Blog

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.”

Fall Letter From The Executive Director

Hello, ACR community! I hope that you are enjoying these early days of fall – it’s one of my favorite seasons for creative reuse. From Halloween costumes to holiday gifts, it’s a time when creative projects abound, and it’s also a time that I’m most aware of the sheer volume of stuff we consume as a culture. Watching the dizzying array of items on the seasonal aisle at the local drugstore as it transitions from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas makes me redouble my commitment to conscious consumption and conservation. It reminds me to make more than I buy, to purchase wisely when I shop, and to repurpose what I don’t use. My favorite reuse activity for this time of year: wrapping gifts in interesting materials I have found at the center instead of buying wrapping paper. Not only does creative reuse make me feel good as a conservationist, it’s just really fun to build creativity into all of life.

Here I am running the spin art machine at the Crestview neighborhood fair. Fun!

Over the past couple of months, I have been spending my time getting very familiar with the history and current operations of ACR, and I’m so proud and excited to see the great work that’s been done and the exciting things ahead. Thanks to our center staff, volunteers and board of directors, the organization is vibrant and successful. Our donations pipeline is strong and we’ve been getting some incredible materials at the center – some of you may have come for one of the two recent fabric sales we hosted, which were a huge success. We’re getting more and more requests to engage the community in our reuse mission from schools, community organizations and others, and we just received a grant award from the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division to extend our Art of Reuse workshops in 2018. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of you for making it all possible. 

All of this success means that now is the time to build a solid plan for the future of the organization. Over the next few months, one of the biggest things I’ll be working on with the staff and board of directors is a plan for expanding the center when our lease ends in July 2018. We’ve only just begun this process, but it’s exciting to think about having more space to support and grow the work we do. And, thanks once again to the Cultural Arts Division, we received a grant award from the Art Space Assistance Program to help offset some of our future space costs. 

On every level, it’s an exciting time to be a part of Austin Creative Reuse and I look forward to building our future together. Thank you again for all that you do to support ACR’s mission. 

 

Sincerely, 

 

Isadora McKeon

Executive Director

 

P.S. I did my first TV appearance for ACR on CBS Austin! Check it out here

ACR is Hiring A Donations Processing Clerk

Title:  Clerk-Part time (10-15 hrs per week)

Possible schedule: Wednesday and Saturday 10am-4pm, other hours available to fill in for other staff or at events.

Reports to: Shift Lead

 

Who We Are

Austin Creative Reuse is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our mission is to foster conservation and reuse through creativity, education, and community building.

  • We collect, distribute, and sell reusable materials donated from industry and individuals.
  • We educate the community about how to reduce, reuse, and create in responsible and fun ways. We make instructional kits, have a library of design and art ideas, and share these online and in-store.
  • We unite the community by hosting a range of events, activities, and classes that bring people together to build awareness around conscious consumption, sustainability, and art
  • We promote awareness of like-minded organizations to reduce overlap and increase awareness of city resources.

 

What We Offer

  • Fun, creative and collaborative environment that will give you great experience working in the non-profit industry and with a diverse volunteer population.
  • Ability to expand role based on interest and skill set.  This could include assisting with our social media efforts or at our workshops. There is also potential for advancement to an opening and closing center lead role.

 

What You’ll Bring

We are looking for amazing people with diverse backgrounds and a genuine passion for creativity and reuse. Our ideal candidates will be comfortable talking about crafting materials and dealing with pricing questions.  We expect our clerks to:

  • Be outstanding at customer service.
  • Have excellent organizational skills and attention to detail, especially dealing with register.
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Be able to juggle multiple tasks and work in an active non profit environment

 

Qualifications

  • Previous customer service and cashier experience
  • Basic knowledge of Point of Sales Systems and cash drawer reconciliation
  • Basic computer skills including knowledge of email, Microsoft Office, and google drive
  • Minimum: High School Diploma or Equivalent.

What You’ll Do

The Austin Creative Reuse Clerk is friendly, personable, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about Austin Creative Reuse and our mission. This is a vital role, as you will be involved in weighing, sorting and pricing material donations coming into the center. Responsibilities include:

  • Process incoming donations from our weigh cart to sorting boxes
  • Package and price materials for sale
  • Research (online, in center, on Square) materials pricing
  • Screen items brought in as drop-off donations; greet donors; provide donation receipts; ensure that donations are recorded accurately.
  • While the majority of the clerk’s role will be spent in the back room, all clerks will provide customer service as needed: greet shoppers, explain the center, provide information, etc.
  • Work with Shift Leads to creatively merchandise donations
  • Fill in on cash register when needed
  • Participate in ACR events as needed
  • Physical requirements: Push/pull merchandise with appropriate equipment to and from backroom and sales floor. Lift, place, and arrange items on shelves and racks. Bend down and reach above head. Climb and descend ladder. Stand during an entire shift (other than normal break time)

The above is intended to describe the general content of the requirements for the performance of this job. It is not to be construed as an exhaustive statement of duties, responsibilities or requirements.

 

To Apply

Please submit your resume and tailored cover letter online to info@austincreativereuse.org.

We review applications on a rolling basis, so it is to your advantage to apply as soon as possible.  We will not consider applications without a cover letter tailored to this position.

At Austin Creative Reuse, we believe that diversity makes us stronger and challenges us to think differently every day. Austin Creative Reuse  provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran status or disability.

Board Meeting Highlights – September 2017

Austin Creative Reuse is gearing up for numerous events over the next few months. Please check the website for details.

 

ACR is putting some new actions into play, all in the name of  improving center operations and better serving our customers. We are exploring funding for additional staff time and asking center leads to share center updates with the board monthly. Donations and sales have remained very strong over the last few weeks, and staff will begin exploring weekly flash sales to move some merchandise.

