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June 13, 2012

Net+Positive Roots New ReUse Efforts at the Foundry; Hosts Super Saturday Sale

Buffalo Bottle Craft's David Sheffield deals and offers lessons in glass reuse

By Michael Gainer, ReUse Action/Net+Positive Foundation

The Foundry is a new destination in Buffalo bringing together doers, innovators, and action-seekers.  Our primary function is to provide affordable work spaces for artisans and artists, particularly artisans who are incorporating found, reclaimed, or alternative materials into their creations.  We dream about having weavers and welders, woodworkers and glassworkers, carvers and potters, all under one roof; all experimenting with their craft while helping to build their small enterprises.  For many of us involved, we get new ideas and perspective from the organic process of discussion, debate, and exchange with the others with whom we work.

The Foundry hosts Super Saturday Sales once a month to offer the community a glimpse into the lives of these artisans.  This Saturday, June 16th, from 12 – 5pm, and for every Second Saturday into the future, you can visit the Foundry at 298 Northampton Street in Buffalo.  You’ll have the opportunity to shop for local crafted, artisan products; learn from various artisan demonstrations; hear music; eat some good food; and witness the transformation of the space as it undergoes growth and development.

Emily Gaines and Megan Callahan welcome visitors to the first Super Saturday Sale in May as Bekah Starr enjoys from a former church pew marked for sale

The Foundry has grown out of a larger effort in our neighborhood, to THINK and ACT outside of the box! We believe in most collaborative efforts that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Net+Positive is a big-picture effort with the intention of energizing communities through innovation, action, and entrepreneurship; regenerating neighborhoods through sensible housing and green space initiatives; and empowering residents through education and training.  It’s an effort to create social, ecological, and neighborhood wealth.

Super Saturday Sale customers stocking up at the Foundry

When a group of us got together a few months ago to talk about initiating a new nonprofit in Buffalo, one of the first questions we asked was, “Does Western New York NEED another not-for-profit organization?”  We critically examined our intentions and vision for the future of Buffalo, meshed that together with our own experiences and interests, and tried to identify what was missing.

Given that many of us were involved in the founding of Buffalo ReUse, we have a strong connection to the East Side of Buffalo.  Several of us live there; we know so many of the neighbors and have connections with a lot of individuals and groups who have a sincere commitment to creating positive momentum for their community.  Our collective experience at Buffalo ReUse was completely inspiring in that we saw a new effort come to life, mature, and contribute tremendously to a community.  The tumultuous period that resulted in a near 100% turnover in staff was humbling and discouraging.

Yet, during the better times, we were a part of something transformative, an effort that brought new hope and action to a long-forgotten neighborhood; educational opportunities, jobs, and resources to the residents, students, and visitors from across Western New York; and a culture and ethos of fun, support, strong relationships, and community engagement.  These were our most significant lessons and values which we embraced, that gave meaning to our lives, and fueled our daily work.  We agreed that any new effort would be built on a firm foundation of these values.

Rusted Grain's Megan McNally (left) is a core member of Net+Positive and at the Foundry

At Buffalo ReUse, we worked to create a destination – a place where people always felt welcome and could find materials, but also get answers to their questions.  We planned activities and events so they could both learn more about the planet and themselves, while also getting to know their neighbors and other folks in the city.  We hosted service events to encourage greater understanding between people from very diverse backgrounds.  For these reasons, the “store,” commonly called “ReUse,” was teeming with life and activity.  We began to think about other services that we could offer the community that could in turn provide an engaging environment for action.   This was where the idea of the Foundry was born.

We believe efforts can be most inclusive when there is a place, a space, to invite people into, to get them involved.  When Buffalo ReUse moved out of 298 Northampton Street last October, there was an opening and a new opportunity available in our neighborhood.  Now, the Foundry is developing to be the home and base of efforts for Net+Positive.  The intention of the Foundry is to support innovative people, creative business and artisanship, and to create a gathering place for community initiatives.  You’ll learn more about the initiatives of Net+Positive in upcoming posts, but we hope you’ll join us this Saturday, June 16th, from 12-5pm for our Super Saturday Sale!  Support artisans and Buffalo small businesses; learn something new; get active!

Food and Entertainment

  • Music by the Fairweather Foes
  • Strawberry Shortcake harvested locally from community gardens
  • Kid’s Tent!

Vendors (click links for more info)

Buffalo Bottle Craft's David Sheffield deals and offers lessons in glass reuse

Craft demonstrations by the following local artisans:

  • Dave Sheffield – making wine bottles into wine glasses
  • Crooked Pinkies Art- making decorated paper
  • Rusted Grain – to be determined
  • More . . .

The Allentown and Allen West Art Fesivals pushed this month’s sale to the third Saturday; Second Saturday Sale returns to regular scheduling July 14. More information at http://netpositivefoundation.org/events/.

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