people as possible studying different aspects of recycling, the obstacles to them, and possible solutions. The ultimate goal is to create realistic cost effective jobs at all levels, from basic labor through management. In the process we will become acquainted with the hundreds of business and professional opportunities available.”

Recycling is, for the most part, very popular with the general public. The more convenient a project is the more cooperative people will be. However, municipal recycling projects are usually not very cost effective for a variety of reasons. Prices of selling recycled materials is variable due to global demands. The recycling infrastructure is inadequate for a variety of practical competitive reasons. Study groups need to understand these dynamics and find productive cost effective ways of addressing them.

For instance, there are many non-profit institutions who collect clothes, household goods and furniture as a source of income to help pay for their good works. What most people don't know is that a percentage of these donated materials go to landfills because the non-profit does not have markets for all of them or because they need repairs that the institution is not set up to deal with.

Most people are also unaware that there is a national and international multi billion dollar infrastructure set up to handle these goods and their constituent materials. One aspect of recycling that is seldom mentioned is that recycled materials displace demand for virgin materials.  Therefore there is a vested interest with virgin materials producers to resist using recycled materials. Recycled materials are underpriced in most cases.

By involving both students and community members, Platt says, “I believe we can do all this by studying recycling processes, materials systems, how their accumulated, and utilized. I believe we can create incentives for these studies by setting up recycling projects or interfacing with existing ones.  I also believe we can give the general public a vested interest in our activities by using fundraising mechanisms to accumulate recycled materials and create a labor force of at risk youth, ex offenders, and other marginalized people. We can adapt whatever incentives we discover to their needs and improve their chances in life.”

If you are interested in being part of this study effort, contact Les Platt at platt21@ or watch this space for events.

Photo: "Plastic is Forever" water fall made from plastic water bottles byt Peg Johnston and Shawna Stevenson.


Public Art Encourages Voting

October 18, 2015 by imc-editor

The Dept. of Public Art is using art and scraps of wood to remind people to vote Tues. Nov. 3rd. "We encourage civic engagement in our public art, so this is a natural extension to remind people of their civic duty," said Peg Johnston, one of the organizers of the volunteer group. The odd shaped pieces of wood, left over from Mural Fest 2015, were brightly painted and the words Vote Nov. 3rd inscribed. The DPA intends to use the signs on social media and as lawn signs, or wherever people want to display them. Anyone wishing to post one --or paint more-- please contact the DPA at

A public art group in Philadelphia paired art with voting in their "Next Stop: Democracy" project. They recruited 60 artists to create vibrant signs to mark polling stations, and to engage citizens in the voting process.

Their statement:  "Can public art increase voter engagement? This is a question that hasn’t been answered, so we’re getting Philadelphia’s best creatives together to help us find out. Election Day should be one of the most exciting days of the year, but to many people, it seems like a chore. Finding your polling place, finding the entrance, and waiting in line can be complicated and frustrating. Plus, the signage required by the city to identify a polling place is nothing more than a few pieces of paper taped up on the wall outside the door. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you wouldn’t give it a second glance. It doesn’t have to be this way! What if we could transform Election Day from something frustrating into something fun? Our idea is simple. Election Day should be an experience. Instead of boring, confusing signs, let’s use bright, vibrant artwork to identify our polling places. Can artists and performers make Election Day in Philadelphia a little more colorful? We vote yes!"

Less than 50% of voters turn out for elections, even in years where there is a Presidential race. On so called "off election cycles" the turnout is often even less, yet, local elections may affect individuals on many more levels.

Futuristic View of Binghamton's Downtown

October 14, 2015 by imc-editor

Air and Water: Clark and Thomson

October 10, 2015 by pegjohnston

Otter Creek by Aubrey Clark

This First Friday the Cooperative Gallery 213 will open an exhibit by Aubrey Clark and John Thomson titled: Air and Water. The exhibit, which will run from Nov. 6th to Nov. 28th  includes oil paintings, monotypes, and solar etchings by Aubrey and small sculptures by John. A reception, open to the public, will be held at the gallery on First Friday, November 6, from 6-9 pm.  The artists hope to lead a lively discussion on Third Thursday, November 19 at 7 pm about the challenges artists experience to create their work.

“My work in this exhibition was inspired by visits to Vermont, giving me time to see the movement and changes in the landscape, in particular Otter Creek,” said Aubrey Clark about her work. “I have continued to reflect on these experiences, to appreciate the visual ambiguity in nature, between earth and sky for instance. The work is elemental, moving past a single object or moment, suspending time.”

