HOW ART OF RECYCLE STARTED
Art of Recycle began in 2008 in a little 10x10 booth in a downtown Lancaster consignment shop.
Art of Recycle was started by Mr. Nobody Special and Chelas Montanye, two artists who had moved in to Lancaster PA area and were looking for art related social activities for adults. Chelas was suffering from undiagnosed health problems and was looking for a therapeutic outlet to assist her with healing. After discovering that there were not many art groups for adults, Chelas and Nobody decided to start up a meet-up group so that like-minded artists could gather together and create in a social atmosphere. The meet-up group grew to over a hundred followers in the first year, with artists traveling several hours to find a welcoming and accepting artistic environment. Puppetry, mask making, bird feeders and fairy houses, all from recycled materials, were some of the workshops that were offered.
Chelas and Mr. Nobody Special hosted their meet-up group in their little space, as well as in several downtown Lancaster art galleries and restaurants, before moving into their own 800sf studio in downtown Lancaster. With over several hundred members, people began to donate their excess materials to help support the endeavors of the Artist Studio and the free workshops that they hosted. In 2011, Chelas' health began to deteriorate and the travel from their home in Ephrata to downtown Lancaster became too difficult to make on a daily basis causing Chelas and Nobody to close their studio.
27 N State St was a neglected building in the heart of downtown Ephrata, a few blocks from Chelas and Nobody's home. The space was perfect to host their free recycled art workshops, but the cost of the building and overhead was more than the two artists could afford out of pocket. Over the four years that the duo had been teaching the workshops, Art of Recycle members had been donating lots of recycled art materials. Chelas and Nobody realized that those excess materials could be turned into funding for the community space that they had always envisioned.
Art of Recycle was formally incorporated as a non-profit on February 29, 2012. After several month of renovating the space into the recycled wonderland that it is today, Chelas and Nobody officially opened the doors to the public on June 19, 2012 and Art of Recycle was born.
Art of Recycle's free crafting area, the Craft Castle, was built so that Chelas and Nobody's children had a place to socially and artistically thrive while Chelas and Nobody maintained the art center and taught recycled art workshops. Little did they know that the Craft Castle would be as important to other families as it was for their own, and as the children grew and developed so did Art of Recycle. Today, in 2016, the Craft Castle is utilized by a diverse range of people, with an average of 100 to 150 people per day visiting Art of Recycle's free crafting area.
Art of Recycle's programs and staff have grown and developed since its inception. On November 1st 2016, Art of Recycle moved into a much larger facility at 27 Cloister Ave in downtown Ephrata. Art of Recycle now offers a wide range of workshops several days a week and the thrifty craft store has increased its inventory to a greater variety of art supplies.
All of Chelas and Nobody's work, over the years, at Art of Recycle is volunteer. They feel passionate about being the change that they want to see in the world. They look forward to serving the people of Ephrata for many years to come.