Photo Credit: Yassmin Salem
Story by: Sarah D’Alexander
Yassmin Salem, Murals at Mason Program Manager with Mason Exhibitions, helps divert waste while supporting students by creating a free, art supply, sharing resource at the School of Art. The Free Art Supply Cabinet is a socially-conscious resource that provides access to valuable art supplies that aren’t always affordable, promotes a culture of sharing amongst students, and encourages recycling unused or unneeded materials instead of throwing them away. The emphasis on social issues is rooted in Mason Exhibitions’ mission and partnership with Provisions Research Center for Art and Social Change, which offers books on 33 social change topics as content resources for artists and researchers. Provisions is located in L001 of the Art and Design building.
“Donating unwanted materials, repurposing items you already have, and sharing excess supplies are practical ways to incorporate sustainability into your own life and build community with others,” says Salem.
Undergraduate art students can spend hundreds of dollars per semester on art supplies including paint, brushes, sketchbooks, pens, and canvases. Once the semester is over, many items are left unused and could be given a second life. Salem recognized the opportunity to coordinate a centralized resource to redistribute these items. Various forms of art-making are part of hobbies and self-care practices, so this organically lends as a resource for the entire Mason community.
Inside the Free Art Supply Cabinet, you can expect to find things like beads, pastels, charcoal, canvases, scrap paper, sketch books, resin molds, ribbons and yarn, office supplies, and other mixed media materials. The Free Art Supply Cabinet is located in room 2046 of the Art and Design building on the Fairfax campus.
With support from the Patriot Green Fund, a grant from Mason Facilities that allows the campus community to contribute to solutions that reduce Mason’s environmental impact, Salem applied for the cabinet and shelves needed to make the Free Art Supply Cabinet accessible to Mason students.
“This is a wonderful example of a Patriot Green project,” says Sarah D’Alexander, Sustainability Program Manager of the Patriot Green Fund. “Not only does it help prevent unnecessary waste, but it creates a culture of reuse and resource sharing at Mason that we hope other departments are inspired to adopt.”
If you have excess office or art supplies to share with the Mason community, please visit room 2046 of the Art and Design building during school hours to donate. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or @muralsatmason on Instagram and Facebook if there are questions about the Free Art Supply Cabinet.
If you have a project idea of your own to make Mason more sustainable, let the Patriot Green Fund know through the project interest form.