Trash to Treasure is SCC Art Class Theme

Before you think about throwing those plastic bottles out, take another look. One person’s trash may be another person’s treasure just as students in Sampson Community College’s ART 111 class are finding out this week.

The class is working on its final project which will culminate in a small art exhibit at the end of the semester. “The exhibit will primarily explore social commentary by turning well known works of Pop Artists into 3D works,” says Ria Westphal, Art instructor at SCC. “We will especially simulate the work an art studio may have to go through when given a commission that deals with a specific topic and specific materials. In other words, team work will be of the essence.”


Students use plastic bottles to replicate an Andy Warhol design. Left to right are Natividad Torres, Ana Triolo-Brydges, Erin Wells and Teresa Cruz.

The assignment directs students to imagine being an employee of an art and design studio. The students must collaborate by using critical thinking, problem solving, and imagination skills. There is limited time to reflect on the customer’s wishes, a limited budget, and provided materials. The idea is to make students question how many risks they are willing to take and how they will deal with setbacks to fulfill the order.

One section of the project is to turn Andy Warhol’s famous two-dimensional work Green Coca Cola Bottles into a three-dimensional work of art. This should result in a large assemblage using re- or upcycled plastic bottles. Another is designed to roughly resemble one of Alexander Calder’s kinetic sculptures. Students are given a hanging device along with a collection of empty medicine bottles to create a kinetic sculpture/mobile. The final section uses a large collection of recycled multicolored plastic bottle caps along with foam board to appear as a 3D version of the Ben-Day Dots printing process, named after illustrator and printer Benjamin Day. This dot technique is used in printing color in newspapers.

For more information about the projects or art classes at SCC, contact Ria Westphal at or 910.900.4092.