Winner of The Hangout Public Art Competition, Agnes Scott’s BK Hart

Last spring the Office of Sustainability partnered with Professor Nell Ruby’s sculpture class to create sculptures out of recycled material. One of those students was Belinda Hart who was chosen as the winner of the Hangout in Gulf Shores Public Art Competition!  

Visit Belinda’s blog here:

Check out the press release and picture below:

Photo Credit:  Victoria Campbell

B.K. Hart:  Winner of Hangout Public Art Competition

In fall 2011 The Hangout, in association with the Coastal Arts Center at
Orange Beach (formerly Orange Beach Arts Center), sponsored a public art
competition for visual arts students throughout the Southeast.  College and
university students were encouraged to focus on overall artistic quality,
conceptualization and innovative use of materials to create weather-friendly
large scale public art.   In February,  the $3000 stipend was awarded to
Agnes Scott studio arts major, Belinda Hart, for her proposal entitled “When
I Visit your Home” which uses upcycled milk jugs, soda cans, and other
discarded materials to create three dimensional images of marine life.

Hart is passionate about raising awareness of ‘the threat to ocean life and
creating a lasting connection for the viewer between common items of plastic
and refuse and the need to dispose of them responsibly.’  Her approach is
one of subtle aesthetics rather than ‘in your face activism’ and she has
learned to allow ‘the material to teach her about itself, what it can and
cannot do, and the scope of its possibility’ rather than trying ‘to force
the materials to become completely unrecognizable as trash’.

This sculpture will be her largest to date and has become the focus of one
of her senior classes.  Her past work explored these materials on a smaller
scale and the beauty she evokes from a simple plastic water bottle is
striking.  She states, “My goal is to draw the viewer in before they realize
they are seeing trash and allow them to have their own personal interaction
with each piece by suggesting possibilities they might relate to from their
own experience.”

Nell Ruby, Chair of the Art Department at Agnes Scott, is Hart’s major
professor and advisor.  She describes Hart and the Hangout Competition as
follows, “Sometimes you get a student who only needs a witness and
permission. Belinda is that kind of student. She’s got a good idea, a
disciplined work ethic, and energy a go-go. When students can incorporate
real life projects into their schooling, they get the best of all worlds:
support and recognition that what they are pursuing theoretically actually
pans out into practice.”

The Hangout’s support of the arts crosses the spectrum from schoolchildren
to rock stars.  The Hangout Public Art Competition, in its first year,
allows committed and passionate artist the opportunity to step out of the
university arena and onto a grand stage, motivating and energizing her to
expand the articulation of her creative vision.  In fact, just as Hart
allows the recyclable material teach her about its scope of possibility,
this competition allows her to examine the scope of her own possibilities.

"We think this is a wonderful opportunity for young artists with initiative.
As an annual competition, we envision this event (as well as the Emerging
Artists Exhibit) becoming highly competitive.  We are very fortunate to have
progressive minded businesses such as The Hangout who see the importance of
public/private art initiatives,”   says Juli Jordan, Visiting Artists and
Special Exhibits Administrator, Coastal Arts Center.

Last year The Hangout became the presenting sponsor of the third annual
Emerging Artists Exhibit at the Coastal Arts Center at Orange Beach allowing
the arts center to double the total monetary awards available to chosen
artists.  To learn more about the Coastal Arts Center and Belinda Hart’s
upcycling work visit <> or call 251.981.2787.  To learn more about The
Hangout visit the website at

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