Celebrating Women in Creative Reuse!

Creative reuse organizations across the country improve the environment, enhance the arts and culture of their communities, and contribute to local, sustainable economies. In honor of Women's History Month, we'd like to shine a spotlight on three major creative reuse organizations in Pennsylvania. Why? Because all three organizations were started by women, are lead by women, and have mostly women on staff. Here's a little bit about the centers, their histories, and the three creative-environmental-grant-writing-heavy-lifting-problem-solving women who make them work.

PCCR picPittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse is a non profit that operates with a staff and board of directors that is made up of over 3/4 women and lead by executive director Erika Johnson. Erika-Johnson-small-600x400Johnson is an artist and creative reuse enthusiast who started PCCR in 2008 as a project of The Pennsylvania Resources Council. Johnson and the PCCR team have deigned the organization to focus in two main areas:

1. The SHOP, which has a wide variety of reusable materials, like fabric, craft supplies, sewing notions, office supplies, and business and industrial discards that were all donated and are for sale at discounted prices. It is also located in the same building as Construction Junction, where you can find building materials for reuse.

2. The PROGRAMS, which consist of a variety of outreach activities designed to engage the community in creative reuse and resource conservation. Many of these events and activities focus on kids, furthering Johnson's hope of engaging future generations in "reimagining waste as a resource for building a better world."

Lancaster CR picLCR AndreaLancaster Creative Reuse connects community excess to those who can use it creatively. Their mission is to inspire creativity, increase access to the arts through affordability, and encourage reuse. LCR is the brainchild of executive director Andrea Stoner Leaman. Leaman and a group of like-minded volunteers (all women!) started LCR as a project of the nonprofit Keystone Art & Culture Center, and the project grew into the full functioning nonprofit reuse center that it is today.

re logo-black only (RE Philly's conflicted copy 2014-04-29)If you're reading this than you probably know us, The Resource Exchange. We're Philadelphia's center for creative reuse. The re was founded in 2009 by our Executive Director Karyn Gerred specifically to save valuable film set materials from going into landfill. karyn & Alison moving stuffAn artist and a scenic painter for both film and theatre projects in Philadelphia, Gerred was sick of seeing so much reusable building and arts materials get thrown into dumpsters after the project was complete. With the mantra "there is no away" in mind, Gerred and a group of hard working volunteers started saving the materials (mostly lumber at that time) from film sets and storing them in an empty space at the Navy Yard. Now, six years later, The Resource Exchange still accepts donations from film and theatre, but also from businesses, local organizations, schools, artists, and people like YOU! We've expanded the organization to be open 5 days a week, and we've saved over 2,671,165 pounds of reusable material for creative reuse and recycling since the days in the Navy Yard. We are also able to connect with the community through our reCreate Program workshops, featured artists, collaborations,  and events.

Happy Women's History Month, and here's to creative reuse in PA and the amazing women who make it possible!  

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