By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Another beloved facet of the Palisades-Malibu YMCA Pumpkin Patch at Simon Meadow has returned in 2020: the Winding Way nature trail. And this year’s display features “Upcycling Cardboard.”
Winding Way was brought to life four years ago by Palisadian Tracey Price of American Growers, a local landscaping company, who partnered with longtime friends Dorothy Miyake and Cindy Simon.
The exhibit went into what was a previously unused and overgrown section of the meadow.
“We cleared out the debris and filled this area with colorful birdhouses, wooden bridges, stone walls and several seating areas, all shaded by native coast live oak trees,” Simon explained in a statement. “Each October, we create a public art installation within Winding Way for the enjoyment of families who visit the Pumpkin Patch.”
This year’s theme, “Upcycling Cardboard,” focuses on the “process of taking an item we normally consider trash and turning it into something of enjoyment or beauty.”
Over the course of two months at the end of last summer, neighbors and community members throughout Pacific Palisades, and as far away as Lake Tahoe, collected cardboard trash, which was then dropped off in Simon’s driveway. Items included cereal boxes, toothpaste boxes, popcorn boxes, and packaging of fruit drinks, soda and—what Simon noted as the most popular item—La Croix.
“Many were doubtful that their cracker box could be a piece of art,” Simon wrote. “Many also remarked how surprised they were in discovering how many household items were packaged in cardboard—often saying ‘over packed.’”
Simon shared that one neighbor told her that she didn’t eat anything from a box, so she couldn’t help. She soon realized she could contribute boxes from Kleenex, pizza, Tylenol, sugar, baking soda and more.
“After hundreds of boxes of all shapes and sizes were collected, we carefully ‘sliced and diced’ off the covers and randomly glued each one onto large cardboard panels, now displayed in the arbor section of Winding Way,” Simon explained. “From a distance, one is not sure what they are looking at when they approach the arbor. Has someone created an abstract painting full of shapes and color?
“Once they get closer, they realize it is not abstract at all, but ‘Wait … is that a toothpaste box? Is that a Cheerios box?’”
The creators of “Upcycling Cardboard” shared a message of thanks to Palisades-Malibu YMCA Executive Director Jim Kirtley, Director of YMCA Programming Oscar Rodriguez, and Dylan Prudente and Scout Troop 223 “for their hard work in creating a new path and small bridge.”
Matt Rodman and his daughter, Della, were thanked for securing the birdhouses in Winding Way and painting each one in a “fresh, new color.” Lorenzo Argueta painted and repaired furniture and pots in the area, including benches, picnic tables and a shed.
“We hope Winding Way inspires you to go home and have fun upcycling,” Simon concluded.
The Palisades-Malibu YMCA Pumpkin Patch is now open through the end of October—or until pumpkins sell out. The hours this year are Monday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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