GO Brooklyn: An Instrumental Role in Upcycling Cigar Boxes

NEW YORK—Everyone saves, reuses and displays old cigar boxes and coffee and cookie tins, because the vintage containers are great for storage and add character to interiors. Barry Rust recycles them too. He reinvents them, creating banjos and ukuleles out of the colorful containers featuring artful advertising and logos. For more than five years, Rust has been crafting the one-of-a-kind works through his Great Plains Handmade Instruments.

Apparently, making string instruments out of cigar boxes is a popular past time. Recently, Rust added violins to his repertoire.

Rust, who keeps a studio at Screwball Spaces in Red Hook, is one of hundreds of artists working throughout the Brooklyn who participated in the Brooklyn Museum’s GO Brooklyn open studios event over the weekend (Sept. 8 and 9). The community-curated project that will determine the artists chosen for a group exhibit at the museum in December.

Visit Rust’s GO Brooklyn page here.

Explore work by a selection of other artists at Screwball Spaces participating in GO Brooklyn here.

All photos © Arts Observer

Rust recently made this violin out of a cigar box.

Post Your Thoughts