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One Man's Junk Is...

2020 marks the 42nd year that Commercial Metals Company has hosted the annual “Scrap Can Be Beautiful” contest and exhibit. Since 1978, this annual exhibit has partnered with Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts, located in Dallas, Texas, to feature metal art sculptures created by students in a sculpture class at the school. All scrap metal used in the various sculptures is donated to the school by Commercial Metals Company from one of our local recycling yards in the Dallas area.

The artwork is judged each year by a panel of professionals, comprised of artists and individuals who have worked in the arts field, some of whom have judged the contest for over 20 years. Sculptures are judged in ‘Tabletop’ and ‘Floor’ categories and the winning entries are then displayed in the Commercial Metals Company’s corporate lobby for one year. 

The 42nd annual “Scrap Can Be Beautiful” contest was held the week of January 13.  Jessica Bell, instructor for Visual Arts 3D Design/Sculpture and AP 3-D Design at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, oversaw the students in creating their works of art, each piece being designed, sculpted and carefully welded by the student artists.

The 2020 judging panel was comprised of: sculptural artists George Tobolowsky and Terri Stone; artist and curator Maria Teresa Garcia Pedroche, formerly of the Dallas Museum of Art; Patricia Meadows, co-founder of D’Art (Dallas Visual Arts Center) and the Emergency Artists Support League (EASL); Gail Sachson, founder of Ask Me About Art and Inspire Art Dallas and former Chair of the Dallas Cultural Affairs Commission. We were also honored this year to add a new judge to our panel, Kenneth Craighead. Kenneth is the gallery director and partner of the Craighead Green Gallery in the Design District of Dallas.

Eight winning pieces were selected this year; five in the ‘Tabletop’ and four in the ‘Floor’ category. Students of the winning sculptures were awarded ribbons and monetary prizes by Commercial Metals Company. Each student was also given the option to enter the pieces they wished to sell into a silent auction where employees were able to bid and purchase pieces.

For questions related to “Scrap Can Be Beautiful”, please contact contest and exhibit coordinator Susan Gerber at

Scrap art gallery

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