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UpCycle is a place where people of all ages have the opportunity to experiment, create and play with a variety of media for artistic use and expression. In 2017, UpCycle provided direct programming for Alexandria residents and engaged the immediate community and beyond in more than 5,000 hours of creative reuse arts programming. Our programs, events and outreach include:

Materials Playgroup - Exploratory and sensory activities for children ages 1.5-4 years old. Children explore clay, painting, light and shadow and MANY ways to manipulate and play with materials.
​Tinker Time
Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings, children and their families participate in art experiences for a minimal fee. Participants explore our unique collection of materials, experiment with possible uses and create original works of art.
After School Enrichment Programs
Tinker Time at Casa Chirilagua, the ACPS LINK Club at Brent Place and for Jefferson-Houston School.
Scouts, School Groups and Parties
Children have opportunities to explore the properties of materials, make plans for their use and create with reuse materials.
Camps
Participants build upon experiences and create final products over a series of days. Children experiment and try techniques with great satisfaction. In 2017 we teamed up with Local Motion Project for three weeks of Art in Motion camp.
​Professional Development
Workshops for educators incorporate reuse arts materials into developmentally appropriate classroom activities that promote cognitive and motor development. Teachers learn how clay, observational drawing, light and shadow, paint mixing, wire work, sewing and sensory experiences can enhance their learning environments.
Partner Events
Collaborating with other organizations connects our community and introduces new audiences to UpCycle’s mission. Events shown with Arts on the Horizon and First Night with the AWLA.
Outreach in ACPS
Programs demonstrate to teachers and students that waste materials can be a resource for developing skills, scientific observations and artistic expression.
Community Events
Creative reuse stations at the Maker Faire, Alexandria's Earth Day Event, Art on the Avenue and Arts Safari at the Torpedo Factory.
Fundraising Events
Our Spring2ACTion fundraising campaign included a pizza box art contest with Cafe Pizziaolo and St. Elmo's Coffee Pub. Season’s Treatings is our annual holiday party where we reuse  Halloween candy to decorate gingerbread houses.
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UpCycle and the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria kicked off First Night Alexandria festivities this year with an event to help get animals adopted. Over 80 children attended the event where they drew, colored, painted and created collages of animals available for adoption. All of the artwork was photographed and a group of animal winners was selected to be displayed on both organizations’ Facebook pages for friends to “Like.” The artwork with the most “Likes” by noon on Friday, January 5, 2018 wins an AWLA Executive Director led tour of the shelter for up to 20 guests and all animal winners receive gift certificates to UpCycle Creative Reuse Center. 

All of the entries are posted below:
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A very warm thank you to everyone who joined us for our gingerbread house decorating party on Sunday, December 10th at the Durant Arts Center, where we reused Halloween candy to celebrate the holiday season. It was wonderful to gather with friends and see so many creative ways to design with candy; most of it was donated to us after Halloween. Now that's creative reuse! 

Huge thanks goes out to our lead event sponsor, the Liz Luke Team of Long & Foster Real Estate, as well as Laura Campbell Architecture and all of the amazing volunteers who made the event possible. 

We hope to see you all again next year!
Thank you and happy holidays from all of us at UpCycle!
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" Every week Sam learns something new at Playgroup and tries it at home."
For young children learning is a creative process. It is also organic. They grow their knowledge informally through imitation and trial by error. In their early years learning is a great source of joy. They are eager to practice new knowledge and understandings; they work to apply these in new ways and  in new situations.  
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One example of building on experiences is the ongoing exploration we are doing of a tree limb. The first week the children painted the branch and all its limbs. While painting they needed to look over, under and around the branches to spy areas that needed more paint. The second week we supplied tubes which the children enjoyed slipping over the branches. It was as though they were "dressing" the tree. Last week, we removed the tubes from the limb and placed the limb upright in a jar with sand. The children  painted the tubes and could then climb a stepladder and reach out and place their tubes on a branch. The children were careful climbing the step ladder. They liked the challenge. How capable they felt!
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It was good to be back after the winter break, and to also put some routine in our days! 
On our first day the children investigated the light tables and our light projector. They placed items over the light and noticed their effects on color and aspects of light and shadow. In the hallway we like to offer a gross motor exploration. The week the children crawled in large boxes and played with the light from flashlights. We continue to have centers for painting and clay work adding various formats to challenge and add elements of surprise to challenge the children's thinking. We always provide a "skills" table where children with their adult can work on scissoring, taping, gluing and mark making. See you all next week!
Eve and Courtney
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This session's theme, "Color and Texture," guides how we choose materials and design experiences for your children. In any given activity we like to offer contracting materials. Children will be painting and drawing on a variety of surfaces, making prints in clay with various objects, and constructing  with metal objects to make designs and express the idea of "face."

This session the children are exploring the idea of weaving by making things stay on/in a weaving structure made of chicken wire. In order to introduce the idea of weaving we play a  game of "passing" a strip of ribbon like material back and forth through holes in the chicken wire (there is a child on one side and an adult on the other). For younger children, there are materials like feathers, plastic leaves or fabric flowers which can be "poked" or tucked in a hole of the wire. 

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Welcome to all our Playgroup families!
Each week we set up a variety of experiences for your children to investigate and explore. These always include some painting, glueing and cutting, collage, clay and mark making
​ ( pencils, crayons, markers). The children are able to choose the activities that interest them and stay as long as they like at any given center. This is a time for you to follow your child's enjoyment and share in their discoveries and have fun together. Toward the end of each day we present a gross motor activity. Balls and ramps, as we had last week, is a favorite! We always end with reading stories.  
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Whether at home or at Playgroup, children need extend periods of time to get engaged in activities. They need opportunities to master skills by repetition   and testing how materials behave. There is a lot to learn about the properties of glue and how to make tape stick and hold things together. Over the past few weeks the children have been learning how to use pipettes to move water. Now they are busy moving the primary colors (red, yellow and blue) and  becoming aware of how the colors are changing. They continue to be fascinated with the light projector and now with their shadows. 
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