Belpre in Bloom, Artsbridge team up for vinyl flower project

BELPRE — Volunteers with the Belpre in Bloom initiative on Tuesday planted 60 flowers made from recycled vinyl records as an Artsbridge project.

The group was from Artsbridge, Belpre in Bloom, the Belpre High School Art Club, the Belpre Area Community Development Foundation, Habitat for Humanity ReStore and the Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce, according to Amanda Stevens, Artsbridge executive director.

Art Club students used discarded vinyl records donated at ReStore and re-donated to the project to create the blooms, said art instructor Chad Stevens.

Students used the ReStore heat box to melt the vinyl to 130-160 degrees, setting the softened material on flower pots to form into a bloom shape. Some student hands-on work was needed to complete the transformation, Stevens said.

Students then spray painted the blooms, attaching them to metal rods with green leaves.

Belpre in Bloom representative Shirley Brown recommended planting locations within the Elephant Ear Garden at the top of Washington Boulevard in the frontage bordering Howes Grove Park. The flowers will stand among spring tulips and later among special elephant ear plants, which have leaves that can grow to 2-feet long.

Centered in the bed is a giant elephant, a metal structure lined with “pool noodles” to create the visible outline.

Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karen Waller, a member of the Artsbridge Board of Directors, suggested the project after seeing photos of similar gardens in other areas supplied by Leslie Pittenger, Belpre in Bloom coordinator. Pittenger was interested in the project from a beautification standpoint and from the recycling aspect.