One man's trash is another man's treasure, or so goes the familiar phrase. It's also the premise of Ovation network's competition, in which two teams of artists vie to create gallery-worthy pieces out of garbage. Premiering on May 21, "One Man's Trash" shows what creative people can do with recycled refuse — with a lot of imagination and a little teamwork.

"The idea came from our internal development team. As we're perpetually looking to produce programming about 'unexpected art in unexpected places,' we constantly look for innovative ways in which artists are creating, including impactful and authentic movements in the art community," says Jason Black, Ovation’s vice president of original production. "This idea highlights an area of the arts that's bubbling up, and seems both exciting and compelling to all segments of our audience, whether they are die-hard art fans or viewers who are just beginning to cultivate their interest in the arts."

To find the six competitors, "We did not solicit applications, though we would consider doing so if we take this idea to series. Rather, we spent considerable time and effort researching Portland artists who we felt represented a cross-section of disciplines and styles. All the artists we reached out to agreed to participate to represent their city and the idea of inspired upcycling. Portland, adds Black, "is known as a city with a forward-thinking attitude about the environment, and a progressive arts community with worldwide influence. Shooting there allowed us to leverage these essential traits, which organically tied into the show's creatives."

If audiences respond, expanding "Trash" into a series "is certainly a possibility for the future," Black notes. "As we grow the network, we are constantly evolving the definition of the arts. A special like this allows us to see whether or not viewers agree that this non-traditional subgenre idea should be considered part of that world. If we see a demand for more stories about this topic, we will consider taking 'OMT' to series. While we have greater aspirations than to imitate the success of other competition docu-series, weekly eliminations, one winner, and many other possibilities remain on the table."

For now, he adds, "We are excited to remind viewers that Ovation is maintaining its commitment to providing a platform for artists, and we are a fun and accessible resource for viewers looking to see what's coming next in all disciplines. Our bread and butter is showcasing emerging trends and artists on the rise, both of which are highlighted in this series. Hopefully it will inspire more recycled material art, and also enrich the lives of viewers who want to know about the newest movements and ways in which they can be a part of this world."

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'One Man's Trash' turns garbage into art
Premiering May 21, "One Man's Trash" shows what creative people can do with recycled refuse.