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Upcycle Duluth

Rockosopher just got off the phone with Duluth City Mayor, Emily Larson. She pitched Mayor Larson Upcycle Duluth, the mayor took notes, asked questions, and thanked Rock Rat for taking the initiative and time to contact her office. She is going to see where this may fit into the works of the City of Duluth, MN. Frickin' nailed it.

What is Upcycle Duluth?

City-run Neighborhood/Green Urban Improvement Program providing art salvage materials for purchase with table and chair space for folks to play with different odd materials for brain fodder.


Take a vacant space and renovate it using community folks and let teens or kids help where able.

Support the cost of maintaining the space as clean and safe by running an Upcycled Art Supply Shop out of the same building, from donations from other businesses, private art donations, etc. Citizens sign up for membership to Upcycle Duluth so that folks who use the space are catalogued and have voting power in its use. Any profit beyond staff and location costs then goes into a community fund that can be displayed for public viewing. acting as a petri dish for upcycle community projects. Open House hours will provide neutral space for socializing, exploring arts and crafts, studying, meeting people, acting as a petri dish for upcycle community projects for fertile little young brains. Plus, government materials which would otherwise be unavailable for reuse (because giving them or selling them without citizen input would seem arbitrary and therefore frowned upon) would then be available to be sent to Upcycle Duluth! And it would be kosher because it would be an extension of the city government, say Utilities or Pubic Works. As a neutral, indoor, public space without provided food or drinks, the space can be signed up for upcycle art projects, groups, field trips, outreach seminars, education lessons, or a local art gallery. Give teens and young adults a place to explore creativity, seek job experience, pitch project ideas of their own, or mingle with community professionals.

How do you propose to achieve this?

10 Step Recipe for Hot & Ready Upcycle Duluth

1) Identify & Acquire Unused space

2) Secure Government Approval

3) Secure Community Approval & Involvement

4) Convert Space to Safe Space

5) Establish Membership Process for Users

6) Establish Open House Hours

7) Establish Upcycle Art Supply Shop

8) Recruit Youths to Upcycle Materials from Community Sources (supervised)

9) Establish Tool Library

10) Provide a Physical Location for Ecologically Responsible Local Arts & Engagement

Where else has this model been successful?

Art Scraps, Twin Cities:

Tinkertopia, Tacoma:

Tacoma Tool Library, Tacoma:

All Ages Venue, Tacoma:

Art Salvage, Spokane:

Urban Art Coop, Spokane:

Potters Guild, Spokane:

What if it never takes off?

Engagement is vital. Gotta' try. Stay safe.

Apparently, Mayor Larson almost never takes cold-call idea pitches from citizens, but this idea touches on community engagement, creativity, and equity, so she wanted to personally call and hear my thoughts herself. *hair flip* Just another day living the rockosophical bird, rocky bliss.

With love & nothing else,

Rock Rat