Salvaging Creativity owner Patrick Sells, left, and volunteer April Peacock of Manchester weld pieces Wednesday to a "bending template" that will
Salvaging Creativity owner Patrick Sells, left, and volunteer April Peacock of Manchester weld pieces Wednesday to a "bending template" that will help design a piece for the Litter Letter Project. Sells will be promoting the project Friday at George and Philadelphia streets during First Friday events. (Bill Kalina — bkalina@yorkdispatch.com)

A York County arts organization will launch a project this week that seeks to send a message through art.

With the help of a Louisiana graphic designer, the Cultural Alliance of York County is bringing the Litter Letter Project to York.

The project is the brainchild of Rachael Hatley, who collected litter from the streets of her Louisiana neighborhood and used it to build a one-word message to her community.

The idea has since spread to other states. York will be the first Pennsylvania community to use the concept.

The project creates 6-foot tall letters out of steel bars and chicken wire, then fills those letters with litter collected from the area.

"We do have an issue with litter in our area," said Kelley Gibson, director of communications and engagement for the alliance.

Gibson said the alliance found Hatley during their search for "someone who used their art to make a change" to serve as the keynote speaker at the Impact Arts and Culture Conference scheduled for June 27 at York College.

On Friday, the public will get its first chance to contribute to the project.

The Working Class makerspace, inside the Rudy Art Glass studio at 15 E. Philadelphia St., will host a "build and learn" event starting at 6 p.m.

Participants are invited to help construct the first letter in York's litter project word — CHANGE.


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The letters are made out of rebar — steel bars — and then wrapped in chicken wire.

"Anyone with a pair of gloves, from my 4-year-old all the way up, can help with that part," Gibson said.

The project will be completed in June and put on public display after a series of area litter cleanups, she said.

It will require about 120 large bags of litter to fill the letters.

For about two months, the project will sit at the intersection of South George Street and Rathton Road near York Hospital, Gibson said.

Then, the trash will be dumped and the letters passed on to schools and other organizations that want to collect more trash, fill the letters and put them on display.

— Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.