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Scrapbook Exchange promotes creativity

One man’s trash is another man’s art.

Well, maybe that’s taking liberty with the popular adage but, when the Scrapbook Exchange comes to town, it’s out with the old and in with the new.

Students at Troy Elementary and Pike Liberal Arts school got a lesson is recycling and reuse from Ann Woodard, Scrapbook Exchange executive director, and Rebecca Currie, staff member, with a little assistance from Kirby Kangaroo of Kids Club. They also had an opportunity to make art from “scraps” that would otherwise have been destined for the garbage can.

The Scrapbook Exchange is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1991. Its mission is to promote creativity, environmental awareness and community through reuse.

In so doing, the “Exchange” establishes a sustainable supply of high-quality, low-cost materials for artists, educators, parents and other creative people.

“The idea for Scrapbook Exchange originated with Chris Rosenthal, who had worked in Australia for an organization called The Reverse Garbage Truck,” Currie said. “What we are is a clearing house for materials that businesses, industries, municipal sources and individuals don’t need and are throwing away.”

The staff of Scrapbook Exchange picks up these “unwanted” items and they are used to stock the Scrapbook Exchange retail store in Durham, N.C. and for the Scrapbook Exchange Traveling Art Show.

“At the retail store, we sell, at a very low cost, to schools, artists, crafters, just anyone who finds a use for scraps,” Currie said. “We also have birthday parties where the children come and use the scraps to make art objects, much in the same way that we go into schools and to public events with our traveling art show.”

The Scrapbook Exchange Traveling Art Show was in Troy for TroyFest and also to provide scrap art opportunities for the schools.

“We teach students the difference between reusing an item and recycling an item” Woodward said. “We bring a variety of items and the students may pick and choose any of the items for their art projects. They can use tape, staples, wires or strings to connect the items in their art. But we don’t use glue because it cannot be reused or recycled.”

The Scrapbook Exchange teaches students to reuse items and it encourages them to use their imagination and their creativity to make art.

“Anything is art,” Currie said. “The Scrapbook Exchange supports reuse and encourages recycling and also diverts things from the landfills. And, when our traveling art show leaves a school, parents say that they see a change in the behavior of their children. They no longer see things as trash but as things that can be reused or recycled as art.”