Reduce, Reuse, Create: Where Frugality and Art Intersect

June 8th, 2011

Andrea Stoner Leaman ’98 was finishing a master’s degree in social work at Temple University in 2009 when she first heard of “Creative Reuse Centers” – organizations that connect excess materials with “anyone who can use them creatively.” Though nearly 100 CRCs operate across the country, the only other one in Pennsylvania was in Pittsburgh. Stoner Leaman thought the concept was perfectly suited to Lancaster County, a place, she writes, “where thriftiness, practicality and creativity intersect.”

Andrea Stoner Leaman

Andrea Stoner Leaman '98 is founding director of Lancaster Creative Reuse, a non-profit enterprise.

Working with a group of like-minded volunteers, Stoner Leaman formed a partnership with an existing arts nonprofit, held a fundraising drive, and used Facebook to raise awareness about the project.

On August 6, 2010, Lancaster Creative Reuse opened its doors in downtown Lancaster as a project of the nonprofit Keystone Art & Culture Center. The store sells surplus supplies, business overstock, and samples and seconds at low prices. It also serves as a resource for teachers, kids, parents, artists, crafters, youth organizations, preschools and summer camps. Since opening last summer, Lancaster Creative Reuse has added a space in the store for children to create things with reused supplies.

In the same spirit at EMU, Cyndi Gusler ’93, MFA, associate professor of art, often uses cast-off objects as raw material for her three-dimensional pieces of art. She has directed Trash Fashion shows for which students create astonishing outfits from scrounged materials. For an example of this, view

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