Artists collect Milwaukee River rubbish for community mosaic

Trash, plastic and more trash fill the Milwaukee River. And one person's trash was one group's treasure on Saturday.

A group of artists took part in the Milwaukee Riverkeeper's cleanup on April 24. They were looking for something specific among the rubbish near 35th and Congress.

Artworks for Milwaukee and the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation collected 5,000 bottle caps for a youth community art project.

"We are picking up trash for our purposes we’re picking up bottle caps," said Lauren Zens, program manager with Artworks for Milwaukee. "We can collect a variety, there’s different sizes different colors."

The plastic caps will be used to create a mosaic sign at Green Tech Station -- a new environmental education space in Milwaukee.

Rendering of the bottle caps mosaic project (Courtesy: Artworks for Milwaukee)

Artworks for Milwaukee is a nonprofit that combines workforce development with engagement in the arts for teens.

"My goal is to be part of creating an art piece that will let people know what’s happening in our environment," said intern Vienne Woods Duchateau.

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"Even the smallest thing can make a change, whether that’s a bottle cap or just a group of interns having an idea and just coming together to make it happen," said lead artist assistant Perla Gonzalez.

The group hopes to unveil the mosaic in mid-August to coincide with the Green Tech Station's grand opening.

If you would like to help out with the project by donating any plastic lids or bottle caps, you can do so until June 1. The following locations will accept drop-offs of clean caps in a sealed bag or container:

  • North side: Century City Tower, 4201 N. 27th Street from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Bay View: Outpost Natural Foods, 2826 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue in the drop-off bin outside the store
  • Third ward: Marshal Building, 207 E. Buffalo Street #600 in the drop-off bin on the sixth floor

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to coordinate other arrangements for dropping off your caps, contact Sarah Bregant at 414-444-8200 (extension 8104) or via email at


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