Scrapping for the Arts – a community collaborative

16 May

A finalist in Creative Tampa Bay’s 10/100/1000 projectScrapping for the Arts is a grassroots alternative fundraising project that supports the local arts community. The project is run by a local arts collaborative by the name of Experimental Skeleton, inc. The organization secures donations of recyclable metals from businesses and individuals and transports them to local scrap yards, funneling the resulting money into arts venues. It’s a win:win – donors get a tax deduction for materials they are no longer using, sustainability is promoted by the use of recycling, and the arts ultimately benefit. The program also encourages the interconnection of arts organizations and businesses, which only stands to benefit the economy as a whole.

The inspiration for Scrapping for the Arts came from the desire to do more for the arts community than a typical fundraiser, which usually involves lots of work with an unknown amount of risk and payoff. Joe Griffith, Director of Experimental Skeleton, has always had a passion for creating alternatives to the normal templates used in the arts community. One example of this is Flight 19. In collaboration with the City of Tampa, this alternative to the typical gallery structure is a visual laboratory that gives artists the freedom to push the boundaries of how an exhibition typically functions.

Scrapping for the Arts has the potential to expand its reach beyond the initial obvious benefits. It encourages a sustainable community by use of recycling , not to mention enhancing overall thoughtfulness about our community’s resources. It could easily be expanded for use by other non-profits who could encourage their board members/business owners to donate their scrap metal.

Experimental Skeleton is currently testing the viability of the model on small venues that are important to the local arts scene. The next step is to take it to a larger level with commitments from larger donors and businesses. Current supporters include West Tampa Center for the Arts, Tempus Projects and Hampton Arts Management.

They are looking the following:

  • A warehouse or other large area where donations could be kept safely until transported for sale
  • Large bins to give to donor businesses for collection
  • Businesses that generate drop metal from fabrication or demolition that produces scrap wiring or metal
  • Veterinarians that have large amounts of cat and dog food cans
  • Individuals or businesses that dispose of large appliances
  • Air conditioning businesses that would donate all or part of what they usually scrap themselves
  • Any other business or individual that has scrap metal to donate

If you are interested in helping, contact Joe Griffith; 813-217-1240.

By: Megan Hendricks
BUZZ editor, Creative Tampa Bay
Source: Joe Griffith, Director of Experimental Skeleton
Also published in Creative Tampa Bay’s buzz, May 18, 2011

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