Spare Parts Summer of ’17 brought to you by Friends of Spare Parts Board President Laura Carter

Laura Carter, President, Friends of Spare Parts Board of Directors

If you live in Texas, it might be hard to tell the summer season is almost over. Those of you who are teachers, students or parents of school-aged kids know ‘back to school’ is upon you. The Spare Parts team hopes you all had a good summer. For Spare Parts’ Board of Directors and staff it’s been gloriously busy.

 

In June of 2016, we initiated a fundraising campaign for a permanent location to house our offices, to create a Spare Parts store where San Antonians can donate or purchase preloved art materials, and to host creative reuse programs year-round. To reach this goal we realized Spare Parts needed to establish itself as a 501c3 nonprofit. Currently Spare Parts, a sole proprietorship, is a member of Fractured Atlas, a national nonprofit arts organization that allows us to accept your charitable donation for tax-deductible purposes.

 

Friends of Spare Parts founding Board of Directors (left to right, back row): Jeanne Cantu, Regina Villalobos-Perez, Jessica Jones Gonzales, Laura Carter, Rikkianne Van Kirk and Heather Eichling. Front row, left to right: Carla Berryman, Brenda L Burmeister and Chris Castillo.

On June 9, 2017, we held our first Friends of Spare Parts Board of Directors meeting—a formal Board being one of the criteria for establishing an 501c3 nonprofit. We adopted Bylaws and began the process of creating committees and discussing goals. As the elected President of the Board, I am excited to be working with capable and enthusiastic Board members Carla Berryman (Treasurer), Brenda L Burmeister, Jeanne Cantu (Vice President, Friends of Spare Parts), Chris Castillo (Vice President, Mini Art Museum), Heather Eichling, Jessica Jones Gonzales, Rikkianne Van Kirk and Regina Villalobos-Perez (Secretary). Mary Elizabeth Cantú was hired to hold the Spare Parts Executive Director position.

 

Friends of Spare Parts Board Members (Laura Carter, Jessica Jones Gonzales and Rikkianne Van Kirk), Mia, Laura, Anna and Dezarre Boone and Spare Parts Executive Director Mary Elizabeth Cantú at August’s Spare Parts Shop. All Spare Parts Shop proceeds goes to securing a building of our own for a year-round Spare Parts store & community center.


Our annual summer Fine Arts Fair/Materials Giveaway, historically held at Wonderland of the Americas, was postponed until Spare Parts secures a space. In its stead, our Spare Parts Shop committee lead by Jessica Jones Gonzales and Rikkianne Van Kirk held two pop ups, stocked with preloved creative materials and various artsy things for sale-cheap. The Spare Parts Shop has plans to pop up at various locations monthly going forward.

 

Cantú, co-founder of the Mini Art Museum took a new exhibit all the way to Columbia, South America in July. “Controlled Burn” was curated by San Antonio artist/Mini Art Museum committee member Daniel Rios Rodriguez. Visit www.miniartmuseum.org to learn more about this wee adventure!

 

Left to right: Lucero Munoz, Mary Elizabeth Cantú and Cecilia Cedillo in Villa de Leyva, Colombia (July 2017). Munoz and Cedillo were Cantu’s traveling companions. Munoz is originally from Armenia, Quindio, Colombia.

Our programming continues to thrive under Executive Director Mary Elizabeth Cantú. As Board committees evolve, we will announce ways you can help take Spare Parts to the next level. At any time you can make a tax-deductible donation to our permanent space campaign. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, too.

 

If there are any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to email: laurac@sparepartssa.org. 

-Laura Carter
President, Board of Directors
Friends of Spare Parts

During her 14-day stay, Cantu installed “Controlled Burn in 12 locations across Colombia. Here is a group of students at their rural school in Rio Verde visiting the Museum (July 2017).
MINI ART MUSEUM presents “Controlled Burn” curated by Daniel Rios Rodriguez. This picture was taken at a coffee farm in front of the Andes Mountains of Colombia (July 2017).

#Take5forSA virtual artist-in-residence Laurel Gibson

Laurel Gibson

San Antonio artist/educator Laurel Gibson was Spare Parts’ second virtual artist-in-residence for a #Take5forSA project. The challenge: for the entire month of February, post daily on the Spare Parts Instagram page five discarded items that would, at the end of the month, be creatively reused.

Interviewer Laura Carter delved into Gibson’s creative mind with a discussion regarding the nature of her art & the collaboration with Spare Parts.

When we first met at the Spare Parts Pop Up Shop at SoFlo Market, I asked you what you did for a living. And, you said enthusiastically, “I’m an artist!” Who or what has inspired or influenced you, creatively speaking?

