Upcycle Innovation

submission by reDiscover Center
Upcycle Innovation

Organization Name


reDiscover Center





Please select the one indicator that is most relevant to your project or organization: Arts & Cultural Vitality

What is your idea and how will it impact your indicator?


Ready to Innovate? Imagine an entire generation of young Angelenos who grow up molding, repurposing, and upcycling discarded material bound for the landfill? Thomas Edison said, “To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” The Upcycle Innovation project will provide the “junk” and the tools needed for creative exploration and invention. Thomas Edison also said, “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.” By procuring “junk” for reuse the Upcycle Innovation project makes it easy and affordable to experiment and fail…. and try again.

An award of $100,000 will provide key seed funding for the development of an exciting full service facility, dedicated to providing year-round tinkering, hands-on, arts projects for children, families, teachers and artists. Our project increases the opportunity for cultural participation through engaging artistic activities and fosters support for increased cultural participation. By turning an abundant local resource – trash – in creative material we make it affordable.

What are some of your organization’s most important achievements to date?


Using everyday discards donated by local businesses reDiscover’s range of hands-on, educational programs and workshops has served 24,500 people. We are proud of our Arts Earth Partnership certification and our 2007 Sustainable Quality Award from the City of Santa Monica. We strive to maintain a low carbon footprint and our current warehouse-like facility for reusable waste helps our local businesses and households to do the same.
Our artistic caliber has been recognized by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Santa Monica GLOW Festival (2008 and 2013), the San Jose Zero1 Festival, the Long Beach Arts Council A LOT Initiative and Ryman Arts with a Drawing Inspiration Award.

We are also very proud of the inspiration our center provides to children. As 9 year old Beatriz said during a field trip, “I could live at this place!”

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.


We are currently working with the UCLA Social Enterprise Academy on the business plan for this project. This plan will be completed this May.

Within the non-profit sector we have had success collaborating with other organizations. The Skirball Center, PS Arts, Otis School of Art and Design and the UCLA Lab School are current organizations utilizing our materials and teacher training services. The Upcycle Innovate project will expand our ability to work with them.

ReDiscover was founded by a small group of parents and professional designers. Their expertise will be an asset in the design and fabrication of the Upcyle Innovate workshop.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project. How will you measure success?


Creative reuse, such as the Upcycle Innovation project, provides a triple bottom line for the city by benefiting its people, the environment and the economy. We will measure the project through these three criteria.

People: Our goal will be to serve 8,500 people (doubling the number served last year) in the first year through our various programs. We will also work with our network of educators to refine and evaluate our programs to serve a wide range of learning styles and ages.

Environment and Economy: There are many ways of measuring the positive environmental and economic impact reuse has on our city. These include, but are not limited, to:
• # of tons diverted from the landfill
• $ avoided disposal costs (donor/seller)
• $ avoided purchase costs (recipient/buyer)
• $ value of materials donated (donor)
• $ revenues earned (donor/seller)
• # of job created or retained
• # of families/individuals/organizations assisted

We will work with Arts Earth Partnership and the Reuse Alliance to create an appropriately scaled evaluation tool.

How will your project benefit Los Angeles? Please be specific.

In 2013 our project will benefit Angelenos by providing a full service center for hand-on arts. Our goal is to open the project in the Fall and serve 700 people a month. Additionally, we will save an anticipated 3 tons of reusable materials from the landfill. As the project grows in the coming years these numbers will grow.

ReDiscover Center programs benefit the youth of Los Angeles by providing art-based instruction at a time when school funding cuts have all but eliminated arts education. The programs are designed to promote collaboration, community stewardship, and critical thinking skills. Our Upcycle Innovation project will expand these programs.

The Los Angeles Almanac projects by 2050 the population of our city will be 11,434,565. The impact of such a population boom on the volume of waste without dedicated space and resources to curb behavior cannot currently be measured. By creating a space dedicated to engagement through full-scale arts and tinkering programs, and triangulation with community organizations and leaders, we can realistically reach our goal of an entire generation of Angelenos growing up with the not just the understanding the concept of repurposing, but actually having taken an active part in the process.

