History of ACR

Category Archives:History of ACR

Fall Board Planning Session – 2017 October

The board spent all day with our Executive Director on 10/14/2017 planning for new programs and services to offer in 2018. New programs and services could include: expanded hours and open days, expanded size of the retail portion of the Center along with workshop space, additional workshops and collaboration with artists for more workshops, expansion of the number and skillsets of board members and committees to leverage the plans, and creating new relationships with community partners and businesses to assist with success in these expansion plans. Our Executive Director, Isadora McKeon, will be creating a survey to collect ideas from stakeholders.

The Center’s metrics are strong to support some of the proposed changes, and a fundraising campaign will be created to pay for expanded space. Key an eye on this blog for details of changes as they evolve.

Volunteer Spotlight: Shiree Schade

 

The next time you are in the Center, look at the baseboard. Shiree was the volunteer who created the tilework when the Center opened just over two years ago.

One of the reasons Shiree volunteers for Austin Creative Reuse is because of the inspiration she receives. “The certainty that every time I show up for a shift at the store or a workshop or for that matter any of ACR’s activities, I’ll get to watch other people’s creativity percolating and it will in turn amplify my own, oftentimes with things I’ve never thought of before.”

Another reason is the vibrant energy that fills the Austin Creative Reuse Center emanating from the creativity flowing from the shoppers. Many discussions take place between shoppers, staff and volunteers looking to share ideas and suggestions. And sometimes unique knowledge. Shiree recalls; “I was working in the bucket area one day and ran across something in a barrel that caught my eye by virtue of my having no earthly idea what it was that I was looking at. Since I’m from Texas, I didn’t hesitate to turn to the customers shopping in the area and start quizzing them on what it might be. It was a shoebox sized piece of brown fake fur in the shape of an X with webbing sewn into each arm of the cross, each ending in a shiny buckle. I was completely perplexed even though I like to think I’m pretty good at the ‘What on earth is this?’ game. Finally, one customer I asked said without hesitation, ‘Why that’s a ferret hammock. That’s what you put in their cage for them to sleep in!’ And she wasn’t joking! I was absolutely thrilled”.

In addition to being a volunteer and shopper, she is also a donor to the Center. “I think my greatest joy comes from bringing an item in to donate and then seeing it shortly thereafter in a shopper’s hand while they’re chatting excitedly about it to others. For example, I recently brought in an old decrepit mirror ball so someone might could use it for parts and not five minutes later I overheard a woman on a cell phone excitedly telling her husband about it and how they might incorporate it in a project they were working on – just what she needed, she said! That really tickles me – seeing something get a new life.”

August Volunteer Spotlight: Vernon Berger

Longtime Austin Creative Reuse Volunteer Vernon Berger is an artist who specializes in Found Object Art. Found Object Artists use or modify objects that are not traditional art materials to create their pieces.

Vernon sees the potential in things and he knew someone could reuse them but it was the nexus of the center, bringing together the artists/crafters and the objects of their creations, that he inspired him to volunteer at Austin Creative Reuse.

“I got involved from the beginning by just looking for reuse materials. That is how I found ACR. I learned about their needs and I ran across people wanting to rid of things and ACR could use these things. It always amazes me what people have to get rid of. I love the hunt and if someone can reuse it, that is a great feeling.”

A conservationist at heart, Mr. Berger is a member of the Master Naturalist for Outreach in Conservation who was raised with the fixit/salvage/reuse mindset. His love of art, advertising and promotion nurtured him to be creative with his surroundings while at the same time; “We need to conserve our environment and make it more beautiful.”

The Austin Creative Reuse Center provides Vernon a source of inspiration for his art and fuels his creativity. The center is a great resource for affordable, related materials for his projects and he likes the creative environment where he is exposed to different materials.

He also volunteers at Austin Creative Reuse because he enjoys helping and inspiring visitors to the center in their creative pursuits. “I like to nurture the inspiration” he says. “It is interesting to get into the different minds of arts and crafts. The mind is a wonderful place to explore. Love it!”

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Austin Creative Reuse’s First Executive Director

Isadora’s relationship with reuse began in the thrift stores and junk shops of Los Angeles during her teens and continued through her mid-20’s where she worked in and managed vintage stores in Berkeley and San Francisco.  An avid treasure hunter, she helped make ends meet in college by buying and reselling clothing and housewares. Around this time, she discovered the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse in Oakland, California where she acquired supplies for pixelvision, a DIY project that transforms an average television into a psychedelic light show using toilet paper tubes. She fell in love with the way that the Depot merged conservation, creativity and community and had a dream to bring the idea to Austin.

 
In addition to her role at ACR, Isadora is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Austin-based hospitality company Bunkhouse. For over a decade,  Isadora has helped build the renowned company from one hotel and a coffee shop to a portfolio of over 10 properties nationally and internationally. In her role at Bunkhouse, Isadora spends much of her time building community relationships and helping to develop the culture of each of the properties through charitable events, music and arts programming, and other creative projects. 

Welcome to Our New Center Operations Manager

We are so excited to welcome Amelia, long time ACR volunteer, into her new position as Center Operations Manager and Events Coordinator.  

