Art

Miami Artist Cristina Serarols Is Turning Donated Plastic Straws Into Art

Cristina Serarols wants to give single-use plastics like straws new life as art.
Cristina Serarols wants to give single-use plastics like straws new life as art. Ocean Blue Project/Wikimedia Commons
Straws are not very popular in South Florida these days.

Miami Beach was a trendsetter in discouraging them back in 2012. In early 2019, Fort Lauderdale and Coral Gables banned them. A war on the sipping devices is now taking place at the state level, too.

So if you’re suddenly feeling guilty about that Costco-sized box of straws in your kitchen cabinet, or if you’re a business stuck with straws galore, what do you do?

You give them to local creative director and artist Cristina Serarols.

On April 6 and 7, as part of Maker Faire Miami at Miami Dade College’s Wolfson Campus, Serarols will handcraft a mixed-media piece made primarily of donated straws. She describes the work — the shape and size of which will be based on the donations she receives — as a mix of textures, straws, and paints.

“About a year ago, I bought a pack of straws... there had to be nearly a thousand,” she says. “They sat in my kitchen and as I became more environmentally conscious, I thought, I can’t just throw them away. And, I thought, There must be a lot of people, restaurants, and businesses that don’t know what to do either. So I figured donating them, taking a pledge to not use them, and creating art would be a perfect way for our community to come together."
click to enlarge The Last Straw artist Cristina Serarols. - CRISTINA SERAROLS
The Last Straw artist Cristina Serarols.
Cristina Serarols
Serarols has collected approximately 800 straws to date. She will accept straws and other single-use plastic donations (i.e. K-Cup Pods) on site at Maker Faire Miami. She also says she’s willing to personally coordinate larger donations with businesses prior to the Faire.

As for what she plans to do with the finished art piece, Serarols says, “I don’t have an arrangement just yet. I’d love for it to be displayed in or donated to a museum. I want to see what we create together as a community first.”

Regardless of the final product, Serarols hopes her campaign resonates with locals, especially the next time they have a drink out.

“Once you accept [a straw] or have it, it’s too late,” she says. “We have to be more aware. When you ask for a drink, it’s time we all say that we specifically don’t want a straw.”

The Last Straw at Maker Faire Miami. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, and Sunday, April 7, at Miami Dade College, Wolfson Campus, 300 NE Second Ave., Miami; thelaststraw.myportfolio.com. Tickets cost $7.50 to $20 via miami.makerfaire.com.
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Jesse Scott is a Fort Lauderdale-based contributor for Miami New Times covering culture, food, travel, and entertainment in South Florida and beyond. His work has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, and his hometown newspaper, the Free Lance-Star, among others.