Handmade: Arts & Scraps to do four Detroit pop-ups to increase access

Jocelynn Brown
The Detroit News
Arts & Scraps is located at 16135 Harper in Detroit.

So often in the past, and as recent as last week, I've received emails and calls from readers inquiring about places that accept donations of craft supplies -- everything from yarn and fabric to knitting needles and sometimes sewing machines.

I usually direct them to Arts & Scraps, 16135 Harper in Detroit, a recycling store that accepts donations of clean, mold-free items from factories, businesses and individuals that can be used for craft projects done by children and adults of all skill levels. The items are affordably priced by the staff at Arts & Scraps, and then sold inside the 5,000 square-foot store, which opened on the city's eastside in 1989. 

Just last month, Arts & Scraps became the recipient of a $75,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan (CFSEM), a philanthropic organization creating positive change in the community. Arts & Scraps will use the money to support its new "Neighborhood Network" program, designed to be instrumental in making creativity more accessible to those living in different parts of Detroit.

"Essentially, we're doing a series of pop-ups in four different neighborhoods to give access to our supplies and materials, as well as programs," explained Ang Adamiak, executive director for Arts & Scraps. "In each neighborhood, we're working with a different partner that's already rooted in that community, and we'll be doing a physical pop-up of our store."

The four targeted communities are Grandmont Rosedale, the North End, Southwest and Bagley, and in each area, a specific partner has agreed to help facilitate the program. Partnering with Arts & Scraps are various businesses and organizations, among them are Norwest Gallery of Art (Grandmont Rosedale), Stef-n-Ty (North End), Summer in the City (southwest), and Live6 (Bagley).

"We'll be teaching several classes in some of the neighborhoods, but our greater goal is to give access to Arts & Scraps to everyone. Being so far east, we found it's really hard for everyone to have access, and we know that there's great benefits to having access," said Adamiak.

"Different staff (members) will be in charge of different parts of the program. Store manager Stevie Baka will be in charge of all the retail, outreach manager Olivia Vinckier, programs, and warehouse manager Trice Clark will be in charge of all the materials."

Who's eligible to participate in the networking program? "Anyone and everyone," said Adamiak. "Each neighborhood will be a little different in terms of what will be offered. Some will be parent-child workshops, some make and take, and some will be STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

"The program will run through next June, and we'll be in each physical space for three months as a miniature store." The first pop-up location started this week at Stef-n-Ty, with the Norwest Gallery location set to open in mid-October. The southwest and Bagley pop-up shops are scheduled to open in February and March, respectively.

The idea behind "Neighborhood Network" grew out of a need that Arts & Scraps became aware of while implementing another one of its programs.

"Through another grant, we're working with two schools in Brightmoor. Teachers have access to shopping for free, but we ended up having to take the materials to them. That's when we realized there was an access problem," explained Adamiak. "We wanted to get into different neighborhoods, so we partnered with existing organizations in the neighborhoods so we weren't just parachuting in." 

In addition to craft supplies, monetary donations can be made to Arts & Scraps, as well, and they're tax deductible. Hours of operation for its main location, on Harper in Detroit, are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays.

Well, would you believe just moments after putting the finishing touches on this column, I received a call from a woman who's looking for a place to donate her collection of apparel and upholstery fabric, and craft books? 

Detroit News columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, jbrown@detroitnews.com or Facebook.com/DetroitNewsHandmade. 

Contact Arts & Scraps at (313) 640-4411, or visit artsandscraps.org.