Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Can do

Idea of selling cans for art takes shape

Express Staff Writer

Hearing of Bob Wiederrick’s idea to cash in cans to help fund art in public places around Hailey, an anonymous man offered up his stash. The cans were loaded up on a southbound rig by Wiederrick, below, last Friday and the spoils will be given to the Hailey Arts Commission. Photo by David N. Seelig

Empty aluminum cans are being sought for conversion to cash to raise money for art installations around the valley.

Metal artisan/blacksmith Bob Wiederrick said the idea came to him as he bid goodbye to the delivery folks who regularly bring him materials from Twin Falls, and then leave with an empty truck. As a participant in the Hailey Arts Commission, he knew trying to secure nontaxpayer dollars to fund art was always a goal, but a difficult one.

"I called my supplier and they agreed to take a load down for me whenever my bin fills up," he said.

With aluminum selling for roughly 50 cents a pound, and people volunteering labor as needed, it's a nicely packaged fundraiser, he said.

"The money I make would go for murals and sculptures and whatever else the commission wants to support," he said.

Mark Johnstone, chair of the Hailey Arts Commission, wholeheartedly supports Wiederrick's ingenuity.

"I think Bob Wiederrick's idea of collecting cans to help fund public art is a perfect example of teaching community involvement to everyone and would also help enrich the creative climate of the city," Johnstone said. "What remains to be seen is the Arts Commission's decision on how to go forward with this proposal."

A little publicity, despite the possible government hangup, was enough to get Wiederrick a major deposit on his idea.

The first bin to ship south was overflowing with cans thanks to an anonymous donor who had been storing them and had no one to transport them. The truckload was taken to Twin Falls Friday afternoon. The total take for the cans is not yet known and Wiederrick hesitated to guesstimate weight because the cans were not flattened.

Wiederrick said flattened cans can be dropped off at his workspace in the Woodside Light Industrial Park at 4051 Glenbrook Drive or by calling 788-0018 to have them picked up.

"It's going to take a while to fill up again," he said. "And it was hard getting the word out because the city of Hailey thought there was a potential conflict with my collecting and selling them and their recycling agreement, but I'm not going to let that glitch stop me. I'm staying out of the bureaucratic mess. There's nothing to stop me from selling my cans and donating the money."

Wiederrick has art ready too. He created the bike that was seen in Ketchum Town Square this summer and is now sitting on Hailey's Main Street near the Little River Preschool.

Johnstone said he is confident they could work out any problems.

"It's a great project. Tell the story, get it out there," he said in a voicemail message left at the Express last week.

The Hailey Arts Commission's first installation of public art was November 2010 in Roberta McKercher Park with the dedication of "Timeless Portal" by Bellevue sculptor Mark Stasz.

For more information on the Hailey Arts Commission, visit

Jennifer Liebrum:

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