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One Man's Junk Is...

This year marked the 45th anniversary of Commercial Metals Company’s annual “Scrap Can Be Beautiful” contest and exhibit. Since 1978, the company has partnered with Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, located in Dallas, Texas, where students in the 3D Design 2, Sculpture and AP3D Design classes create art sculptures out of scrap metal donated to the school from one of our local recycling yards in the Dallas area.

Each year, the artwork is judged by a professional panel of artists and individuals who have worked in the arts field, some of whom have judged the contest for over 30 years. Sculptures are judged in ‘Tabletop’ and ‘Floor’ categories and the winning entries are then displayed in the corporate lobby of Commercial Metals Company for one year. 

Artist Jessica Bell, the sculpting and welding instructor at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, oversaw the students in creating their works of art, each piece being designed, sculpted and carefully welded by the student artists.

The 2023 judging panel was comprised of sculptural artists George Tobolowsky and Terri Stone along with Jed Morse, Chief Curator of the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, and Cheryl Vogel, Curator of Valley House Gallery and Sculpture Garden in Dallas.

Also judging was Gail Sachson, art educator, writer and founder of Ask Me About Art, Inspire Art Dallas and former Chair of the Dallas Cultural Affairs Commission and Patricia Meadows who has been in the Texas art community for over 40 years, who has been a state-wide juror, a curator, a co-founder of several art organizations, lecturer, and facilitator.

They were joined by artist and curator Maria Teresa Garcia-Pedroche who has directed and exhibited works in Texas, Mexico, and Spain and has served as curator and director of education programs at the SMU Meadows Museum; served as Head of Community Outreach at the Dallas Museum of Art; along with curating the inaugural exhibition at the Latino Cultural Center and exhibitions in the family space at the Center for Creative Connections. 

The judges awarded nine overall prizes this year across the ‘Tabletop’ and ‘Floor’ categories along with a ‘Best in Show’ award for the overall body of work created by a student. Students of the winning sculptures were awarded monetary prizes by Commercial Metals Company. Each student was also given the option to enter the pieces they wished to sell into a virtual silent auction where employees were allowed to bid and purchase pieces.  

For questions related to “Scrap Can Be Beautiful”, please contact contest and exhibit coordinator Susan Gerber at

Scrap art gallery

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