Dublin Villager

New DAC riverboxes pair geocache, trash

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The dedication of three new pieces of public art will combine International Geocaching Day and Dublin's Mike Utt River Cleanup Day on Aug. 16.

The Dublin Arts Council will dedicate three new riverboxes from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 16 on the grounds of the Dublin Municipal Building, 5200 Emerald Parkway.

Although the new riverboxes are in three riverside parks, Dublin Arts Council Executive Director David Guion said holding the event at the municipal building will keep finding the boxes part of the adventure.

Riverboxes are public artworks that combine the hobbies of letterboxing and geocaching, which gives clues and GPS coordinates to find a certain spot.

"I think a lot of us on staff have been overwhelmed with the amount of interest," Guion said of the public art effort that began in 2007. "There's a whole community of folks who are interested in geocaching and letterboxing. It's a whole community of people who want to experience the outdoors and find these caches."

The latest addition to the Dublin Arts Council's riverboxes also includes a partnership with the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio.

Guion said geocaching has become more sophisticated and hobbyists have added litter pickup to their travels; the arts council decided to follow the hobby's lead.

"We talked to (SWACO) and got a grant to create some kits," Guion said. "Riverboxes also deal with ecological issues and the environment in which they're located. We thought it made a lot of sense to bring it all together."

Kits with biodegradable trash bags have been installed in all 13 riverboxes around Dublin for the new Cache In Trash Out initiative.

The launch of the new litter cleanup initiative paired perfectly with the Dublin-run Mike Utt River Cleanup, Guion said.

"Everything coming together on the same day makes for a really strong event," he said.

Clues and GPS coordinates for the new riverboxes will be placed on the Dublin Arts Council website at dublinarts.org. Information will also be passed out at the Aug. 16 event, when the artists will be on hand to talk about their work.

The newest additions to the riverbox collection come from Bowling Green State University graduate student Julie LeBay with "The Nest" at the Kiwanis Riverway Park; "Caementum Charta"in Donegal Cliffs Park, crafted by Thomas Ansel of Ohio University - Chillicothe; and "The Riparian," installed on the Dublin Arts Center grounds at 7125 Riverside Drive by artist Nathan Mayfield of the University of Akron.

Participants are encouraged to find all 13 riverboxes, take photos and pick up trash to receive a numbered, trackable coin that can be placed in any cache to travel the world with other hobbyists. The coins can be tracked online, where many geocachers share information on their travels.

"It's such a great experience for these young artists to be able to create a piece of public art, and so great the public art can be interactive," Guion said. "Public art is usually static and people don't have multiple ways to respond to the work. This is an unusual opportunity for young artists. It's amazing that we can track this information and be involved with the people."

For more information on the Dublin Arts Council's new riverboxes or others in the collection, look online at riverboxes.org.

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