Atlas Recycled

An exhibit brought to UC through a partnership with artist Tom Tsuchiya and the College of Arts and Sciences 

Photo of Atlas sculpture from the hallway

Location: Blegen Library Lobby

2602 McMicken Circle, Cincinnati, OH

Get To Know The Exhibit:

Atlas is a 7-foot-tall sculpture depicting the mythical Greek titan Atlas bearing the earth on his shoulders. Atlas illustrates the impact of humans on the Earth, both symbolically and practically. 

Most who visit Atlas would never guess that this sculpture doubles as a recycling receptacle for aluminum cans and plastic bottles. Further inspection of the giant reveals that it is primarily constructed of recycled materials including pieces of 14 used atlases and road maps, which cover the entire surface of the sculpture. Most of the rigid foam, polymer and steel that form the structure were reused from the artist's previous sculpture creations.

The History:

Atlas was created for the Ecosculpt 2010 Exhibition on Fountain Square in Cincinnati. The open-air exhibition was held to raise awareness of ecological sculptures and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

Photo of Atlas sculpture outside

Atlas may have started in Cincinnati, but it is no stranger to travel having spent time in New York City's Grand Central Terminal in Vanderbilt Hall, ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Washington D.C.'s National Mall and a mix of other locations. The sculpture was even featured on the cover of the 2015 London International Youth Science Forum's programme.

The Artist: 

Headshot of Tom Tsuchiya wearing a suit

Atlas was created in 2010 by College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumnus Tom Tsuchiya (Classics, ’95) with help from his assistant Kendra Conklin. Tsuchiya is the recipient of the 2016 the College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award. He is best known for creating bronze sculptures, including the National Football League's Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award and the Cincinnati Reds statues at Great American Ball Park. His first major work was a larger-than-life-sized bronze of the D’Artagnan for Xavier University, unveiled in 2000 and he even designed the 52-foot sculpture of Jesus at Solid Rock Church just north of Cincinnati.

Exhibit Availability

This exhibit is free and open to the public. Blegen Library is open from 8:00 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. You can also view the exhibit between 10:00 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and 1:00 PM to 5 PM on Sunday.


Learn More: | | Atlas on Facebook


Atlas Recycled: Tom Tsuchiya's Eco Sculpture Encourages Recycling.


Wikipedia Article on Tom Tsuchiya