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Turn Trash into Treasure - Sustainable Waste 2 Art Prize

Published on 22 May 2017

The City of Ryde’s biggest art prize, the Sustainable Waste 2 Art Prize (SWAP), is on again and local artists, designers and innovators in the community are invited to create artworks and design objects made from used or recycled material that relate to sustainable living or waste themes.

City of Ryde Mayor, Clr Bill Pickering said: “Last year’s standard really set the bar high with close to 200 entries and 80 pieces selected for exhibition. We are excited to see what amazing talent and inspirational ideas will be unearthed for SWAP 2017.”

Now in its seventh year SWAP is an invitation to turn ‘trash into treasure’ with a prize pool of $4,550 on offer and five categories to choose from.

Council’s Senior Environment Coordinator Kylie McMahon said the aim of the art prize was education through creativity. “People come up with the most amazing concepts but there is also a serious message behind the art prize and that is to bring attention to the amount of trash we throw away.

“We want to address community education around consumption, and get people to think about how they consume, recycle and reuse,’’ she said.

In the lead up to the exhibition four workshops will be held focusing on a range of methods to turn plastic, rope, rags, paper and other materials into beautiful artworks. A focus will also be on functionality so skills will be taught to create useful items out of recyclable materials such as fruit bowls, baskets and planter pots, amongst others.

This year’s SWAP has an incredible line up of judges including Wendy Sharpe (Archibald Prize winner), Steven Alderton (Director of the National Arts School) and Jeff Angel (Director of The Environment Centre and Boomerang Alliance) which gives some idea of just how important SWAP has become in the art world.

2017 SWAP at a glance

  • 5 categories - conditions apply
  • $4,550 in prize money
  • 4 x Workshops during school holidays
  • Celebrity judges
  • Entries close Friday 4 August
  • Exhibition 7 – 20 September at See Street Gallery

Categories and Prizes

  • SWAP | Open Category (18 years+) Winner $1,800 / Second Prize $600
  • YEP – Youth Environment Prize | Youth Category (16 – 25 years) Winner $750 / Second Prize $250
  • Junior YEP | Younger Category (11 - 15 years) Winner $300 / Second Prize $100
  • Functionality Award | Winner $500 | Design object which best uses reclaimed material to form a functional piece – open to all categories
  • People’s Choice Award | Winner $250

July School Holiday Workshops

Council is holding a number of free creative workshops in the lead up to SWAP in July. Open to all members of the community.

  • July 5 - Plastic Alive
  • July 8 – Rope Work
  • July 12 – Plastic is the Bomb
  • July 15 – Rags to Art

Celebrity Judges

  • Steven Alderton | Director and Chief Executive of the National Arts School
  • Jeff Angel | Director of the Total Environment Centre and the Boomerang Alliance
  • Wendy Sharpe | Archibald Prize (1996) and Sulman Prize (1986) Winner

Sustainable Waste 2 Art Prize accepts entries from those who live and work in the Ryde area. Entries must include a sustainable living theme.

For applications, conditions of entry, workshop details and a full program visit

If you have enquiries regarding the exhibition and application process contact Ben Eadie on 0422 871 327 or


Media Contact: Lee Kirkland City of Ryde Media Officer p●99528083 m●0434306444 e●

Last updated on 23 May 2017