SCRAP is the nation’s oldest creative reuse center, and has been diverting waste from landfills for use as art supplies for over 35 years. Founded in 1976, SCRAP was created to provide art supplies to art teachers in the San Francisco Public School system. In the 1970s, the Neighborhood Arts Program of the San Francisco Arts Commission received a grant from the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act to place professional artists inside schools. Our founder, Anne Marie Theilen, was in charge of this program and oversaw a group of over 140 teaching artists. Unfortunately, there was no materials stipend attached to the grant so the artists struggled to find supplies for the classroom. Meanwhile, businesses in the area were discarding items that are perfectly usable for artwork such as paper with the wrong logo on it, fabric samples from interior designers, industrial discards, and other materials. Anne Marie realized there was an opportunity to solve both problems with one solution and formed SCRAP. Over 37 years later, SCRAP diverts more than 250 tons of reusable art supplies from the wastestream on an annual basis (that’s 500,000 pounds or the equivalent of a blue whale & 33 elephants); these materials end up in the hands over over 38,000 artists, educators, students, and nonprofits throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area. Our creative reuse programming has grown to include workshops, Teacher Materials Giveaways, field trips, free art tables at community events, and creative reuse art exhibitions. All of our activities serve to educate, reuse materials, and inspire creativity.
SCRAP is housed in a 5,000 square foot warehouse provided by the San Francisco Unified School District. In exchange, SCRAP provides services to teachers, parents, and community organizations operating in the schools.
Our creative reuse depot and workshop space is located in the Bayview district of San Francisco. You never know what you’ll find to inspire your next project or finish off a current one. The materials in our depot change everyday, but you’ll always find an abundance of “art parts” and a wide variety of artifacts of inspiring textures, colors, and shapes.
The warehouse is organized by type of material: wood, metal, glass, fabric, paper, images, plastic, natural materials, beads & buttons, arts & crafts, toys, and more. The entrance contains a section of free materials. The rest are available at low-cost. Monies raised from the depot keep SCRAP going, offering free materials pick-ups, low-cost workshops, school field trips, and more.