The Art of Upcycling at Events

September 06, 2022

Today we’re talking about upcycled art, and why you should include it in your next event.  Upcycled displays are fun, eco-conscious activations that add buzz to your event while also diverting waste from the landfill. Events can be extremely wasteful, generating more waste per participant than the average person’s daily discards. On the other hand, art displays add beauty and meaning to your event while sparking conversation and giving you some good marketing.  Here are five reasons why upcycled art adds value to your event.

1. Create buzz: Upcycled art is unique and photogenic marketing. 

CLEANPOWER '21 exhibit by Utah Art Alliance

A display or exhibit is a statement piece that attendees will talk about, take pictures of and post and share on social media. Of course, you still have to spend some money to create a buzz-worthy display. But instead of paying corporate giants for ad space, you’re directly supporting local artists and artisans. Now that’s advertising you can feel great about!

Did you know? About one-third of an average dump is made up of packaging material!

2. Say something important: Who are you? What do you stand for?

All organizations have value statements on paper, and if you’re reading this, you probably have or are developing sustainability commitments. Upcycled art is one way to demonstrate your sustainability values in action, as it metaphorically represents the values of transformation and progress. Display your core values prominently and beautifully for your customers and partners.

Did you know? Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial fleet of airplanes every three months!

3. Grow your audience: Expand into new networks.

Upcycled art at EarthX Expo '22

If your piece winds up in an exhibition, public building or even (gasp!) museum, people will be exposed to the positive culture of your organization even outside of your event. They will associate your name with positive cultural influence, Earth stewardship and ingenuity. They might be drawn to learn more about you, use your services or attend your next event.

4. Leave an impression: Use excitement, nostalgia, concern and awe to leave an imprint.

Art impacts people in ways that panel discussions and networking events don’t. While those are certainly essential parts to events, you want to leave as much of a lingering impression on your visitors as possible. Art leaves an emotional impression, which makes it personal and relatable. Research has shown that memory associated with emotion is much stronger and easier to recall. If your art is in line with the content and values of your show, you will reinforce your message in multiple ways, creating a multi-faceted impact.

Did you know? The U.S. is the No. 1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person, per year!

5. Activate: Process is product.

To go even further, create the upcycled art as part of your event. Artists can assemble the piece during a floor show over several hours or days, while attendees are able to watch, document the process and talk with the artists. Alternatively, open a hands-on interactive station where visitors can make their own upcycled masterpieces. Both options give visitors memorable and in-depth engagement with the materials and process of transforming waste into beauty.

Guest Blogger:  Amanda Simons is a Sustainable Event Consultant and Principal at Honeycomb Strategies, a sustainability consulting firm specializing in the events, venue and hospitality industry. Specializing in sustainable business operations for tour operators and hotels, and in the event and trade show industry for more than 16 years, Simons focuses on identifying strategies and helping clients execute successful sustainable event management programs, implement sustainable destination management, lead industry research and analysis projects, and create benchmarking and corporate sustainability reporting programs.

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