Laurel: I have been making art as long as I can remember. My grandmother was a fashion illustrator for a newspaper in Illinois. My parents did not discourage me expressing myself through, sometimes very different, ways. As a young girl growing up in Arizona, I was fascinated with what I saw around me. I found I could express myself in art, in the act of being creative. I used to make designs from cactus needles, flower petals, things I found lying around. I found a broken watch & used it, with other found objects, to make a figure of a person. (This was the first thing that actually drew praise from my father.)  I liked drawing & making sculptures as well. What really influences my art is life. I enjoy the process of bringing an idea or vision to life—making it a reality.

When did you first realize making art was what you wanted to do as a profession?

Laurel: At the age of about 11 or 12, I told my mother I wanted to make art a career. Her response was that I needed to practice.  So, I did. I was obsessive in a way. Later, I earned an undergraduate degree in art in Arizona & a Master of Art in Ceramics from the University of Texas San Antonio. I like to challenge myself through artistic expression. Though my focus is ceramics, I work in a variety of mediums. I teach art classes at several different places, including Bihl Haus Arts. I take commissions & work on funded projects.

We are thrilled you chose to share your artistic reuse talents with Spare Parts. What was it that drew your attention to this project?

Louis Armstrong on piano roll paper by Laurel Gibson
Used coffee filters with embroidered design by Laurel Gibson

Laurel: About 50% of my art is created from reused materials. Taking found objects, leftover materials, trash even, for use in an artistic expression. For example, used coffee filters (right) or old piano rolls (left). I saw the first artist doing the #Take5forSA project & thought, “Oh, yeah, I can do this. The most challenging aspect was finding those five items for each day in February, was working it into my teaching schedule etc.”  When I took a vacation to Padre Island, I picked up some interesting materials on the beach. 

To someone who asks, “Just what are these #Take5forSA pieces used for?” Well, Gibson made unique refrigerator magnets. Great idea! We say it’s a plus the materials are no longer litter or in the landfill. 

What might be some of your next artistic challenges?

Laurel:  What really drives me is making something impossible happen. I have a commissioned project rolling around in my mind.  When I work on a project, I like to remain “ignorant” of what other artists have done with similar challenges so I can get my own inspiration.  I think I’d like to get back to ceramics for a bit. I’d like to do more collaboration with Spare Parts as well.

Retail Intervention: Marissa Ramirez

Thrifting and Me
How to thrift like a college student

By Marissa Ramirez, Environmental Studies Major, Oberlin College

I have been thrifting since high school to fulfill my need to have a unique sense of style that slightly reflected what my own grandma wore. My normal thrifting adventures for clothes included
searching through the vintage section at my local Texas Thrift Store. I always enjoyed finding crazy/interesting garments of years past and wondered how anyone wore these clothes. I also found myself supporting the recycling of clothes considering it takes about 400 gallons of water to make a new cotton t-shirt. Nonetheless, I had developed a new need to thrift that has carried on into my college adventures.

First things first college is expensive: whether you are referring to tuition, books and supplies and even dorm necessities. That’s why people normally seek out scholarships, but what do you turn to for other random essentials? Well, the answer can be found at any local thrift store. They are the perfect place to find random essentials for college. The thrift store is where people send their unwanted goods, but just because they are unwanted doesn’t mean they are useless. It does, however, take some time to browse through collections of stuff, but that is what makes thrifting fun.

What can you possibly find at a thrift store?

Many thrift stores have a wide collection of glassware to choose from. One tip is to look for old mason jars, especially those without lids which are for sure in abundance. These jars can serve as simple but cute storage spaces for anything such as pencils, markers, and brushes.

One of the best things about thrift stores is the ability to find unique and eclectic items, which usually become the best room decor items. Some of these items include vintage cameras which still look nice even if they don’t work, classic alarm clocks which are nice desk decor, and other college essentials you can find at thrift stores include:

  • General office supplies such as staplers, binders, dividers, and book holders
  • Water bottles
  • Luggage cases
  • Kitchen items such as mugs and plates

Sometimes you might even strike a goldmine and find perfectly good electronics. One major reason to take full advantage of the electronics thrift stores have to offer is to reduce the amount of e-waste. E-waste describes discarded electronics that end up in landfill and produce toxic waste. These items include old cell phones, printers, and computers. For example, I found this perfectly good printer which is better than paying for printing at some colleges.

 


And if you are going off to a college in where there winters are snowy and icy, thrift stores are the perfect place to stock up on warm clothing.
You can never have enough simple long sleeves to layer and keep you warm during the winter. The thrift store is also a perfect place to find great quality clothes for a fraction of the price, for example one of my staples to check for while thrifting is wool sweaters, which are the warmest things ever and are normally expensive when bought new. Other staple I search for a beanies, any gloves and scarves.

These are all pictures from my thrifting adventure with Spare Parts’ Mary Elizabeth Cantu in San Antonio, Texas. I volunteered with Spare Parts over my winter break (January 2017) and the last project of my time with them was to go on a day-long thrift store tour in San Antonio!

Spare Parts was so fortunate with work with Marissa and we look forward to keeping in touch with her!