Fall 2014
News Briefs

MGE solar cart energizes new Madison Public Library sculpture

MGE solar cart energizes new Madison Public Library sculpture

This summer, the MGE solar cart provided clean renewable energy for an artist who was creating a new sustainable sculpture at the Madison Meadow Ridge Branch Library. Victor Castro, Madison-based artist- in- residence, approached MGE with the idea of using the solar cart to create the sculpture from repurposed tetra pack cartons (empty and flattened soy milk cartons). The solar cart with its solar panels, battery storage system and DC/AC inverter provided the 120-volt electricity to operate a 1,000-watt heat gun. The heat gun was used to melt and fuse individual flat tetrapaks into 11 individual, pyramid-shaped sections. Each section contains between 150 to 200 individual tetrapak cartons that are meticulously positioned, heat-treated and seam-rolled with a wallpaper seamer to make a flat surface. Once cooled, each section weighs about 4 to 5 pounds.

This is the first repurposed indoor sculpture created using a mobile solar electric cart.

Victor Castro, aka tetraPAKMAN, is committed to both environmental and social change. Castro's unique, large-scale artwork is popping up all over the community. He exhibited recycled sculpture in collaboration with the Bubbler at Madison's Central Library, where he was the artist-in-residence earlier this year. His work was also recently displayed at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. His up-cycled pieces played elegantly with golden light that spilled from the magnificent building's second story windows.

Originally from Mexico, Castro studied art and education in both Spain and Peru before establishing roots in Madison, where he has lived for the past two years. His thought-provoking pieces, which Castro creates under his nonprofit organization, USgathering, facilitate his vision of art and people-powered change. For more information on Victor Castro and his work, follow him on Facebook and Twitter.