Mary Elizabeth Cantu
Executive Director, Spare Parts
As a child, Mary Elizabeth Cantu dreamt of being Indiana Jones. Cantu is a native San Antonian and has worked in the fields of arts, education and culture in San Antonio for over 10 years. She earned her BA in Museum Education with a focus on Cultural Anthropology and Elementary Education from Mount Holyoke College then received a MA in Art Education, with a focus on Community-Based Art from the University of Texas, Austin. In 2013 she became a national Reuse Institute Master Reuser—the first and only in San Antonio.
Community engagement, art, education and green living have always been important to Cantu. All of these values amalgamated when she founded Spare Parts, a project dedicated to: cultural and environmental sustainability; affordability and accessibility to the arts; and community, education & creativity, green-style. Its main objective is to connect with various agencies & businesses to provide a steady supply of materials, which would otherwise be thrown away, for the artistic community & educators to increase the creative and cultural energy of San Antonio. Her vision is to transform Spare Parts from a volunteer effort to a full-time organization.
Cantu also co-founded the Spare Parts MINI ART MUSEUM with Gabriela Santiago in 2013 to bring the fine arts museum experience to schools and the community.
Director, Spare Parts Mini Art Museum
Gabriela Santiago is the co-founder of the MINI ART MUSEUM. Santiago has been developing and facilitating education opportunities with community organizations, arts organizations and museums and in the classroom across Texas for over seven years. She has collaborated with Mexic-Arte Museum, The Children’s Shelter, McNay Art Museum, Artpace San Antonio, Blue Star Contemporary and founded a residency program in San Antonio for emerging artists, TRANSIT.
Anika Blanco: Scorpio, artist and educator. She has BFA in Communication Design and MA in Art Education. Ever since she was seven years old, she has been in some type of art class. As an educator, she is motivated by her students’ fresh, creative minds. Blanco finds serenity in visual arts by experimenting with color and mixed media. She advocates for a healthy mind/body, balanced lifestyle. Blanco appreciates Spare Parts for inspiring creative reuse and for the amazing sense of community formed around the organization.
Kim Bishop is a practicing, exhibiting artist with thirty years of arts education experience in the public school system. She holds a BFA from Southwest Texas State University in Commercial Art and Advertising, five lifetime teaching certifications with a Texas State Gifted and Talented Education Endorsement and a MA in Curriculum & Instruction from Texas State University. During her time as a studio art and AP Art History instructor Bishop maintained a fine arts career by having an extensive solo and group show prospectus. She is co-founder of Art To The Third Power, a community arts based artist collective that focuses on building and archiving cultural capital for San Antonio. Her mission to create, educate and build a legacy of arts and art history rooted in her philosophy that, “through the arts that we are a humane civilization.” This is why she believes serving as an educator with Spare Parts is a perfect fit – because “Actions ‘do’ have Consequences.”
Dezarre Boone is a graduate of Providence Catholic School and a student at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. This college girl enjoys upcycled crafting and watercolor painting. She believes in Spare Parts’ mission of providing upcycled materials within the classroom. “I am very honored to be apart of an organization that brings the community together to save the Earth.”
Sarah Dunckel is an artist and art educator with great affection for the San Antonio community. With a BFA from the University of Texas, Austin, she has taught children of all ages in San Antonio. Her own work includes drawing, painting, stage sets, installations and murals. She enjoys working with the Spare Parts family; collecting and using reusable materials to help children and adults express themselves while maintaining respect for planet Earth.
Brownsville, Texas native Audrya Flores is an educator, artist and mother. She earned her BA in Education from the University of Texas at San Antonio and her Montessori certification through North American Montessori Center. For the last decade, Flores has encouraged elementary students to explore core subjects through the arts as well as recognize themselves as stewards of nature.
As an artist, she repurposes discarded items and organic material for assemblage work and installations. In her free time find Flores exploring the magic of nature with her son in their garden or browsing tacky vintage clothing at thrift shops.
Flores loves being part of the Spare Parts team! It gives her the opportunity to facilitate creative expression in children while promoting awareness of our responsibility to the planet.
Daniel Flores calls himself a true Texan and has been an art educator for over eight years. Flores attended the University of Texas at San Antonio and received a BFA with a concentration in Drawing. His preferred mediums are drawing and painting and his work incorporates portraits, landscapes and costume or personal objects. Through exhibiting his work and volunteering, Flores enjoys being an active member of San Antonio’s art scene. In 2017 he joined the Spare Parts team because Flores believes in its mission and values to educate the community about creative reuse.
