Green expo supports local charities, artists

 

Artist Jeff Zischke's solar-powered display, set in the water surrounding the TCA facility where open mic nights are held, is part of the Green Revolution exhibit that will open Friday to coincide with the Green Business Expo on Saturday. (Photo by Yvonne Gonzalez)

Artist Jeff Zischke’s solar-powered display, set in the water surrounding the TCA facility where open mic nights are held, is part of the Green Revolution exhibit that will open Friday to coincide with the Green Business Expo on Saturday. (Photo by Yvonne Gonzalez)

Each pound of old shoes, clothes and all things fabric collected for recycling at Saturday’s Green Business Expo at the Tempe Center for the Arts will benefit programs supporting needy families and local artists.

ClothingCycle, a fabric recycling business in Chandler, will collect the donations and make a monetary contribution that will go toward the Tempe Community Action Agency and TCA’s Songwriters’ Showcase.

This year’s expo, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is set to coincide with the Green Revolution exhibit opening at TCA, said city of Tempe spokeswoman Kris Baxter.

“The expo is designed to help people incorporate into life the things they saw in the art exhibit,” she said.

The exhibit was first developed by Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry and is now distributed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

One of the displays, by Tempe-based architecture firm Architekton, shows the 700 pounds of coal needed to power a light bulb for one year. From there, the expo is meant to give people solutions, TCA manager Don Fassinger said.

“Let’s think about LED lighting, solar lighting, solar power – all these aspects of greening our world will be available (Saturday),” he said.

TCA’s facility and programs are supported through a dedicated sales tax, but Fassinger said that’s not the whole picture.

“The proceeds from the green expo supporting important programs like the showcase are helpful and encouraging,” he said.

Also at the exhibit will be an iPod, powered by a bicycle, playing music by artists who have performed at the showcase.

TCA’s Walk-in Wednesdays Open Mic Nights, another program that will benefit from the clothing donations made Saturday, helped preacher Gary Marsh get his start in music.

At 55 years old, he began writing songs. A year later, while he performed at his son’s wedding in front of the water fountain outside TCA, he saw a banner advertising open mic nights.

He soon became a Wednesday night regular and was invited to perform in the Songwriters’ Showcase after a year.

“It’s kind of changed my life,” Marsh said. “It’s about the only place you can go and have an audience listen and pay attention to you, not like a bar or something.”

Artist Tom Bertling, another Wednesday night regular, has been playing music for 30 years. He said performing for about two years of open mics at TCA made being selected for the showcase “sweeter.”

“I’ve been to a lot of open mics, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Bertling said. “It’s really worth it.”

Cottonwood Stone has been to almost every open mic since they began at TCA and, in 2009, she performed in the first Songwriters’ Showcase.

“(Open mic) provides a place for people – especially people who are new at performing, or don’t have enough music for a gig, or people who just want to come out and socialize – to have a place to play,” Stone said.

 

Reach the reporter at ymgonzal@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @ymgonzal