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Eco-friendly Art Practices

As we produce art, it’s important to be mindful of its impact on the environment. This page focuses on the intersection of art and the environment, including proper disposal practices and other information relating to sustainability and art. It will also feature artists and exhibits that focus on environmental themes.
— Mimi Guernica


Eco-Friendly Art Practices
Disposal/Recycling of Household Hazardous Materials vs. Regular Trash in the DMV


The major issues relating to eco-friendly practices for artists are:

  • The supplies you purchase
  • How you use them
  • Your disposal practices

When you buy art supplies, consider purchasing them from manufacturers that use green energy, limit their use of water, produce non-toxic paints, and use recycled products for manufacturing and packaging and shipping. Some distributors designate manufacturers that follow these practices on products listed on their websites. 

Using non-toxic art supplies is good for you and the environment. Adequate ventilation of your space is important to minimizing your exposure and protecting your health.  

Reduce, reuse, recycle are the operative principles for environmentally-sustainable practices related to waste and disposal. These principles apply throughout society and specifically to artists. 

Reduce is the best option because it means you’re introducing less waste into the environment by the choices you make. For example, you could choose to limit the amount of material you buy so you use only what you need. Extending the life of your paint also reduces waste.

Reuse means you are repurposing an item that is already in commerce. Examples include reusing canvases rather than buying new ones and using ‘found’ objects in your art. 

Recycle is third in the hierarchy. You are disposing of an item and placing it in the waste stream, but its components can be reused to make new products rather than extracting raw materials. This saves energy and lessens greenhouse gas emissions. 

If you paint with acrylics, it’s important to keep waste out of the water supply. Wipe brushes, palette knives, and other tools with a rag before rinsing them. Filter solids from the water you used to paint before pouring it down the drain. There are a variety of ways to do this ranging from simple things, like placing a drain screen over your sink, using a coffee filter to catch the solids, or cat litter to coagulate the wastes, to more complicated ones such as using the Golden Crash Kit system, a multi-step process. Two of the videos to which I’ve provided links lay out these methods in greater detail. 

I’ve also included a link for a video on eco-friendly painting with watercolor. 

If you use oil paints, filter the solids out of your solvents. Once they’ve fallen to the bottom, you can reuse the solvent.

Please see the links below for further information. 

Videos

Articles:

  • how-to-be-an-eco-friendly-artist
  • going-green-environmentally-friendly-studio-practices-artists
  • waste-disposal

  • Disposal/Recycling of Household Hazardous Materials vs. Regular Trash in the DMV

    As artists, it’s important to understand the difference between Household Hazardous Material and regular trash because how an item is categorized determines its proper management, disposal and recycling.

    What Are Household Hazardous Materials (HHM)?

    • HHM are products found in the home that are flammable, corrosive, poisonous or potentially hazardous.
    • HHM products typically found in the studio, workshop or garage contain hazardous ingredients that poses human health and environmental risks when managed improperly.

    Oil-based paints and related solvents are considered HHM because they are flammable. Generally, HHM are disposed of at your local jurisdiction’s processing facility and transfer station. Curbside pick-up is unavailable for these items.
    In contrast, most jurisdictions accept latex/water based paints in the regular trash provided they have been dried out.
    I’ve provided links to several DMV local jurisdictions below to enable you to check on specific requirements, as they differ from one another. Some jurisdictions, such as Montgomery County, MD and Arlington, VA, specifically address paint disposal/recycling whereas others don’t. That said, if you keep in mind the difference between HHM and regular trash, it should help you to determine how to properly manage and dispose of your materials.

    Resources Regarding Recycling/Disposal in the DMV

    Montgomery County, MD (Department of Environmental Protection)

    Prince George’s County, MD

    DC Department of General Services

    Arlington County, VA

Calendar by Activity

Monthly Member Challenges

  • Dec. 1-31 – “Optimism”
  • Jan. 1 -31, 2022 – “Weather or Not”
  • Feb. 1 – 28, 2022 – “I have a dream”
  • Juried Shows

    Frame of Mine Shows

    “New Members”

    • Submission – Oct. 10 – 24
    • E-mail confirmations – Oct. 26
    • Drop off and hanging at Frame of Mine – Oct. 30
    • Pick up at Frame of Mine – after 4 pm – Jan. 8, 2022

    Sunday Critique Groups at 4:00 pm

  • 2022 Jan. 9
  • Tuesday Critique Groups at 10:00 am

    • Dec. 14, Dec. 28
    • 2022 Jan. 11, Jan. 25

    Weekday Critique groups

    • Jan 6 10 am in person at CHAW
    • Jan 21 10 am on Zoom
    • Feb 3 10 am in person at CHAW
    • Feb 15 10 am on Zoom
    • Mar 3 10 am in person at CHAW
    • Mar 15 10 am on Zoom

