The Scrap Exchange will host a Grand Opening celebration on Sunday, October 5 from 12-7pm to celebrate their new home at 2050 Chapel Hill Road in Durham. The celebration will be emceed by Emmy award-winning children’s TV personality Willa Brigham. Festivities will include a ribbon cutting ceremony with State Senator Mike Woodard and his wife Sarah at 1pm, a parade through the facility led by the Bulltown Strutters, artist demos in the Design Center, free art-making in the Make-n-Take Room, Don’t Waste Durham’s first trash-free food truck rodeo, Junk Jams, live music from local bands and a fund-raising raffle to win a Naked Elf car.
The Scrap Exchange is a national-model creative reuse arts center founded in 1991. After more than two decades of occupying subsidized or leased spaces throughout Durham, the organization purchased the abandoned Center Theater and Duke Surplus building in the Shoppes at Lakewood in December 2013. The Scrap Exchange spent 9 months repairing and upfitting the building for occupancy, and then moved into the facility in August 2014. Since moving in, staff, board and volunteers have been busy creating unique reuse-centric spaces within the property to embody the organization’s reuse mission and to support specific programming needs like a retail store, art gallery, outreach events and open studio community spaces stocked with materials and equipment for onsite use.
During the Grand Opening, visitors will be able to explore and use the community spaces for free. Art-making will be available in the Make-n-Take Room, a traditional Scrap Exchange space that hosts Open Studio programs daily for groups, families and individuals. Junk Jams will be scheduled outside throughout the afternoon and open to anyone who wishes to participate.
Visitors can also view the inaugural Cameron Gallery exhibit, “Faces and Spaces” featuring works by Eric Kelly. The Cameron Gallery is a new exhibition space in the reuse arts center, named after long-time supporter Danny Cameron. Executive Director Ann Wooodward explains, “Danny Cameron has supported the organization in so many ways—from volunteering his time and expertise to the organization in the early 1990s, to donating amazing store and studio materials, to offering operational and building support from the Dan Cameron Family Foundation, to investing in a future that embodies creative reuse in communities, and a place to exhibit the work.” Cameron, himself an artist, talked about why he has supported the nonprofit’s mission for so many years. “ The list of reasons why The Scrap Exchange excites me is long: Helping our environment, not only by educating us about the reuse of materials, but by making that process a fun adventure. Providing an abundance of activities to bring out the creativity lurking in all of us. And maybe most important, contributing to world peace by bringing diverse people together and thereby building a spirit of community.” The Grand Opening Celebration is also generously supported by Cameron.
Artists will be on hand during the Grand Opening to demonstrate how to use the assorted equipment available in the Design Center. The Design Center has expanded to 1200 square feet and includes a wide variety of machines and tools available to the public for sewing, crafting and art-making projects. Equipment includes sewing machines, sergers, die-cut machines, a hot-iron press, paper cutters, mat cutters and more. The center also includes a library of art and craft books and several work tables. The Design Center is used for creative reuse programs that include classes, free community meetups and drop-in open studio participants.
Other parts of the center continue to evolve within the facility. The retail store now includes a Free Zone where materials are offered to the public for free. Free materials are subject to change with availability and currently include 3-ring binders, craft magazines, sewing patterns and holiday decorations. In another part of the building, a Wood and Metal Shop is under construction and will some day provide a community work space for artists and makers who work with reclaimed wood and metal materials.
The grounds outside The Scrap Exchange are also getting a makeover, reuse style! Neglected landscaping is slowly getting cleaned up and existing plants are being dressed with layers of burlap coffee sacks and tumbled glass and ceramic “mulch” that was created from previous Smashfest events hosted by The Scrap Exchange. A proposed sculpture garden is emerging with the first sculptures already set in place by artist Jonathan Bowling.
The Grand Opening celebration begins at noon on October 5th and runs till 7pm. A full schedule of events can be found on the Scrap Exchange website at www.scrapexchange.org. The Grand Opening is free and open to the public. Raffle tickets are currently on sale at The Scrap Exchange to win a Naked Elf car; the winner will be announced at 6pm during the Grand Opening. The Naked Elf car raffle is sponsored by Organic Transit, Shoeboxed and the Durham Chamber of Commerce. Raffle ticket proceeds benefit The Scrap Exchange. For more information, call 919-688-6960.