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Public Artwork | Arianna Richardson | Umbrella Projects

Updated: Oct 27, 2021

A green bench and trash can with colourful knit covers. The covers have an assortment of patterns, including zig zags and hearts. They are in front of a wooden gazebo.
Image credit: Arianna Richardson, Garbage Can Cozy and Park Bench Cozy, 2021, three-strand nylon twine and up-cycled plastic trash. Photo: Rachel Thornton

Umbrella Projects is pleased to present Garbage Can Cozy and Park Bench Cozy, a temporary public art installation by artist Arianna Richardson. Located in Bill Johnstone Memorial Park, the installation consists of a set of highly decorated, custom-made cozies designed for a Sackville park bench and garbage can. On display until the end of the summer, the cozies are constructed from three-strand nylon twine and up-cycled plastic trash using a vintage knitting machine and various hobby-craft techniques. Richardson is known for laborious works that push the boundaries of kitsch and maximalist overdecoration as a means of critiquing disposable consumer culture and processing climate anxiety. In describing her practice, she writes, “As a community-engaged installation and performance artist, I create playful and absurd situations in public spaces that people can encounter unexpectedly, wonder at, and engage with. I am always excited to have conversations with people about wastefulness and use-value and to encourage people to examine their personal relationship with material waste and consider their complicity in the system of mass-consumption that has overtaken our planet.”

Image credit: Arianna Richardson, Garbage Can Cozy and Park Bench Cozy, 2021, three-strand nylon twine and up-cycled plastic trash. Photo: Rachel Thornton

Arianna Richardson is a sculptor, performance artist, sewist, and mother from Lethbridge, Alberta, in Treaty 7 territory. She is a lifelong crafter and thrift-store enthusiast, constantly collecting plastic-based trash and discarded craft materials. Richardson often performs under the pseudonym The Hobbyist, employing hobby-craft techniques to work through an investigation of ubiquitous consumption, gendered labour, waste, excess, and spectacle.

Richardson holds a BFA (2013) in Studio Arts from the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, and an MFA (2018) from NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was awarded the Roloff Beny Photography Scholarship in 2012 and the Alberta Arts Graduate Scholarship in 2016. Her work has been exhibited across Canada and has been featured in several performance art publications, including the December 2018 issue of Performance Research, Emergency Index: An Annual Document of Performance Practice, Volumes 8 & 9, and the online publication of Watch Your Head.


Umbrella Projects is a year-long collaboration between Owens Art Gallery and Struts, designed to assist artists during COVID to realize projects outside of the confines of the gallery space.

Umbrella Projects gratefully acknowledges the support of John Murchie, the Rotary Club of Sackville, the Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation, Mount Allison University, the Canada Council for the Arts, the New Brunswick Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, and the Town of Sackville. We sincerely thank our staff, members, student interns, volunteers, and supporters in the community of Sackville and the broader Atlantic region.


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