Art Exchange turns one person’s leftovers into a work of art

Posted on: June 29th, 2019 by
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REGINA – A local artist is turning a non-descript building on the corner of Dewdney Avenue and Broad Street into a hub where creative minds can swap supplies.

The Art Supply Exchange opened its doors for the first time Friday afternoon, months after founder Erika Fulnovic began collecting donations.

“We had some great donations of fabrics over the summer. We have frames, paper, paint,” she said. “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.”

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The hope is to extend the life-cycle of a product, while at the same time helping starving artists get the materials they need to express themselves.

“Get items out of disuse, divert these from the landfill, from your recycling bins. Give them to artists or educators who might not have the budgets,” Fulnovic explained.

Other artists are keen to support the initiative.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said professional artist Terri Fidelak. “I think Regina needs to have better access to art supplies for the art community here and the Exchange is great because it’s accessible to everyone.”

The start-up is borrowing space from CARFAC Saskatchewan, so the rent is cheap. The Exchange will also be run by volunteers, meaning there’s little overhead cost.

Those savings are passed along to shoppers. To participate, shoppers buy a $10 punch card and fill up a small, medium or large reusable bag with supplies. A $1 small bag is the size of a bathroom tote, while the large size $10 option is comparable to a large grocery bag.

Anyone is invited to donate items to the cause.

“I definitely have things that I intend to bring here. From paper to pastels to paint, to random strange items that might be used in collage or sculpture. Like a lot of artists, you end up with a lot of things you think you’ll use and then you never use. Your studio ends up like a hoarders den.”

Fulnovic hopes to be able to put out new stock every Monday.

“I’m hoping people are excited for Tuesdays now. It’s a day with a bad rap so we want people to be excited to come and see what’s on our shelves.”

That leaves Tuesday through Friday for the public to browse through the small space. The Art Supply Exchange will be open the same hours as CARFAC.

Once the initiative has established a solid customer base, it will look to expand its donation program to other locations around town.

“Places like the university, where people maybe take an art class one semester and don’t want to use charcoal again,” Fulnovic explained.

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