What would success look like in the year 2050 regarding your indicator?


In 2050 Los Angeles will still be a global leader in the arts and design fields due to its strong arts education infrastructure. Every child and their various learning styles, will have an outlet for their creativity providing more opportunities for their career and for a vibrant, connected life. The reDiscover Center will be successful when it can support these goals.

15 Pink-talk-bubble-tail

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reDiscover is so inspiring. My kids come almost every weekend to create without boundaries, expectations, or judgement. Using the cast-offs from the reDiscover warehouse, they create robots, racing tracks, leather pouches to hold their treasures. It is magical to watch. That reDiscover is serving the broader community by diverting trash otherwise bound for the landfill is even more inspiring. I urge everyone to come on a Saturday to visit and create with the reDiscover team!

by lynne.brodheadclark@gmail.com
almost 3 years ago | Reply

The ReDiscover Center, here in Mar Vista, is a gem with the opportunity to help our future generations experience of using their imagination to create wonderful projects from what might otherwise be tossed out. We could all use a lesson from reDiscover as we tinker with ways to reuse before we toss out!!!! I love reDiscover and am grateful for Mary Beth and her vision to recreate!!!!
Susan Klein, Sewing Instructor

by Susanclaireklein
almost 3 years ago | Reply

Susan, thank you so much for your support, it's friends and supporters such as yourself that make reDiscover what it is! We always look foward to your workshops here and can't wait until the next time! Again, thank you.

by reDiscoverCenter
almost 3 years ago | Reply

amazing project-- good for kids and the environment! good luck!

by Jen Chiou
almost 3 years ago | Reply

Thanks Jen, we're very excited to see the voting results in 11 days.

by reDiscoverCenter
almost 3 years ago | Reply

reDiscover is also fantastic for artists who use repurposed materials. They have everything from holographic paper to tiles to carpet samples. Lots of fun stuff to play with!

by ctondro
almost 3 years ago | Reply

We love to see what artists create using supplies from our warehouse.

by reDiscoverCenter
almost 3 years ago | Reply

I find great creative energy here! Good luck reDiscover. More places like this would be great!

by yellowblue
almost 3 years ago | Reply

Thank you. We would love to see the spread of hands-on upcycle crafting ideas across all of Los Angeles!

by reDiscoverCenter
almost 3 years ago | Reply

How very, very inspiring...A place away from the TV or Wii for kids to reboot, create, contribute, career-plan and save the planet! Every metro-area should have such a dedicated space. And to think my generation was making art with popsicle sticks that still wound up in the trash! Good Luck ReDiscover Center!

by jill.roberts.3363
almost 3 years ago | Reply

Our thoughts exactly...we would love to be able to serve more Angeleno-based kids and this grant opoortunity could help us do just that! Thank you so much for sharing!
P.S.: I used to make picture frames out of popsicle sticks.

by reDiscoverCenter
almost 3 years ago | Reply

ReDiscover is amazing. When I saw businesses drop off materials bound for landfill, and then saw teachers scoop them up for classroom projects and kids building cool new robots with these donations, I saw synergy between business, education and conservation.

by birdie.mendoza.96
almost 3 years ago | Reply

Thanks everybody! We are creating a creative synergy with the help of the community. Thanks for your interest!

by venetian323
almost 3 years ago | Reply

It's heartwarming to see the full process, from donation to the final project, but it's the process of seeing the children plan then work with the material that is truly inspirational. Knowing that the material they're working with could've been in a landfill but is instead is being used to foster creativity and problem solving is fantastic.

by reDiscoverCenter
almost 3 years ago | Reply


by lynne.brodheadclark@gmail.com
almost 3 years ago | Reply

$1,000,000 in total grants
Circle-1-inactive Step1-title-submission-inactive

Submission Began
Tuesday, February 26

Submission Ended
Thursday, March 28
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-2-inactive Step2-title-voting-inactive

Voting Began
Tuesday, April 02

Voting Ended
Wednesday, April 17
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-3 Step3-title
Homeboy Industries: Hope Has An Address
Homeboy Industries: Hope Has An Address

Winner Announced
Wednesday, May 08

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