Can It

This art is made for the trash — really

In an effort to kick litter to the curb, Putnam County’s “Keep Putnam Beautiful” campaign seeks local artists to create eye-catching designs on garbage cans scattered around the county. The idea is that the more-appealing bins will encourage carefree trash-tossers to improve their aim, keeping the sidewalks clean (and pretty whimsical-looking to boot). So far, the project’s seven artists have created 36 cans — and counting.

Putnam Valley freelance illustrator Regina Gelfer — whose résumé includes stints at Marvel, PepsiCo, and Archie Comics — is already working on her sixth can for the project. “It’s a good feeling to make art that’s also functional,” she says. “Plus, it helps create awareness to keep our area beautiful.” Gelfer’s designs reflect her spritely cartoon style: they depict everything from family picnics and famous Putnam landmarks to teeny, tidy elves. “I especially loved the one I made for our local 4-H because that’s so near and dear to my heart,” says the artist, a former club member herself. “I wanted to tap into all the fun parts of 4-H, to make it really bright and lively.” Despite her connection to the project, Gelfer admits the concept can be unsettling. “It’s kind of odd to see people throwing trash in your artwork,” she laughs. “But it’s great. It’s so nice to be a part of this project and give back to the community.”


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