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Fundraiser boasts bike art for wares

Photo courtesy of Kenneth Armstrong
Fourth Avenue bike shop Bicas will auction off artistic creations made from salvaged spare parts this weekend. The auction will go to benefit the Bicas organization, which functions as both a recycled bicycle cooperative and trade school.
By Holly Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 18, 2005
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UA students and Tucsonans will auction off bicycle parts transformed into furniture, jewelry, purses, lamps and art in downtown Tucson this weekend.

Bicas, a bicycle-recycling cooperative and trade school, is sponsoring its 10th annual bike art auction tomorrow and Sunday at the Flash Gallery, 310 E. Congress St.

The auction will feature live entertainment and more than 100 pieces of art made from bicycle parts, most of which are recycled, said Kenneth Armstrong, a member of Bicas.

"We get a lot of bikes that are broken down past repair," Armstrong said. "Instead of taking it all to the scrap yard we try to make as much out of it as we can."

The primary focus of Bicas is to

educate people about bike repair and how to obtain a bike, Armstrong said.

The organization sells refurbished bikes and offers weekly classes on bicycle maintenance and art classes using bike parts and other recycled materials.

Bicas is a nonprofit organization, and the auction is its biggest fundraiser of the year, Armstrong said.

The art generally sells for anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. Last year the auction raised about $5,000 and had a crowd of hundreds, and Bicas is hoping this year will be the same, Armstrong said.

The trashcans made from bike parts that adorn parts of North Fourth Avenue are examples of the Bicas art that revamps the local community.

Armstrong, who is studying

fashion design at Pima Community College, said this year's auction is a little different because it will feature a line of fashion accessories.

The organization has tried to make pieces that are more refined, Armstrong said.

"There's a lot of ways to recycle and we're looking into new ways to use things," he said.

Armstrong will have purses in the show that are made from a bike chain and fabric accentuated with bike gears. The purses are completely functional, he said.

Armstrong has also worked on a completely metal cigar-box type purse made from bike rims hammered flat.

The organization has 15 official members, but several volunteers help out with the auction and have their pieces in it, Armstrong said.

Shingo Masuda, a UA alumnus, is one such volunteer who said he's been helping out the organization for about six months.

"I'd been sitting on my couch and wanted to do something," Masuda said. "(Bicas is) a place that's inspirational, people come and end up staying."

Masuda said he didn't think he'd be very good at art, but said he took a class on bike art anyway.

He now has a couple of jewelry pieces in the show.

Christine Schneider, a studio arts junior, also took one of the Bicas art classes and collaborated with Armstrong on a piece in the auction.

"It was very different," Schneider said. "It was making art in a community setting with everyone there."

Schneider said the organization recently helped her get a cheap bike.

"It's a great organization," she said. "If I could, I'd go down and build bikes with them all day."

The auction will be from 6 p.m. to midnight tomorrow and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Proceeds will benefit Bicas and their community outreach efforts.

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