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Turning Trash Into Treasure
August 5 - September 3, 2022
Cityscape Community ArtSpace
Opening Reception: August 4 | 7-9pm

The Sea to Sky Arts Councils in partnership with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans and Return-It presented: ‘Diving In: The Art of Cleaning Lakes and Oceans’

Through an environmental art campaign, local artists partnered with divers, schools and community groups to raise awareness about waste.  North Van Arts is excited to be part of The Sea to Sky Arts Council Alliance which has partnered with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans, Return-It and local artists in the creation of the Lower Mainland’s first-ever traveling environmental art exhibition, ‘Turning Trash Into Treasure’.

Eleven artists from North Vancouver to Pemberton were selected to represent their local arts councils and create unique pieces of art from a range of objects recovered through clean-up dives at local lakes and ocean sites. Their creativity and ingenuity turned what would otherwise be trash into treasure – giving the waste a second life.

“The arts can provide a new outlook, encourage conversation and reflection, and inspire action, say Nancy Cottingham Powell, Executive Director of North Van Arts.

Artists were given objects like beverage cans, sunglasses, golf balls, vape cartridges, plastic oars and more that was collected from our oceans. And from these everyday objects, abstract, surreal, and representational artwork was created. It’s a wonderful way to talk about the waste in our water, and what we can do to protect our oceans and waterways.” North Van Arts will exhibit all the traveling artworks from artists like from Cori Creed, Monica Gewurz, Michael Binkley & Olivia Richardson, to name but a few. Using found discarded aluminum cans and shotgun shells, Cori Creed’s artwork “Today’s Catch” is an abstraction of organic and inorganic elements that is meant to illustrate the melding of healthy aquatic life with the refuse that we are creating and disposing of irresponsibly.

“The majority of plastics and debris that end up in our waterways come from land. While most people do not throw garbage into oceans and lakes directly, too much of it finds its way there eventually. We need to make better choices when we buy packaged products and follow local guidelines to ensure the garbage is disposed of or recycled appropriately,” Cori Creed, says in an artist statement.

There were 7 stops on the tour:

  • Squamish Art Show:-April 1 – April 30
  • West Vancouver Art Show: May 4 – May 28
  • Whistler Art Show: June 1 – June 29
  • Lions Bay Art Show (online): July 1 – July 30
  • North Vancouver Art Show: Aug 4 – Sept 3
  • Bowen Island Art Show: Oct 20 – Nov 5
  • Pemberton Art Show: Nov 9 – Dec 9

The hope is that the art and the message will reach British Columbians through storytelling – creating awareness and changing consumer behavior to responsibly manage their waste.


“It’s been exciting to work alongside like-minded organizations this past year that share our commitment to positive action,” said John Nixon, Interim President and CEO of Return-It. “This initiative has helped further our goal of educating British Columbians on the importance of protecting our environment and the impact discarded materials have on our oceans and waterways. We are fortunate to have accessible and convenient methods to recycle in B.C. and hope this awareness campaign will reduce the amount of material that ends up in our oceans and waterways.”

“Our waterways are precious, and every pollutant that goes into our water has the potential to cause problems,” said Henry Wang, Founder of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans. “Since 2013, we have completed over 175 cleanup dives, removing nearly 47,000 pounds of trash from our oceans and lakes.”

If you would like to view the artwork as it tours through your community, or find out how you can support Diving In: The Art of Cleaning Lakes and Oceans, check out @DivingInBC on Instagram or Facebook, or visit DivingInBC.com for the full tour schedule.

The Artists
Arne Gutman, Cary Lopes, Cath Hughes, Cori Creed, Joe Sauve, Karen Yaremkewich, Liz Nankin, Michael Binkley & Olivia Richardson, Monica Gewurz, Paulo Lopes, Sarah Haxby

The Auction
All proceeds will go towards our artists and film. Please bid on auction items, give a cash donation, or simply share the auction on your social media using the hashtag, #Divinginbc and tagging @divinginbc.

About Diving In: the Art of Cleaning Oceans & Lakes
Diving In: The Art of Cleaning Lakes and Oceans is an environmental art campaign that aims to raise awareness of the waste in our lakes and oceans by transforming collected trash into beautiful art. The campaign will be run in collaboration by the Sea to Sky Arts Council Alliance (Pemberton Arts Council, Arts Whistler, the Squamish Arts Council, Lions Bay Arts, The Hearth Arts on Bowen), West Vancouver Arts Council, and North Van Arts. The art council collective will be working with volunteer divers from Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans (DCLO), Return It, local artists, and school groups.

About Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans (DCLO)
To date, Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans has conducted over 175 cleanup dives and has collected nearly 47,000 pounds of trash. Shoreline cleanups have brought together groups of volunteers to help keep our waters clean. The group is active and dives in multiple locations in BC, both in salt and freshwater.

About Return-It  
Return-It is an industry owned, not-for-profit, product stewardship agency with beverage container management as its core business. Its mandate is to develop, manage and improve systems to recover used beverage packaging and end-of-life products from consumers to ensure they are properly recycled and diverted from the natural environment. This work includes the development and implementation of initiatives that provide new solutions to reduce waste. Return-It is also a founding member of the Canada Plastics Pact and has made a global commitment through the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to help eliminate plastic pollution at the source. In 2021, Return-It broadened its commitment to sustainability by announcing its social purpose, which is aimed at creating a better future for people, communities and the planet: We exist to foster a world where nothing is waste. Visit Return-It.ca for more information.

Thank you to all Sponsors: