There was a time when we were all told to learn the three Rs.
And, despite the fact that two of them didn't actually begin with the letter R, we understood why they were important and why we learned them.
Today, however, in an increasingly crowded world where most things are in abundance and come with lots of packaging, there are three more Rs to add to our list: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
In fact, there are really four Rs if you include Repurpose.
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Though "repurpose" can mean many things, a wonderful example can be found at the fourth annual Waste to Wonder Art Exhibition, which opens this weekend.
Resource Depot's GalleRE will exhibit works of 21 artists using repurposed materials and items to make incredible two- and three-dimensional works of art.
The show, partially funded by the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, will have pieces that include everything from wallpaper samples, textile pieces and an old cello, to one work in which an artist took pieces of her own past works and transformed them into something new.
The artists were selected by their abilities to take these found objects and create something imaginative and beautiful with them.
Though the GalleRE officially opened in 2013 and hosts four shows per year, Resource Depot started in 1999 as a way to address the concerns about our hyper-consumerism and the waste that it generates — which can and usually does end up in our landfills.
With the mantra of "Turning Waste Into Wonder," and supported by the Children Services Council and the Solid Waste Authority, Resource Depot's goal has been to educate people about being more conscientious consumers and to stop waste before it happens.
In addition to educating local residents, Resource Depot regularly collects unwanted and excess materials including carpet squares, wallpaper sample books, tiles and tile samples, office supplies and craft materials such as buttons, ribbon, yarn or beads. The Depot redistributes these items to teachers, artists, families and other non-profits where they are transformed into works of wonder by creative artists with the help of encouraging teachers and mentors.
In addition to supporting arts and education, their mission keeps hundreds of thousands of pounds of reusable material out of our landfills.
There will be an opening reception for the exhibit from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday. The fourth annual Waste to Wonder Exhibition officially opens on Saturday.
There will also be a Family Workshop from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday conducted by Lisette Cedeno, and a Textile Art Adult Workshop from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 10. Both events will teach participants how to use repurposed materials in ways they may not have considered to make beautiful works. Registration is required for both workshops.
Fourth annual Waste to Wonder Exhibition
Where: GalleRE, Resource Depot, 2508 Florida Ave., West Palm Beach
When: Saturday through March 26, with opening reception 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday Depot hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.
Cost: Free, but donations are welcome
Eddie Ritz is a journalist for The Palm Beach Post, part of the USA Today Network. He has lived in the West Palm Beach area for more than 30 years and, from mild to wild, will cover noteworthy community happenings. He can be reached at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Waste to Wonder Exhibition art show in West Palm uses recycled material