I began Chicago Lost and Found in 2007 because I saw a need. As creative programs continue to disappear and budgets for the arts are cut, I feel compelled to help reverse this tragedy. With limited funds but a lot of passion, I can do my part by using the junk most people throw away. Where most people see trash, I see beauty.
Chicago Lost and Found is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creative transformation. We are committed to rescuing the discarded and unwanted. Through re-purposing, we create value, which in turn provides creative opportunities to build and support the community.
The centerpiece of the organization is the Creative Studio. This is where Chicago Lost and Found provides employment for artists, seamstresses, carpenters and other craftsmen to create art from junk and discarded materials found in alleys, dumpsters, construction and demolition sites or anyplace where refuse hides. Finished works are sold through exclusive retail establishments and the Chicago Lost and Found website. All proceeds fund our educational outreach.
We are preparing to initiate new creative programs through the educational outreach at Chicago Lost and Found to launch in early 2011. This rollout will include classes and workshops for children and adults, focusing on reusable products such as plastics, paper, glass, electronic parts, textiles and natural fibers. We have formed partnerships with the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago and Hawthorne Scholastic Academy. We will continue to create new partnerships and programs in the future to expand our reach and increase our impact.
This is a very exciting time for Chicago Lost and Found as we introduce many new programs and involve more and more people that are stepping up to make a difference. I am thrilled to announce our Christmas tree skirt is featured in the November holiday issue of Cooking with Paula Deen. With the distribution reaching 7.5 million readers, you can only imagine what’s going on in our studio trying to keep up with the orders. I feel like I’m sewing in my sleep most nights.
While launching a nonprofit such as Chicago Lost and Found presents constant challenges, my enthusiasm and commitment have stayed on course. I am passionate about this mission and believe when we work together, the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. This theory is evident in the pieces we create from junk.
A unique facet of Chicago Lost and Found is that everyone can be involved. Whether you contribute financially or give your time, become a student or teacher, volunteer or have junk we can use, we hope you will jump on this wagon as we move forward to make a difference.