What do you do with a public art display when it comes down?

For New York City-based artist Amy Wilson, the answer to that question was recycle it… into something useful that she could sell.

Wilson was one artist of many participating in the Downtown Alliance’s Re:Construction public art program, which “[recast] construction sites as canvasses for innovative public art and architecture.” Her work, It Takes Time to Turn a Space Around, was located at West Thames Park, and consisted of a 130′ x 5′ digital print on vinyl of original watercolor (her primary medium).

The work came down on April 19th, and Wilson decided that huge sheet of vinyl could be put to good use. She started cutting up the vinyl, and is turning into totebags which she’s now selling. Wilson makes the bags by hand in her studio, and list new ones every Wednesday. Given the nature of the project, the products are strictly limited edition… she notes in the store copy “once they’re gone, they’re gone.”

Vinyl’s pretty nasty stuff in the environment, so Wilson’s got a great idea here for keeping it out of the landfill. Perhaps the next step involves getting projects like Re:Construction to avoid it all together.

Know of other artistic recycling projects like this? Share them… we’d love to hear about them.


  • Got materials of your own that you’d like to turn into something useful? Check out these upcycling ideas.
  • Need a bag? We’ve got a whole range of green totes made from a variety of sustainable materials.

Image credits: West Thames Park display by Katie Armstrong, courtesy of Amy Wilson; bag photo courtesy of Amy Wilson