Upcycle St. Clair

St Clair Superior Development Corporation

Funding Received: 2013
Cleveland, OH
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
July 31, 2013


Experimentation is a core value of our project and we’re fortunate to have energized creative people on our project team working together to make St. Clair Avenue a vibrant place.

We’ve contracted with a real estate company to help us find the right spaces to activate St. Clair Avenue with our creative businesses and rotating pop-up shops. Our timeline to be in the brick and mortar locations is October and we’re working to cluster them together as much as possible. The theme of upcycling is the backbone of our project and we define it both by tangible art and goods that come from reimagining cast away items as well as reinterpreting spaces and places that others don’t place value in. There are some real gems in this neighborhood and we see our project team as responsible for polishing them up and sharing them with others. One way we’re doing that is through the Cleveland Flea monthly market.

Our partner Indie Foundry developed The Cleveland Flea marketplace in January. Clevelanders love festivals and the Flea, happening every second Saturday of the month, is the perfect venue to invite others in, spotlight different corners of the neighborhood, and create interest and buzz about what’s going on in St. Clair. The July Flea took place in the parking lot of a local restaurant called Sterle’s Slovenien Country House, its third location in four months. It was the largest Flea yet, with a few thousand shoppers and visitors strolling around more than 100 tents of local art, handmade goods, vintage finds, and local food purveyors. It was vibrancy at its best and the sunny summer weather made it a perfect Saturday to be outside.

We hosted an upcycling tent where we laid out enticing scrap materials with scissors and glue. Paired up with a few excellent volunteers to welcome people to craft for free, it was a popular activity for kids and adults. We heard lots of enthusiasm when we talked about launching a creative reuse center with workshops and hands-on upcycling this fall, and we collected email addresses to keep our visitors in the loop.

Recent Wins

We have a project emblem! Our lead artist came to this project with bold shiny flowers crafted from pop bottles that she designed a few years ago. There’s something about this flower that speaks to us all about the beauty that can come from materials (and places) that others cast away. So we’ve made this flower the emblem of Upcycle St. Clair and we’ve been pulling it into decorative elements for some large events this month (like our annual meeting and pop-up dinner in a vacant space). We’re partnering up with summer youth programs to share the process of making beauty from leftovers, and to help us make more flowers to spread around the neighborhood.

071513plastic flowers

Collaborating with the neighboring high school: St. Martin de Porres High School is across the street from where we plan to open our creative reuse center and we’re collaborating with the art teacher. So far we’re planning for August to begin an after-school upcycle club for students interested in flower making, creative hands-on exploration of leftover materials, and tours of local upcyclist studios.

We’re building our online presence: What we’re doing has people excited and curious. It’s a large scope project and we want to tell the story of what’s happening in St. Clair so that others feel engaged and understand that this neighborhood is something special. We’re sharing photos on instagram, creating a blog, and lining up other social media accounts so we can engage with our audiences in person and online. We came up with the hashtags #thisisstclair and #madeinstclair to help us with our creative placemaking goals. You can find/follow us @UpcycleStClair on tumblr, instagram, facebook and twitter!

071513sidewalk chalk