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MATTOON — Local Girl Scouts have left their recyclables at the Public Library, but they’re hoping someone else will buy them as art.

Members of eight Mattoon Girl Scout troops formed art projects out of recycled materials and donated the creations to the library for a silent auction to help fund this season’s “Movies in the Park.”

First-year troop leader Heather McFarland said she wanted the girls to work on a project that would help beyond their own boundaries.

“We were trying to get the girls more involved with the community with something that was neat and fun,” McFarland added.

The girls created things like decorative roses out of Diet Cherry Coke cans, murals from soda bottle caps and purses from holey jeans. The colorful creations were mostly made out of trash collected from the scouts’ and community members’ homes, McFarland said.

McFarland, an avid recycler, reached out to her Facebook friends and teachers at Riddle Elementary School for bottle caps and water bottles, while at home the girls started collecting their own supplies.

“I wanted to do something to get the girls thinking that not everything is trash; you can recycle almost anything,” she said. “So we used recyclables and turned them into art projects.”

More than 40 artworks are available for public viewing and on the auction block.

Mattoon Public Library Director Ryan Franklin said the projects have been popular since they were put on display Monday. The silent auction will run for two weeks.

“They wanted to do a community-wide project — something that wouldn’t just stay in the library or something specific but something for everyone,” Franklin said.

The goal is to fund the showing of Pixar’s “Wreck-It Ralph,” the season’s first movie on May 31.

“Movies in the Park” — which is co-sponsored by the Mattoon Arts Council, Lytle Park/Mattoon Township and the library — will begin its third season this summer.

Contact Zyskowski at or 217-238-6869.


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