Austin Creative Reuse started around three years ago when a group of like-minded individuals gathered to discuss creating a new sustainable community organization. Our group was a mix of artists, art enthusiasts, teachers, marketers, and community experts.
I met Lisa Vickery and Molly Whitten, a mutual friend. Lisa, Molly, and Lenell had been running a co-op called Greater Austin Garbage Arts (GAGA) for some time. They had run several successful events and a small retail space on South First St. At this time they were starting to close down GAGA as Molly was moving out of Austin and Lisa wanted to focus on some other creative environmental projects.
At that same time, Aaron Williams had created a space called AAMP in which he wanted to create a space for artists and musicians to connect with the community. Bernadette Noll of Slow Family Living coordinated a meeting of local artists at AAMP; it was at this meeting that Lisa Vickery and I met Kami Wilt and Ellen Scatton.
The four of us, plus Harley Gambill, started meeting every Monday at Lisa’s or the Green Muse to get to know each other and figure out what exactly we wanted to create. We agreed that we wanted a sustainable organization and really liked the model of Scrap Exchange in Durham, NC and the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse in Oakland, CA.
As it progressed, we realized that we wanted to involve more people and start to get the word out. We held two community meetups. One at AAMP and one at Recycled Reads. Isadora McKeon joined us at our second community meeting, joining our core group.
She had a great start on a business plan that aligned with the same ideas that our group had been writing up. We continued to refine our ideas and filed for our non-profit status. After a year of waiting, we received our approval letter on August 26, 2011.