    Other Shows

    “Cultivating Joy”

    • Notification of Acceptance – Aug. 2
    • Drop off accepted work at Dr. Halim’s office – Aug. 13
    • Arrange for pickup of artwork – Karen Van Allen coordinating – Jan. 7, 2022

    Open Call Exhibition: GALAXY

    The Capitol Hill Art League Presents its
    Tenth Annual Metro Open Juried Exhibition:
    GALAXY
    April 5 – April 30, 2021
    Online at www.caphillartleague.org

    Galaxy evokes images suggestive of cosmic vastness, emptiness, otherworldliness, outerworldliness, yet can represent an internal as well as an outer landscape. Submitting artists are invited to explore their artwork interpretations of Galaxy through their own personal process and any media, including photography. The exhibition is open to artists, 18 years and older, residing in the DC/VA/MD area, 2-D and 3-D.

    Download GALAXY Exhibition Prospectus (PDF)

    “Walk Among The Stars” – Painting by Mary Beth Gosselink

    Juror: April M. Rimpo
    Artist & Instructor from Dayton, MD
    April is an award winner artist who works with water media, most often in a combination of fluid acrylic and watercolor on 140lb watercolor paper where she “explores color and light to tell stories of life.” She has been studying and teaching art for over 40 years and is represented in galleries in Maryland, District of Columbia and New York, NY. Her work has been featured in several editions of North Light Books and magazines.

    Exhibit Managers
    CHAL Steering Committee Co-Chairs Anne Albright & Karen Van Allen (caphillartleagueofdc@gmail.com).

    Virtual Reception and Juror’s Remarks on Zoom
    April 9, 2021 at 6:00pm – Juror will make remarks, awards will be given and the winning exhibit artwork will be screen shared.

    Entry Process
    Entrants may submit digital images in the online process at Smarter Entry. To enter go to: https://client.smarterentry.com/chal and follow instructions. If you don’t already have an account with Smarter Entry, you will set one up as “First Time User.” Necessary information includes title, artist name, medium, dimensions, and price. Digital files for viewing should be JPEG format, saved at high resolution with the longest dimension being no more than 1200 pixels.

    Please name files using the following format:

    LastNameFirstName-TitleofArtwork-Entry#
    Example: SmithTom-Sunrise-1.jpg

    All work must be original and signed by the artist. Photographs and digital manipulations are considered original. All work must have been created within the last three years. Work previously juried into a CHAL exhibit may not be submitted. Previously non- accepted work may be submitted.

    Submission Opens: February 12, 2021
    Submission Closes: March 12, 2021 at midnight.

    Entry Fees
    Non-members may submit 3 entries for a non-refundable fee of $35.00
    CHAL members’ discounted fee is $25; a special discount code will be sent to our members for their discount. Up to two additional entries may be submitted at $5 each for members and non-members. Artists submitting 3-dimensional work may provide two images of each piece, front
    view and side view. Non-members are encouraged to join the Capitol Hill Art League by going online to: https://reg.chaw.org/chal/membership

    Accepted Work and Awards
    Our juror will select the final exhibitors from the Smarter Entry submissions and will consider the theme as part of the criteria for selection. The juror will also decide and award First, Second Third place plus (2) Honorable Mentions.  On or around March 29, 2021, an email will go out to all participants with the names of the juried exhibiting artists and the title of their artwork for the on-line show.  All awards will be presented at the opening virtual reception to be held Friday, April 9, 2021 beginning at 6:00pm.

    Capitol Hill Art League (CHAL) and Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) reserve the right to use various artwork images to promote this exhibit and other CHAL and/or CHAW events for up to a year from the date of the online show at no cost to CHAL and/or CHAW and will provide credit to the artist in the promotion material.

    Sales
    All 2-D art for sale should be priced as framed.  CHAL will provide an online venue for the show on the CHAL website at caphillartleague.org.  Interested buyers will contact the CHAL Steering Committee to purchase the art through Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW).  CHAW deducts a 25% commission on exhibition sales from the pre-tax sales price. The price submitted on the Smarter Entry registration online form will be the price presented at the time of the show for accepted work. Artists will be paid for their sale(s) through an electronic direct deposit system. Work that is not for sale must be marked NFS.  Artists will make arrangements with buyers for delivery or drop off of sold art work.

    About CHAL
    The Capitol Hill Art League (CHAL) is a program of the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. Located in the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, DC. 70 Artists/members from the DC- metro area exhibit and sell original artwork at CHAW and various venues in the DC region. CHAL/CHAW hosts lectures on art related topics, offers workshops, and strives to support this vibrant community of artists.

    Website: https://www.caphillartleague.org/
    Email: caphillartleagueofdc@gmail.com