John Thomson talks about his art work, “I’ve had a lifelong intense interest in design, drawing, and structure, probably the result of designing and building hundreds of model airplanes and ships as a kid, and sailboats as an adult. I’ve been teaching design and drawing for forty years at Binghamton University. Recently I’ve been doing drawings and small sculpture expressing a lifelong interest in the natural world and more recently, digital imaging.”

The Cooperative Gallery, a popular stop on the First Friday Art Walk, located at 213 State Street in Binghamton, is open on Frist Friday 3- 9 pm and regularly Fridays from 3-6 and Saturdays from 12- 4 pm. Find us on Facebook at Cooperative Gallery 213 and sign up for our weekly e-newsletter on our website at or on our Facebook page.



Vote Smart New Tool for Democracy

October 1, 2015 by imc-editor

We have all had the thought that if people voted on the issues that are important to them, instead of gotcha games and bought elections, our democracy would be a lot stronger. Well, that reality is a little closer with Vote Smart a non partisan resources listing all federal and state candidates with their complete records in an easy to access database. It was completed by thousands of volunteers who combed records for every vote, position, speech, article, etc of every candidate. Amazing! Check it out:

Ignore the self-serving nonsense of this year's Presidential candidates with our awesome new interactive tool allowing citizens to find their perfect presidential match.
Simply state your position on an issue and watch to see which candidates agree with you. If you question the accuracy of their positions, just click on the candidates' yard signs and get into their factual record.
VoteEasy enables voters to do side-by-side comparisons of current presidential candidates on 13 national issues -- and then compare the politicians' stances with their own.
"Hundreds of students from across the nation have created this exciting tool that cuts to the facts, the truth, the reality of what these people are likely to do for you or to you if elected president" said Jamieson Bates, Vote Smart's National Director.
Vote Smart (formerly known as Project Vote Smart), founded by Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, is powered by more than 8,000 students and volunteers of both major parties, third parties and independents. It is the nation's premier non-partisan, citizen-driven organization devoted to voter education.

Blighted Building to Be Transformed into Aquarium Mural

September 21, 2015 by pegjohnston

 10/25 THE MURAL IS FINISHED, AND DETAILED...   and Beautiful!!  Go visit at 21 Jarvis St. and take a selfie and post on Facebook!  

DPA installed a panel on the third side of the building at 21 Jarvis St. The panel was created by the participants in a workshop by Susan Champeny the artist who designed and painted Cat Fishing.  It, and the entire mural, is being dedicated to Hailey, a young woman who worked on priming the mural and subsequently committed suicide.

 DPA volunteers also detailed the mural by putting up a black "skirting" under the mural and doing touch up painting. The building itself is in poor condition making it difficult to attach boards to it.

Visiting mural artist Susan Champeny is lending her artistic vision and techniques to the Dept. of Public Art’s efforts to improve blighted buildings in Binghamton. The building at 21 Jarvis St. has become an aquarium with bright fish, and even a playful cat. The mural was painted in one week and installed in two parts this weekend. Local artists painted  along with Susan  at the DPA studio in the basement of theCooperative Gallery 213 State St. Binghamton.

“We are delighted to contribute this vibrant mural to this neighborhood,” said Peg Johnston of the DPA. “There are a lot of children in this area and a lot of pedestrian as well as motorized traffic. And Susan has been a great resource for local artists.”

Susan Champeny works with municipalities, private clients, community health centers, and educational institutions to create murals, mosaics, and recycled materials sculpture. “My goal is to inspire wonder and surprise in the viewer by creating memorable images,” commented Susan Champeny. “I am delighted to improve this neighborhood with art and to tackle a whole house mural project.”

The fight-the-blight-with-art project has also placed a large scale mural on Chenango St. with 11 panels depicting a food theme. Another site is on Glenwood Ave. and two or three other property owners have given permission to place a mural on a boarded up site. This project is made possible with public funds from the Chenango Arts Council’s Decentralization Program, a re-grant program of the NYS Council on the Arts, with support from Governor Cuomo and the NYS Legislature. Additional support for Broome County provided by the Stewart W. & Willma C. Hoyt Foundation.

More information on Facebook page Dept. of Public Art

Clara and Mr. Tiffany (book discussion)

September 20, 2015 by pegjohnston

RE-SCHEDULED!!! Book Club is scheduled for noon on Sunday, November 8   at the Gallery. The Book is Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland. Please bring a dish to pass for lunch. We will have lunch before discussing the book.

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