Since she’s been in the United States, Amelia has been volunteering regularly for various nonprofits, with responsibilities ranging from volunteer lead to serving as the treasurer on two Board of Directors. She has always tried to reduce her carbon footprint by taking small steps like composting, growing her own food and upcycling materials, which is what drew her to the mission of Austin Creative Reuse. She started volunteering for ACR in the summer 2015, as they were about to open Austin’s first reuse center and needed help sorting thru donations and organizing the store. After volunteering at the center on a weekly basis for 18 months, Amelia joined the Board of Directors as the chair for the Systems and Procedures committee in January 2017. Amelia is looking forward to help the center grow and spread the word about creative reuse thru community events in her new role.

ACR welcomes our new board member, Jenn Evans

ACR is excited to announce the appointment of our new board member, Jennifer Evans. Jennifer spent much of her childhood travelling up and down the east coast from Canada to Florida in the back of her parents’ baby blue 1970s Econoline camper van.  While it might have been frowned upon by today’s standards (there were no seats in the back of that van, let alone seat belts!), her fond memories of days on the beach, hikes in the woods and nights spent around the campfire started her down a path toward environmental stewardship that she now hopes to instill in her own children and share with her community.

A graduate of Duke University’s Environmental Science & Policy Program and the University of Chicago Law School, Jennifer is currently taking a break from her environmental law practice to raise her three young children.  She organizes Nature Playdate, a nature group for Austin families with small children, and is active in several other local environmental and community groups.  Energized by the creativity of the ACR community, she is delighted for this opportunity to join the Board of Directors and to lead the Sustainability Committee.

Board Planning Session March 2017 Highlights

The board met for an extended planning session to close out FY 2016 and open up FY 2017. Many exciting new changes are planned for the new year, including: an executive director to focus our energies, possible additional center open hours, more community events, activities and workshops. We approved a budget, strategized for fundraising and expanding business ties, and interviewed exceptional candidates for executive director. Stay tuned for more reuse and community interaction.

Board Meeting February 13, 2017 Highlights

The Austin Creative Reuse board met for their regular meeting on February 13. The members discussed several upcoming events, including the Thinkery 21 Event and the ACR Art of Reuse workshops, which have been extremely popular and fill quickly. In addition, they began gearing up for the upcoming Amplify Austin, which will occur on March 2. More details to follow.

The board elected new president, Carole LeClair, who begins her term effective April 1. She will be replacing outgoing president and founding member, Rebecca Stuch, who will be starting a new phase as a Peace Corps volunteer directing community development projects in Peru. We will miss Rebecca and look forward to Carole’s leadership.

Meet Our Newest Board Members

Amelia Despre

Amelia grew up in France and moved to Palo Alto, California in 2002, as she was working as an IT project manager for Hewlett Packard. Work then took her to Austin in 2009.

Since she’s been in the United States, Amelia has been volunteering regularly for various nonprofits, with responsibilities ranging from volunteer lead to serving as the treasurer on two Board of Directors. She has always tried to reduce her carbon footprint by taking small steps like composting, growing her own food and upcycling materials, which is what drew her to the mission of Austin Creative Reuse.  She started volunteering for ACR in the summer 2015, as they were about to open Austin’s first reuse center and needed help sorting thru donations and organizing the store. Amelia joined the ACR Board of Directors as the chair for the Systems and Procedures committee.

Amelia graduated from the nonprofit leadership and management program at the Center for Nonprofit Studies at Austin Community College in 2016.

Nancy Lyon

Nancy spent the first part of her life in the DC area, but had finally had enough of the politics, cold, and traffic, so she moved to Austin. For most of the 20 years or so that she has lived here, she has been doing molecular biology research at UT Austin. She recently started working at Austin Community College’s new campus in the old abandoned Highland Mall (her office is in the old shoe dept of JC Penney’s) and is helping to build Austin’s first leaseable wet lab space.

Nancy comes from a family of creatives. All professional scientists, but with hobbies such as cooking, glass fusing and lampwork, costume design, and jewelry making. As an underpaid scientist, she took naturally to finding ways of keeping busy and to making things, without spending money. Once you have that mindset and that skill set, it’s hard to do things any other way. The fact that re-using materials is also good practice for the planet makes her heart kind of soar.

On any given day, you could find her amongst the makings of puppets, jewelry, a metalsmithing project or even a delicious dinner.  In addition to spending her days buying $50K laboratory instruments to outfit the space, she scours freecycle and craigslist for valuable opportunistic treasures for the lab. Maybe, someday, there will be a bio-hacker space carved out at Highland.

 

Sharon Yarbrough

Sharon has over 20 years experience working in Austin education and conservation nonprofits and is a proud AmeriCorps alum. Her greatest motivation for living sustainably is wanting to instill environmental stewardship in her daughter and our next generations.
“I wanted to become part of Austin Creative Reuse because it is the perfect blending of my passions: art, education and conservation. I knew it was the right place for me the minute I walked in the door.”

Sharon earned a degree in technical writing from Illinois State University and was a high school English teacher before translating her skills into grant writing. Grant writing led to fundraising; including events and donor engagement. Sharon is the Development Coordinator for Southwest Key Programs, the 2nd largest nonprofit in Austin.

While her favorite activity is crafting or hiking with her daughter, Sharon volunteers as the Kiddie Crew Leader for the Austin Parks Foundation, a delivery driver for Meals on Wheels and reading mentor with East Austin College Prep.

Everyday Superhumans: From Trash into Treasure: The Austin Creative Reuse Way



Austin Creative Reuse Founder, Board President, Rebecca Stuch was featured on the Everyday Superhuman podcast. Give it a listen and find out more about this amazing woman and our mission of bringing conservation and reuse to our community.