 

Our Executive Director has made new contacts, is working on some business donations, and spearheaded a successful application for an Art Space Assistance Program grant from the City of Austin to assist as we begin looking for a new location when our current lease expires July 2018. Members of the property review committee began a market search process to understand the current real estate market and to help identify key features that are available in the current market at what price points.

 

ACR 2016 Annual Report

We’re so proud of Austin Creative Reuse’s success in its first full year of operation and it’s because or you: our reuse community.

Thank you!

Creating Creativity in 4 Easy Steps

We want our kids to be creative and so we buy them all kinds of craft kits and maker kits. It’s true these kits are designed to help our kids create, but they are not designed to encourage our kids’ creativity. Usually the kits are designed to make one thing and one thing only, with implicit instructions on how to do so. This is fine if you want to make one thing and one thing only, but why teach our children to merely assemble a product when we can teach them to dream up something unique?

How then can we provide our kids a make/craft experience that will truly foster creativity? What if we’re not creative ourselves? How can we allow them to interpret the materials using their own ideas and ingenuity without getting in their way? It’s easy really. Way easier than trying to control it! And when we get out of their way we will be amazed at what they come up with.

To get you and your family started, here are four simple steps for fostering creativity in your house or classroom:

  1.       Have simple tools handy. If we give them the tools, they will build stuff. To get them started on many projects have a small “maker” tool box handy. This can be kept in a cigar box or other small box that is easy to grab. The easier it is to grab the tools, the more likely it is they will be used and the easier it is to clean up! Some basic ideas: glue, decent scissors, a hole punch, a large-eye plastic sewing needle, and a glue gun if you are working with older kids.
  2.       Provide the materials. Put an assortment of materials in a box and give it to a child. The container will make it feel like a kit, but the materials inside will get them pondering all the possibilities as seen through their own brilliant imaginations. It is said that childhood is the time our imaginations are the most vivid, and if we don’t use our imaginations then, we never will. We can foster imagination by staying away from instructions and instead providing open-ended materials that will allow their minds to wander. Some ideas for your creativity box: fabric sample book, wall-paper sample book, sheet protectors, colored cardstock or scrapbook paper, a ball of string or yarn, cut-up pieces of corrugated cardboard, burlap, buttons, chop sticks or kabob sticks, embroidery floss (I recommend the pearl style floss that can’t be separated and is easier for little hands to work with) and some type of simple fasteners such as brads. All of these things and more can be found at Austin Creative Reuse for less than $2.00 total! If you’d rather stay at home, search around for items you could use such as scraps of denim, magazines, the plastic coated postcard mailers, snaps cut from a discarded garment, old keys, or items pulled from the recycling bin.
  3.       Let go of the outcome. If you have an outcome in mind, feel free to offer it as a serving suggestion but then step back and let your child go wild. If you really can’t let go of the outcome, sit down and make it yourself but stay away from dictating your child’s project. By sitting down next to them and working on your own stuff, your child will be inspired by both your ideas and your own desire to create.
  4.       Have fun. If you can’t let go, walk away. If you’re not finding it fun, walk away. Creativity should be fun, not stressful so do whatever it takes to set yourselves up for success. Work outside if the mess makes you wiggy. Cover the table with a drop cloth if you can’t take your eyes off the glue dripping out of the bottle. Close the door if you feel triggered by the chaos. Whatever you do, keep it fun.

 

Make a field trip to the Austin Creative Reuse Center the first step in your family’s road to creativity! Come solo or bring the kids. You’ll be amazed at what you find. If you need ideas for projects or materials, just ask! Both the employees and customers at Austin Creative Reuse are happy to share ideas and inspiration. Check out the website for hours and project inspiration: http://www.austincreativereuse.org

If you have questions about projects or ways to bring Austin Creative Reuse into your classroom or school, email Bernadette at educators@austincreativereuse.org If you’d like to volunteer at our center click here to find out how!

Tags:, , , , , , ,

ACR Board Meeting Highlights 2017 August

Austin Creative Reuse’s board met on August 7. Here are some highlights from our meeting:

  • We will be sending one representative to the State of Texas Alliance for Recycling Summit conference in October.
  • Sales in July were strong, and August is on track to also show strong sales. July sales’ strength was due in large part to significant donations from Austin Community College and Silk Road.
  • We approved a budget for the current fiscal year and an application for the City of Austin Economic Development Department’s Art Space Assistance Program to assist with huge increases we will be facing when our current lease terminates in 2018.
  • Join us at the Thinkery21 event where participants will make a craft project with Austin Creative Reuse. Thinkery21 are events where grown ups can enjoy an evening at Thinkery on their own. While tickets to the event have sold out, ACR is looking for a few additional volunteers to assist at our booth at the event: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a0e48aca92aa31-austin5.

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!”

Tags:,

ACR Board Meeting Highlights July 2017

At the most recent meeting on 7/17, the Board discussed the Tax Free Shopping Day that Austin Creative Reuse will host at the Center on August 5 (the statewide tax free days are August 11-13), and other upcoming events, including return of the Art of Reuse Workshops on September 20 and hosting an activity at the Thinkery 21: Come and Make It on August 24.

 

Isadora McKeon has stepped into her new role as ACR’s Executive Director. One of her first official acts with ACR was to appear on the segment  ‘We Are Austin’ on Wednesday, July 19 at 8:20 am on the local Austin CBS affiliate. In the brief segment, Isadora explains how to make a journal out of reused materials.

 

Isadora identified a few ways to tweak the metrics for the Center to improve our operations. The board conducted a post mortem of our recent Fabric Sale and have identified ways to make the next one better and more convenient for our customers. Isadora met with personnel of Austin Resource Recovery, and ARR has agreed to do event cross-marketing.