*Big thank you to Bookfest Committee member Louie Meizlish for sourcing and arranging this!*
Arts & Scraps has been an interactive institution on the Eastside for over thirty years.
Founded in 1989 by Peg Upmeyer, Arts & Scraps was originally started to help cash-strapped teachers obtain affordable, creative resources for their students.
Arts & Scraps is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and recycling store which collects donated recycled goods and turns them into art.
They recycle over 28 tons (ie: 56,000 pounds) of industrial materials annually!
Their East English Village location includes a 5,000-square foot combination store, offices, classroom, and donation intake. Located across Harper Avenue is their 13,000-square foot warehouse where the Scrapmobile is parked and where their creative ‘sticky kits’ are assembled.
Open to the general public, the store features a delightfully whimsical interior, which fondly reminds me of rummaging for treasures at Neisner’s and Jupiter’s on Vernor Hwy many moons ago.
Arts & Scraps community store manager, Stevie Baka, was kind enough to chat with me about their operation.
Let’s hear from Stevie directly:
“Arts & Scraps is thrilled to be coming to Detroit Bookfest! Our 26-foot-long bus, the Scrapmobile, will be there. The inside is filled with recycled creative materials, kids can get a bag and make something completely unique. Building their own book, for example.”
“Arts & Scraps is a creative re-use that focuses on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education by reimagining teaching tools. Our programming is STEM, and the store is art-based.”
“Many businesses generate a ton of ‘waste’ which can easily be donated and used by someone else. You never know what somebody can use or re-use. We also encourage people to recycle what they can at home.”
“The store features things like fabric, yarn stock, rubber stamps, sewing materials, scrapbooking & collage-making materials, heritage crafts, old photos, postcards, magazines, bottles, paint, laces, etc.”
“Kids can make some amazing stuff! We encourage kids to focus on imagination, creativity, and open-ended experimentation. We’re experience-driven and encourage people to experiment with their innate creativity. We’re also a field trip program with a target age range of three to pre-teen.”
“If your company is looking for something unique to do, Arts & Scraps engages in corporate volunteering. Companies like Ford, Rocket, BCBS, Motown Mission, etc, have their employees volunteer here.”
“We often receive donations of the contents of entire houses when people’s relatives pass on. There is an energy transference when loved one’s pass away. People feel good knowing that their items are not going into the trash but being loved and re-used by the community.”
“In regard to book donations, we prefer anything kids, educational, old, weird, unusual, etc, because the books will be cup up and collaged, which we know is considered sacrilegious by many book collectors, but it’s still better than old books being pulped and completely destroyed.”
“When donating, we prefer that people please drop off their items to us. You can make an appointment to donate your items to us on our website or by phone.”
Interesting historical sidenote about Stevie:
They live inside the old St. Albertus Rectory (4231 St. Aubin @ Canfield, Detroit). Open from 1891-1990, the rectory is now in the care of Stevie’s family.
“My family immigrated from Poland and lived near the Rectory in Poletown. My Grandpa went to school there, got married there and my brothers were able to move in and rehab it under the guidance of the Polish American Historical Site Association (PAHSA) who owns the property. We are always looking for volunteers there, as well.”
Arts & Scraps
16135 Harper Ave.
Detroit, MI 48244
Donation form (donate your materials here)