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Carls with Artistic Taste hosts art and food waste event

Carls with Artistic Taste (CAT), a recently formed student arts organization, hosted an event in  conjunction with Bon Appetit to bring together fine art and the environmental and social impacts of the food system last week.

After being chartered last term, CAT has set out to “facilitate more creativity on campus through events and education. We want to uplift artists by showcasing their artworks in art galleries while getting the wider community involved in the arts through fun art events,” according to Allison Tran ‘26. 

This collaboration with Bon Appetit fit perfectly into CAT’s mission, so together they hosted the “Art and Food Waste Event.” Tran described some of her ideas behind the event: “often we spend so little time thinking about the food waste we produce, but how would that change given the opportunity to reflect with an artistic outlet?” The day of the event, CAT members collected food waste from LDC and piled up pizza crust, chicken bones, orange and banana peels and other food waste to serve as inspiration for the attendees’ drawings. 

While attendees of the event worked on their food waste drawings, Elise Kulers, the Midwest Fellow for Bon Appetit, gave an educational presentation about Bon App’s efforts to reduce and divert waste from landfills at Carleton. Tran said they also engaged in discussion about “mindless consumerism and how easy it is to never consider the impacts of our waste, and how we can take action.”

Sophia Ying ‘26, a founding member of CAT, described the impact the event had on her: “The image of a huge bucket of the day’s lunch waste was very evocative… it really made me consider how many different dishes I really needed to try, knowing perfectly well I’d really only be able to finish one… It’s not just about showing people the quantity of food wasted at Carleton. We are here to capture the value and beauty in leftover food because it’s more than waste — this food has the potential to be enjoyed… This food means something. Let’s be mindful and appreciate it.”

Tran hopes everyone who attended the event, and those who didn’t, “take the opportunity in their busy lives to reflect on the environmental and social impacts of food systems through a creative outlet. Through our event, I hope we raised awareness and encouraged students to slow down and be mindful of the waste around them.”

The students who took part in the event will have the opportunity to submit their pieces to be showcased on campus. Between May 1 and 8, CAT will host an art exhibition in the LDC Gallery titled “Dear Earth,” which will not only feature works from the Food Waste Art event but also other student artwork surrounding environmental sustainability. Some of the works will also be showcased in the CHAT display at the Art Department and the CCCE’s upcoming Empty Bowls event. 

CAT has weekly meetings on Thursdays 5:30 in the Sayles Lounge. Please contact [email protected] with any inquiries regarding the club. 

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