A teaching artist, Gabbe Grodin lives and works in San Antonio. With a BFA from Indiana University and MFA from Rutgers in New Jersey, a nomadic spirit has landed Grodin back in Texas after many years. “I love to share what I learn about art-making, especially when it overlaps with ethical behaviors in the environment.”
Jennifer Herrera is a native San Antonian and holds the position of Community and Media Engagement Manager at KLRN. She enjoys tackling various DIY projects, writing and volunteering. Naturally, Herrera holds a passion for bringing communities together in interesting ways. This explains her interest in supporting Spare Parts. Through art and environmental accountability, Spare Parts is creating something unseen in San Antonio. Spare Parts is helping guide the young and the young at heart to turning everyday objects into art.
Amy Johnson is a local maker and mother of four who believes in the power of handmade, secondhand and eco-friendly living. With an undergraduate degree in English from the University of Texas at San Antonio, she began her career as a program director for the local literary arts nonprofit, Gemini Ink. She is the founder and creative behind the blog Maker Mama, and she works as a freelance social media manager and consultant. Her favorite craft store is the thrift store, and she loves how Spare Parts inspires a respect for our limited resources while nourishing children’s creativity.
Volunteer Volunteer Coordinator
Laura Kraus is a Youth Librarian at Bulverde/Spring Branch Library and provides programming for ages 0 to 18. She has a BA in English from the University of the Incarnate Word and a Master’s in Library Science from University of North Texas. Kraus keeps busy chasing around her young son. She also can be seen volunteering at a program she helped create called Fix It Clinics at Austin Public Library, where she teaches people how to fix damaged items such as clothing and jewelry. Spare Parts is close to her heart, as she feels strongly about educating people about the power of reuse in today’s world.
Lauren Martinez is an artist, educator and floral designer. A native of San Antonio, she possesses years of experience in studio art + design, art therapy and education. She earned her BFA in Sculpture and New Genres from Otis College of Art and Design with a semester from École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris. In 2014 she started her own business floral business, Daughter Lauren Designs.
Educator & Volunteer
Tracy Murphy is originally from Florida and has always loved art in many forms. She graduated from Florida State University, with a degree in Studio Art. After many moves with her family from Germany to Georgia to Texas and several places in between, she, her (retired, military) husband and three children settled here in San Antonio. She currently teaches Middle School art and loves to watch her students’ creativity bloom as they learn and experiment with many art mediums.
Spare Parts helped provide supplies for her classrooms when her campus art programs were growing. Spare Parts is also a catalyst in making her, her family and students more “Earth-Aware” by reducing-reusing-recycling many items back into creating art.
Educator & Volunteer
Claudia Peña-Martinez was born and raised in Laredo–a culturally diverse city located on the north bank of the Rio Grande in South Texas. Her passion for art was initiated during a trip to Europe in the early 1990s where she encountered gothic architecture and artwork of the “Great Masters.” She moved to San Antonio in the winter of 2000 to pursue an art degree. Peña-Martinez graduated from the University of Texas, San Antonio with a BFA with a focus in photography and a minor in Art History. In 2010, with a continued passion for art and education, Peña-Martinez pursued a teaching certification. She has been art educator for five years & currently teaches jr. high art at a local public school. Peña-Martinez also runs an Etsy shop where she sells her photography, paintings and jewelry. She loves volunteering and serving as an educator for Spare Parts because it gives her another creative outlet while using repurposed materials to help children and adults express themselves artistically.
Kara Salinas is an artist and educator from San Antonio, who prior to teaching worked in the field of Architecture. She holds a BS in Architecture from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a MA in Art Education from Boston University. It is from her education and work experience in Architecture where she develops ideas for installation art or sculptures. She seeks to exhibit art in surprising locations and to truly make art public and accessible beyond the gallery or museum walls.
She is an artist dedicated to creating art with themes that are approachable to even the youngest of viewers. She associates her art to play, and encourages an awe and wonder from viewers when viewing or engaging with her art. Salinas is also an artist whose work has underlying tones heavily rooted in ideas of reuse and repurposing materials, while introducing non-traditional art-making supplies. Spare Parts continues to be an ongoing interest and source of inspiration.
Michelle Garza Treviño
Michelle Garza Treviño was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Treviño’s interest in art started as a child growing up on the city’s south side. Upon graduating high school she quickly married and started a family. Her husband was active duty military and throughout their travels across the United States she was fortunate to visit many museums and galleries. When he was honorably discharged they returned home where she studied fine arts at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Treviño graduated summa cum laude in 2013 with a teacher certification. Since then she has taught elementary art and is always happy to see the excitement on her students’ faces when viewing their completed artwork. She values reuse education through art because she advocates for underprivileged children and our environment. Treviño attributes her success and happiness to the unwavering support from her husband, two sons and close family.