Fine Art Professor Justin Plakas is partnering with local nonprofit reuse center Community Forklift this holiday season to help raise funds for the group’s public outreach programs. During a yearlong artist residency as part of the collaborative PLAKOOKEE, Plakas created a series of graphics and photographs that will go on sale beginning this Friday, Nov. 25, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Community Forklift's Home Essentials program. The program provides free home repair supplies and other household essentials to families and individuals who qualify for need-based assistance.
It’s rare to come across an organization doing the work that Community Forklift is doing, Plakas said. “They teach classes, have sustainability workshops and they help fix the houses of people who can’t afford to have their houses fixed.”
Plakas and his partner in PLAKOOKEE, artist and George Mason professor Rachel Dubuque, were frequent shoppers at the nonprofit where they would often find materials for their projects. One day last winter they asked to set up a studio in the Community Forklift Warehouse in order to work alongside staff and customers.
“We’re involved in our community, and we wanted to figure out a way that we could make art that was true to who we are and still connect with our community,” Plakas said.
They created photographs and small installations from materials they found throughout the warehouse and are planning to compile the prints into a book that will also be sold to help benefit Community Forklift.