Lenell Ripley had recently wrapped up a season of mentoring with the Chula League's Little Artist Big Artist program and was left wanting more mentoring time with kids. She had recently learned that Allan Elementary was loosing their art program.
"There are a handful of very underfunded schools in East Austin that could use the extra boost to the arts programs (that little nudge to spark the young creative mind). One of the last projects I made with my little artist (Karina, age 10) was a T-shirt tote. Lined with duct tape, this upcycled t-shirt that was previously hand-screened easily evolved into one of the sturdiest totes around. Karina even uses it for her books now."
Lenell wrote, "I want to make more of these now that there's a bag-ban coming. I want to soften the blow for those stubborn plastic users by handing out totes made by kids in the community FOR their community!" With her $1,000 grant in hand, Lenell bought colorful duct tape, staples, silk screening supplies, thread and upcycled t-shirts. Lenell and a classroom students gathered at Allan Elementary on May 23 and made the first batch of bags.
Lenell said that the children were so excited that they asked their parents to stay after school and continue making bags. She plans on going to three to four more East Side schools to give this workshop and help the communities in need. That's a lot of upcycling!
Funded by Austin, TX (April 2012)