Going for Green in Lyons
By Kathleen Thurmes
Nestled in an unassuming strip mall on the northern edge of the bustling 29th Street Mall in Boulder is a small-but-expanding shop dedicated to serving two types of people that Boulder County seems to be teeming with: recyclers and artists. Part thrift store, part craft shop, and part art gallery, the Art Parts Creative Reuse Center serves as a bridge between these two mainstays of local culture.
Art Parts accepts donations of arts and crafts materials and sells the donated items at significantly discounted prices to help local artists. The items that the shop carries tend to appeal to creative types, but you don’t have to be a professional artist to appreciate the worlds of possibilities that unfold as you drift from Art Parts’ paper section to the metals to the textiles.
According to Denise Perreault, who founded Art Parts in 2011, many people find inspiration in the shop: Teachers, exhausted from spending their own money to ensure their students have the supplies they need to succeed; non-profits, perpetually strapped for cash and looking for new ways to communicate their messages; and parents with kids, looking for an outlet for their creative energy.
“This place of possibilities also needs to supply inspiration,” said Perreault. That’s why Art Parts also features a gallery called, Bricolage. It is one of only three galleries in the nation that specialize in bricolage, mixed media, and assemblage genres. Art Parts embodies the spirit of bricolage, a French word meaning, roughly, “using the materials at hand,” making an apt name for their in-shop gallery.
Art Parts’ extensive list of accepted donations, which can be found on their website (artpartsboulder.org), spans everything from the everyday (rubber bands, yarn, and office paper) to the unique (pasta machines, mannequins, antique doilies), and you’ll find it all at their shop at 2870 Bluff Street.
“Donations for the shop come from many different sources,” said Perreault. “Students moving out of the residence halls, seniors who are downsizing, and everyone in between. Artists will often leave the entire contents of their art studio to us in their will. They know that these materials that they’ve lovingly curated will be honored and treasured and given new life.”
“In many ways, we try to fill the gap between the other recycling entities in Boulder County,” said Perreault. “For instance, ReSource only accepts wood that is at least four feet long. So we only take wood that is less than four feet. Thrift stores won’t accept candles that have been burned; we only accept burned candles.”
So next time you have leftover art supplies or items that aren’t accepted at thrift stores, ReSource, or the CHaRM, see if they’re on Art Parts’ list of accepted donations. Better yet: give Art Parts a call to make sure they’re accepting the items you are donating at that time. Who knows, the leftover paint from your “Blue Period” could become the keystone material for someone else’s masterpiece.