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How Recreative Denver is Making Art More Accessible

The art center and store champions creativity


Find everything from canvases to jewelry making supplies at recreative.
Photo: John Mazzetta • The Sentry

“It’s a little something for everybody” according to Chris Scott, co-founder of ReCreative Denver. His description couldn’t be more accurate. The non-profit provides everything from studio space to a community woodshop, but the focal mission of ReCreative is their so-called “Creative Reuse Store.”

Located in the heart of Denver’s Santa Fe Art District, the store has just about anything an artist could ever need: canvasses, sewing supplies, a variety of fabrics, pens, paintbrushes, and fine art paper. The list goes on, but the prices remain lower than those at larger, corporate art supply stores because ReCreative receives all of its inventory through donations–at a rate of around 100 pounds a day. “I’d say 98% of our donations are from regular people who just have things they no longer need,” by Scott’s estimation, “So in that sense, yes, it’s a very wide variety of sources—a true cross section of local creatives.”

The idea of high-quality art supplies at exceptionally low prices almost seems too good to be true, but the proof is in the price tags, interspersed among shelves of supplies. The selection doesn’t end at more conventional mediums either–woodworking tools, cameras, scrapbooking supplies, and jewelry; if it has to do with creativity, chances are it can be found at ReCreative. 

Beyond the regularly updated selection that can be found in the creative reuse store, ReCreative has an array of in-house resources to assist Denver’s creative community. On the second floor, there are a few sewing machines and a 3-D printer, both of which are free to use.  A number of artist studios occupy the second floor as well, though none are available for rent at the time of writing. ReCreative’s facilities also include a full-service, 800 sq. ft. woodshop which is available for rent for $70 per month, or $700 a year. 

Since its inception in 2016, ReCreative has gone through many iterations and just as many tribulations.  Still, the driving factor of ReCreative has remained consistent. According to their website, “ReCreative Denver is dedicated to cultivating creativity, community, and environmental stewardship through creative reuse and arts education.”

 With items stocked floor to ceiling–rather than in a landfill– it seems ReCreative has realized this ambition. Yet, it is a constant work in progress. “The community response in recent years has been really encouraging,” Scott explained, “but it’s still a struggle, we’re not home free yet.”

With a team of just four employees and no real marketing budget to speak of, ReCreative is a small operation, and it is dependent on support from the community to continue growing and giving back to the community. Customers can expect a welcoming atmosphere, and a surplus of affordable, sustainable products. Plus, for those who aren’t in the market for art supplies but want to make a difference, ReCreative hopes to welcome volunteers back into the store whenever it is safe to do so under local and state health guidelines.

Overall, ReCreative makes otherwise expensive creative mediums accessible, and it deserves to be recognized not only for the resources it provides to Denver’s creative community, but also for the precedent it sets for environmentally conscious shopping. 

This is a selection from the March 10 issue. To view the full issue, visit: https://online.flippingbook.com/view/289566932/

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