GLEAN: to gather, collect bit by bit, or pick over in search of relevant material

GLEAN is accepting applications for the 2018 program from artists residing in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties.

GLEAN seeks to hear from artists with a broad range of experiences and cultural perspectives from the diverse communities in the Portland area.  To apply, go to and click on How To Apply.  Applications will be accepted January 1, 2017 with a deadline of January 31, 2018.

  2017 Glean Exhibition

2017 Glean Exhibition

GLEAN is a juried art program that taps into the creativity of artists from the Portland metro region to inspire people to think about their consumption habits, the waste this generates, and to reconsider the value of these resources.

In February of 2018, a jury of arts and environmental professionals will choose new artists to participate in the program.  The artists will have 5 months to glean materials from the Metro Central transfer station (aka, the "dump") from which to make their art.  Each artist will be required to make eight pieces and will receive a stipend of $2,000.  The program culminates in a formal exhibition in the fall.

GLEAN is a partnership between Recology, an employee-owned integrated resource recovery and recycling company; Metro, the regional government that manages the Portland area's garbage and recycling system, and crackedpots.

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What's a transfer station?

Up until the early 1990s, most regions around the country still had local “dumps” where the community’s waste was taken. Due to concerns about public health and the environment, as well as increasing regulations, most of these local landfills began to close.

As communities struggled to figure out what to do with their waste, large waste management companies began construction of “mega-landfills” in remote locations designed to accept waste from hundreds of miles away. This new system created a new challenge — how could waste picked up by small, local garbage trucks be transported over such long distances?

The solution was to build transfer stations where waste from local garbage haulers and citizens could be processed and reloaded onto long-haul trucks, freight trains and even barges, in some instances. The Portland region’s waste is trucked 150 miles to the 2,000-acre Columbia Ridge Landfill in eastern Oregon. While we can be very proud of our high diversion rate, we still send more than a million tons of waste to landfills each year. Ouch.