Upcycled Art in the Arb Contest

For high school and university student teams, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day

On display April 18 through May 2, 2020

It takes creativity to work with what we have – to repurpose the old into something new; to restore something that has no value to something of beauty and worth. That is the heart behind our contest Upcycled Art in the Arb, celebrating 50 years of Earth Day. 

Ready to register?  Click here.

Why an Upcycled Art contest?

As Earth Day reaches its milestone 50th anniversary in April 2020, nature and the environment are faced with enormous challenges from loss of biodiversity, pollution, degradation of our ecosystems, and climate change. Artists from around the world in every discipline are using the power of art to express our common humanity by telling the stories that personalize these challenges. Just like these global artists, we are harnessing the power of art and displaying it in Tyler Arboretum to heighten awareness, increase relevance in everyday lives, mobilize action and illuminate the pathway to change for our planet and hope for the future. We are giving high school and university student teams the opportunity to promote upcycling as a way to stimulate stewardship and an understanding of our living world.


Participants register as a team of high school or university students. The team can represent a class, a student club, athletic team, or a group of friends passionate about Planet Earth! Each team must have at least one faculty/staff member serve as a mentor for the team.

Each contest entry can take the form of a sculpture, relief, or mobile, and will be on display outdoors on grass in an 8 foot by 8 foot area. Note the ground may be uneven, and teams will not be allowed to dig holes in the ground or attach artwork to trees. Tyler Arboretum will have the final say in the location of the display on the property.

Entries must be suitable for the outdoors and therefore weather-safe, in addition to being composed of 100% recycled, reclaimed materials (new material in the form of paints, dyes, adhesives, canvas and mounting hardware are permitted). Entries must have no sharp edges and must be sturdy.

Entries must be suitable for general public viewing with no offensive language or images.

Participants acknowledge that Tyler Arboretum may photograph and/or reproduce images of the artwork in any manner, and the student teams retain no ownership rights to the photos or reproductions from that completed image.

Teams must follow the contest timeline and entry deadlines. Failure to meet a deadline may result in removal from contest participation. Teams are required to set up and take down their own displays within the published contest dates.


January 15 through February 22, 2020  — Teams register online to save a space in the contest. Registration information must contain team member names, team leader name and contact information, faculty/staff mentor name and contact information, and a brief description of the intended artwork design and materials to be used. Late team registration will only be allowed on a space-available basis.

February 22 through March 22, 2020  — Teams provide a final team member listing, a title for their piece, and a short description (between 300 and 500 words) describing their artwork and its connection to Planet Earth. This information will be printed on display signage and online.

April 16-17, 2020  — Installation takes place at Tyler Arboretum

Participants will be required to leave a $25 security deposit (check) when setting up the contest display. The check will be returned when the team comes back to pick up and remove their exhibit after the event concludes.

April 18 through May 2, 2020  — Artwork on display, judging will take place, People’s Choice Voting goes live

May 3, 2020  — Artwork must be removed from Tyler Arboretum

Awards will be announced upon the conclusion of the contest and are sponsored by a PepsiCo mini-grant to the Sustainovation Team at Penn State Brandywine.

Click here to register.  Initial applications MUST be in by February 22nd, 2020.

Questions?  Please contact:

Amy Mawby
Director of Public Programs
(610) 566-9134 ext. 301