Shared Workspace for Creative Reuse

Posted On March 5, 2012

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The Resource Exchange is part of a growing effort in Philly, including Recycled Artists-In-Residency, to divert precious materials from landfills by connecting them to artists and creators. Learn more here. Drop by RE from 10am-6pm on Saturdays or call for an appointment, 267.997.0060. 

The Resource Exchange
2829 Cedar Street (Enter Cambria Street) in Port Richmond

The Resource Exchange [RE], a nonprofit salvage house located in Port Richmond, is gearing up to include an open work space as early as April.  By adding a place to sew, build, craft and teach workshops, RE hopes to complete the circle of creative reuse. “We’re looking to build an ongoing relationship with creative businesses in Philadelphia,” Karyn Gerred explains. “Reuse is a co-working relationship, it requires collaborative work.”

With an ever-changing inventory including fabrics, ribbons, beads, wood, architectural salvage, glitter, leather, glass and unusual odds and ends—sold up to 50% retail value—RE is already a haven for anyone with creative flair.  The workspace will further demonstrate the value of materials saved from the landfill.  “[The Resource Exchange] is not just a repository,” Gerred explains. “It’s about trying to demonstrate that found materials have inherint value by incorporating them back into creative projects.”

RE saves materials from theater and film sets, manufacture cut-offs and basement donations. With each visit, I’ve been delighted to find a rare piece—a yard of high-quality silk or burnt out velvet, a cut of woven leather, squares of copper, strips of dense felt, lumber, medical slides, hi-res photography from another land—just waiting for new use. Gerred, a former scenic painter and graduate of UArts, created RE in response to the “tremendous” waste generated from “temporary” creations in film and theatre. Since there is minimal recycling effort within the industry, Gerred, developed a “thrift-store for the arts.” Although there are costs and effort associated with salvage– coordination, transport, storage, deconstruction, etc–RE aims to make salvaged materials ever more accessible to Philly creatives. Adding shared workspace will help bring the local remake community closer to the supply source and each other.


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