Crafts, creativity and community at ArtsJunktion

An art supply paradise awaits at Arts Junktion, where this mosaic was recently made. /ANNE HAWE

Maybe you’ve never heard of ArtJunktion before. If not, think crafts, creativity and community.

It’s a busy depot that accepts donations of recyclable art supplies which community members can have on a ‘pay what you can’ basis.

It can be difficult to find as it’s tucked away in the Exchange District at 312-B William Avenue. If you’re on foot, you go through the Police Credit Union parking lot and there is a little path to the loading dock side of the Cre8ive building and it’s the first grey steel door you come to.

If you’re driving, you’ll have to find parking and you’ll still have to go around to the back of the building.

Once inside you’ll see aisles of neatly separated materials you might not have considered art supplies before.

The fabric corner of the depot at ArtsJunktion. /ANNE HAWE

If you want high quality art supplies, the Cre8ive Supplies and Services retail art store is right next door. If you have more time, you’re on a budget, you’re eco-conscious and you’re adventurous or any combination of these then ArtJunktion is for you.

The community based charitable organization was founded ten years ago by Andrea Stuart, Melanie Janzen, and Di Harms who were all teachers at the time though two are retired now. They wanted to come up with an environmentally friendly way of reusing things that could be repurposed.

ArtsJunktion is a good place to find materials for dioramas, like this one by Everett Hawe. /Photo by Karla Petri

A similar concept existed in Toronto and Vancouver, it just hadn’t been tried in Winnipeg. They knew that many artists and crafters can’t afford to buy new materials. And, it’s well known that it’s challenging for teachers to find enough materials for class projects.

It takes a lot of cardboard boxes and scraps of fabric sometimes when a classroom of kids are making dioramas. ArtsJunktion fills all those gaps as all the materials you see in the depot are free to take. They’re all donated recycled materials that otherwise were destined for the landfill.

If you quilt or make bags out of pieced bits of fabric you’ll love the fabric corner. Everything is neatly sorted and you’ll find zippers, laces, trims, wools as well as every weight of fabric.

You won’t find reams of paper at ArtsJunktion but there are filing cabinets of single sheets of various papers and offcuts of cardstock. Again it’s not a retail art store but with some rummaging you can find good quality paper.

If you’re working on a project and you need a cardboard tube or a box or a piece of broken jewelery or…? sometimes Arts Junktion will have just what you need to finish the project. And while you’re looking for what you need, you’ll find some paint or a paintbrushes or some pastels or…

There are also all types of craft magazines sorted by subject. The latest editions probably won’t be there and some of them are vintage but inspiration may lie within.

All the donated materials that come in are weighed, as are the materials that leave the depot. You can take as much as you need. They just ask you only take what you can use and don’t hoard materials.

No one monitors what you take although you do sign for the amount that you leave with. Before you leave the depot you weigh what you’re taking on their digital scale and write the amount with your name and affiliation in the log book. I always write none or self employed artist under the affiliation column which is completely fine. If you’re a teacher or affiliated with a non-profit, you can write its name in the book.

Memberships are free and when you sign up you’ll get emails about their upcoming activities. You can also find out what’s coming up and enter to win contests for art supplies on their Facebook page .

One constant is the Art Hives that happen there on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at 5-8 p.m as well as on First Fridays. An ArtHive is a no cost community art and crafting evening where you get together with others to work on your art projects. You are welcome to use any supplies that you find at ArtsJunktion.

The area of the depot where the Art Hives happen. /ANNE HAWE

Some of the Art Hives are themed but there’s always the option to work on your own project. Each is described more fully on their Facebook page.

They are also taking their art making workshops into the wider community. They will be hosting their first Crafts Beer night at Fools and Horses on Mar. 10, 8-11 p.m. It’s a fundraiser for ArtsJunktion and the $10 tickets can be bought there or at Fools and Horses on the evening. The entrance fee covers all supplies for a facilitated craft and the Peg Beer Company is offering pints for just $5.


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