8th Annual Doodad Repurposed Sculpture Competition focuses on plasticsFree student workshops in February; display in March

To artists, everything has the potential to become an artistic medium, not just traditional materials of paint, canvas, or marble. The 8th Annual Doodad Repurposed Sculpture Competition was set up for just that: to show young, emerging artists K-12 that found materials are just as viable.
“We’re getting the students to think about single-use items differently because of what is going on right now with how much plastic we go through. They think about the importance of reuse, repurpose, conservation and the environment,” says Dana Warner, Executive Director of Interplay Space, former supervisor K-12 Arts Education for Hillsborough Public Schools, and Doodad Sculpture Competition co-coordinator.
As an artist herself, Warner has always held onto potential art materials. When Jack Wyatt and Kathy Durdin, the other co-coordinators of Doodads, came to her with plastic street light globes that were not being used by an assisted living facility, asking her if kids wanted to make art with them, Warner jumped on the opportunity. The first exhibition, “Illuminations,” was held in 2012 at the Horizon Bay at Hyde Park Retirement Community. This year, the competition will be staged at the Tampa International Airport.
“We thought this competition was going to be a one-off, but we considered what else we could repurpose, or other doodads to use. This year, we came up with snack wrappers and plastics for the material with the theme 'Treat for Your Feet,' but once we knew we were going show at the airport, we changed it to 'Shoes: Oh the Places You’ll Go' using Dr. Seuss’s book as inspiration,” Warner says. “It’s about what you’re going to do with your life, and the kinds of decisions you’ll make. The kids will have the choice of how they want to interpret the theme. A kindergartener might make shoes, and that’s great, but teachers can start to bring in deeper themes for older students.”
With a theme, the young artists have to do some research and come up with an artist statement for their sculpture. Open to any student in Hillsborough County in public, private, charter, and homeschool, the competition is not juried to get in: as long as the work can stand on its own, it will be exhibited at the airport’s newly renovated main terminal. Generous sponsors and a grant from Arts Council of Hillsborough County are providing the juried award money of $5,000 total. Awards will be split into categories of K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. 
“Parents and teachers see the value in this competition because it touches base with curriculum across the board from science to history to math and research,” Warner explains.
The delivery of works will be at TIA from March 13-14, but for those who might be deterred by this, volunteers will be working with parents and artists to bring their sculptures to the Main terminal without having to worry about the parking situation. The works will be exhibited March 16-26, with an awards reception on March 26.
For those who might not know where to start with their sculptures, Warner will be doing hands-on workshops at four different libraries starting Feb. 3-12 (schedule listed below) to go over methods of construction using plastic snack wrappers. Materials will be provided, but young artists can also bring their own to learn various techniques to weave, crochet, and collage plastics.
While the workshops are free and open to the public, students must be registered online. Click on the link and go to the specific library location, scroll down to events, and click on upcoming events to get to the calendar for that location. You can then click on the event on the date of the workshop to register.
“With these workshops, we’re trying to reach more into the community, we can just rely on public school teachers to do this. It’s just really hard, so we’re trying to reach more private schools and charter schools,” Warner says. “We’re still holding this competition because it’s fun, it’s getting students to think deeper to finding creative uses for materials, and set up as a competition.” 
Visit the Doodad of Tampa website to find out more about the competition and find the application. 
Schedule for upcoming workshops:

New Tampa Regional Library Meeting Room
10001 Cross Creek Blvd, Tampa, FL 33647
K-Grade 5 Session: 
Monday, Feb. 3 – 2-4:30 p.m.
Grades 6-12 Session:
Monday, Feb. 3 – 5-7:30 p.m.
C. Blythe Andrews Library Meeting Room 
2607 E Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Tampa, FL 33610
K- Grade 5 Session: 
Tuesday, Feb. 4 – 3-5:30 p.m.
Grades 6-12 Session:
Tuesday, Feb. 4 – 5:30-8 p.m.
Maureen Gauzza Library Meeting Room 
11211 Countryway Blvd, Tampa, FL 33626
K-Grade 5 Session: 
Wednesday, Feb. 5 – 3:30-6 p.m.
Grades 6-12 Session:
Thursday, Feb. 6 – 6-8:30 p.m.
SouthShore Regional Library Art Room 
15816 Beth Shields Way, Ruskin, FL 33573
K-Grade 5 Session: 
Wednesday, Feb. 12 – 3:30-6 p.m.
Grades 6-12 Session:
Wednesday, Feb. 12 – 6-8:30 p.m.
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Read more articles by Caitlin Albritton.

Caitlin Albritton is a freelance writer based in Tampa with a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and a MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. When she's not looking at art throughout town, she can be found making it. You can keep up with her visual art on Instagram @caitlinalbritton or on her website. Visit her recent line of inlay “wearable paintings.”