spare parts: saving the planet and making art

Mary Cantu - photo contributed by Laura CarterThere's no summer vacation for spare parts founder Mary Elizabeth Cantu and her mighty interns. This is the time of year when donations roll into the spare parts collection stations in preparation for the annual Materials Giveaway. They get everything from crayons, markers and paints, greeting cards and magazines; paperclips to plastic tubing and tiles; fabric swatches, decorations, baubles and beads (Full list of items accepted). This year's collection stations are St. Paul's Catholic Church gym at 350 Sutton, and Encino Park Elementary at 2550 Encino Rio. Times vary, so check the list of drop-off times on the spare parts website.

gathering materials - photo contributed by Laura CarterEverything is fodder for the creative young minds in local PreK-12 classrooms, and teachers have flocked to the Materials Giveaway for the past two years. But first, everything must be assessed and sorted, inventoried and packed for the main event on July 26 at Wonderland of the Americas.

"We are excited to have our new partners at St. Paul's, Encino Park and Wonderland of the Americas. This will be the biggest teacher resources giveaway yet," declares Cantu. "And, in conjunction with the Materials Giveaway, we are planning a Fine Arts Fair to make this an event for the whole family."

spare parts' mission is "to inspire and support the growing San Antonio creative community and our PreK-12 schools through environmental accountability." spare parts mantra is reduce, repurpose, reuse, and recycle only as a last resort. spare parts' purpose is unprecedented in San Antonio and they are the leader in reuse education through the arts.  

Because spare parts wants to spread the message, Cantu collaborates with crafters and environmental groups. She lectures, teaches, and demonstrates the art and craft of repurpose and reuse at teacher conferences, schools and other gatherings throughout the year. This year in San Antonio, there will be mid-summer Teacher Resource Activities at St. Paul's Catholic Church gym. Times will vary, so check the spare parts website often.

If you want to help--donate your stuff, help with set up and tear down at Wonderland of the Americas at 4522 Fredericksburg Road on July 23-26, or sign up to lead a reuse art and craft activity.

If you are at the Pearl on Saturday morning June 8, stop by Lee Lee Shoes for a 'Cause We Can Bake Sale' and buy some goodies.

Teachers can begin registering for the Giveaway on June 10. Registration is required, 'cause it gets crazy.'

My own little car is stuffed with all kinds of materials and supplies from Providence Catholic School. This is the second year teachers and students have cleaned out their classrooms and lockers to donate in support of the environment and art education. Providence senior Dezarre Boone has joined spare parts as an intern this summer. We're so proud!