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Trash to become Christmas treasure for exhibit

Corpus Christi artist Shelia Rogers, who raises awareness about pollution with her art, is collecting 3,500 green plastic bottles for a Christmas tree at the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, 8545 S. Staples St. Courtesy photo

Artist and recycling advocate seeks green bottles for 'Holly Days' tree

Corpus Christi residents: Internationally known environmental artist Shelia Rogers needs your empty, green plastic bottles. Rogers is collecting the bottles to build an 18-foot Christmas tree as part of the exhibit "Holly Days at the Gardens" at the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center.

The exhibit opens Nov. 25. The tree will be lit from within.

Instead of throwing green plastic bottles in the trash, deposit them in a box in front of the botanical gardens' visitor center, 8545 S. Staples St. Another drop-off location is 915 Furman Ave. in Corpus Christi. The boxes will be available daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Rogers needs a total of 3,500 bottles to complete her project.

“The heart of my work is environmental advocacy, seductively exposing the real and devastating effects of plastic pollution on the world's oceans,” she said. “The intent of my work is to raise awareness of this pressing consumer and environmental issue while motivating viewers toward a plastic-use reduction revolution.”

Rogers is known for her dynamic works of recycled plastic and other repurposed materials collected from beaches and waterfronts.

Another work by Rogers, "Chandelier," is comprised of 1,800 clear plastic bottles. It was first displayed in 2018 at the Corpus Christi International Airport and now is at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Rogers also created "Oceans of Plastic," a colorful work of plastic beach trash such as plastic lighters, multi-colored straws, bottle caps, and monofilament fishing line. It was exhibited at the Art Museum of South Texas from July-September 2014 as well as the Texas State Aquarium, the Art Center of Corpus Christi, and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station.

Her works also have been shown internationally.

Partial funding for the botanical gardens' exhibit comes from an $11,750 grant from the city of Corpus Christi's Arts & Cultural Commission.

“I believe art can be a very powerful way to bring attention to plastic’s pollution in the oceans,” Rogers said. “I’m just one of many creative people out there who are trying to find solutions to this problem.”

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