Carly Stefanowich loves sorting through the treasure trove of sustainable materials at SUPPLY Victoria Creative Reuse Centre.
“I’m a textiles artist, working only with up-cycled cloth and natural dyes, so SUPPLY Victoria is one of those perfect places to be able to get a lot of my supplies,” says Stefanowich.
And the unique range of art supplies is endless.
“We have tons of paints and paint brushes, so like classic traditional art supplies,” says SUPPLY Victoria executive director Ashley Howe.
“But then we have other things that you might not deem traditional art supplies like wine corks or the mesh bag to get your fruits and veggies in.”
As a creative reuse centre, SUPPLY Victoria’s mission is to divert materials from the landfill and put them into the hands of artists, students, and teachers.
“Those are really popular in the States — there are over 130 of them in America — but they’re a relatively new thing to Canada. So essentially, they operate like thrift stores for art supplies,” says Howe.
So we offer low-cost art, office and school supplies that are more affordable and more sustainable alternatives.”
“I think it’s just awesome how they just removed so much from ending up in the landfill and giving everything a second chance to be used,” says volunteer Holly Molony.
Molony started volunteering here a few months ago…
“As a student in environmental studies, I’m really passionate about learning about sustainable businesses and something I want to be part of in the future, and this is just a perfect one that I love to support,” says Molony.
But the supplies at SUPPLY Victoria are now all packed up, as the non-profit shut down this month to move from the current arts hub to a new location by Crystal Garden.
“I’m sad because this space has been a really great home for us. And it helped us grow. And it’s been really amazing being nestled in here with 80 artists and four art galleries and a tool lending library, but now it’s become necessary for us to move,” says Howe.
The new location will give SUPPLY more space, a more accessible entrance, and a better loading zone for people to drop off donations… but rent will be higher, and moving is expensive.
So SUPPLY Victoria’s launched a GoFundMe to help.
“As a non-profit, we’re operating on a very limited budget. We’re looking for the community support to be able to make this move a reality and to give everybody the creative re-center that they deserve.”
From corks to crayons, Victoria’s first non-profit creative reuse centre has already redistributed thousands of kilograms of materials as it crafts a more sustainable future.
SUPPLY Victoria hopes to re-open at the new location in mid-February.