Salmon Jam: Dumpster painting is all part of the festivities

By Kara Johnson For The Cordova Times

Dumpsters become a canvas during the Copper River Salmon Jam for local artists to speak in paint about their favorite things. The next dumpster painting event is July 15.  Photo courtesy of Kara Johnson

All it takes is a walk down the street in Cordova, while out walking the dog, or heading to the store, to spot a cannery, a familiar mountain ridge, ice caves, forests, flowers, rivers, stormy seas and wild Alaska salmon.

These images and more are painted not on building walls, but on dumpsters by local artists, as part of the festivities of the Copper River Salmon Jam. It’s creative art in place of what might otherwise be a mundane green or rusty dumpster tucked away throughout Cordova.

The dumpster art is a cooperative effort of the city of Cordova and Cordova Arts & Pageants. The next dumpster painting event is slated for July 15, during this year’s Salmon Jam.

For the last four summers, the city has provided between four and five dumpsters to be painted at the Copper River Salmon Jam. Local artists take advantage of these large blank canvases to create cheerful murals that brighten up the corners of town. Sometimes a single artist will take on an entire dumpster. Sometimes there is a collaboration between young and old, and sometimes a different artist takes on each side. Residents are pleasantly surprised as they watch the painted scenes unfold. Some artists have thought long and hard about what to create on the dumpster canvas and have pictures to guide their inspiration. Others need only the canvas of a blank dumpster.

The result is that local artists get to showcase their work in a public space and brighten up Cordova on those long grey days of fall, winter and early spring. The painted dumpster program allows people of all artistic ability the chance to have their art displayed for the community, and bring a smile to the faces of those coming to put trash in those decorative dumpsters.

Interested in painting a dumpster? Contact Kara Johnson, hippychiquita@gmail.com