Along the Oregon coast is the little town of Bandon. It’s a sleepy little coastal town with a lighthouse, a famous rock, nearby tide pools and sand dunes. Summer tourism is its life blood. And tourists leave behind mounds and mounds of trash.
This problem was further exacerbated by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Although it took four years for the debris from Japan to reach the Oregon coast, it came. Rather than add the trash to landfills, a local artist was inspired. She had already begun transforming trash to art before the Tōhoku treasure trove. She and her crew have more trash than then can possible convert. It is her mission, through art, to educate the rest of us as to just how much plastic we throw into the ocean every day.
Angela Haseltine Pozzi is a trash beach comber with a purpose. She is a longtime art teacher who keeps busy converting the trash that washes up on her beach into art. The trash comes from distant places like Asia and Europe, as well as her southern neighbors in California and even the locals of Oregon. She began creating larger than life sculptures from the ocean’s regurgitated plastics. She founded a nonprofit Washed Ashore, to support the work, including a gallery in Bandon, and an extensive education and outreach program that travels nationwide.
While visiting Bandon, we were fortunate enough to be amazed by the art displayed in a vacant lot next to the gallery. Unfortunately, because of the recent global pandemic, the gallery itself was closed. Still, the sculptures in the lot were amazing. We found ourselves circling each piece, in awe of the trash to treasure creations.
If you should happen to find yourself in Bandon, Oregon be sure to visit Cranberry Sweets. Bandon is known as the Cranberry Capital of the West Coast. Cranberry Sweets serves up every treat imaginable, all made with cranberries. Don’t forget to at least get a few samples for the road. I promise, you’ll be back for more even if you aren’t a cranberry fan.