Trash the Clown hopes to shift perspectives and spread kindness by cleaning up Port Huron


People have many different opinions on them. Some love them, viewing them as friendly, goofy, wholesome characters. To others, they’re the stuff of the darkest nightmares. For one Port Huron resident, clowns are the inspiration for a unique performance art, trash gatherer — Trash the Clown

“The mission is just to inspire people to want better — not just better for themselves, but better for everyone. That’s really the big heart of it,” Trash says. 

Trash frequently packs up for a few hours of cleanup, with their buddies in tow — Carter the shopping cart and Jack the Trash Pack, including trash bags, a trash grabber, and a bucket. Their ‘main haunt’ is typically near 24th Street in Port Huron. Fellow neighbors and residents of all ages, genders, and backgrounds often grab a bag and join in on the cleanups. 

The community response has been a surprise, Trash says.

“It’s been wild, it’s not what I expected at all,” Trash says. “I knew the character would get a reaction, I just didn’t expect it to get the reaction it has. The first time I went out, I was fully prepared to be beaten up or something. It’s a clown — and people are weird about clowns. I needed it to be a character that maybe people would judge initially just based on what it is and how it looks. The whole project is about flipping perspective.”
Jack the Trash Pack (left) and Carter the shopping cart.
While the Port Huron resident behind the clown makeup and attire wishes to remain nameless for the sake of the art piece, Trash’s mission is to be seen and heard. 

“My only goal would be to inspire someone to look at their world and life, and to love it,” Trash says. “My goal is for them to be inspired enough through that love, to be kind, to be good, and to clean up messes that aren’t their own … to be inspired to think of life just outside of themselves.”

Although the physical effort remains hyperlocal, the symbolic mission of spreading kindness and goodness is a universal theme. 

“If the character can inspire one person to look at the world differently, then the character is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do,” Trash says. 

The next community cleanup event is on Saturday, June 8 at 10 am. More details and locations are to be announced via the Facebook event page. Monetary and supplies donations can be dropped off at the following locations: Crossroad Family Restaurant, Reno’s Davinci Tattoo, No Tie Required T-Shirt Co., and Peace of Cake in Birchwood Mall. Online monetary donations are accepted via Venmo (@TrashtheClown1) and Cash app ($TrashtheClown). There is also an Amazon wishlist for specific desired items to help further Trash’s mission. 
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Sarah Spohn is a Lansing resident, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at