\For local creatives who specialize in found art, obtaining the raw materials for their unusual-looking sculptures or mixed media pieces can sometimes be a dirty chore involving diving into dumpsters or scouring alleyways.
Jessica Jordan, owner of Wet Paint Art Supply in Tempe, wants to not only make the process easier, but also help Valley residents rid themselves of some things that might be cluttering up their lives. To wit: Last week, the store began accepting donations of "useful, unwanted items" that can be sold to local artists for "creative reuse."
"We're hoping to make things easier for people to find their materials rather than going from place to place or down an alley," Jordan says. "It's amazing what's thrown out in dumpster bins. Kids at ASU just toss everything out at the end of the year. So instead of throwing it away, maybe just bring it over here and make sure it goes and we'll make sure it goes to a good home."
According to a lengthy list that Jordan posted to Wet Paint's website, items that she's interested in accepting include anything from bullet casings, bottle caps, and empty baby food jars to magnets, scrap lumber, and old circuit boards.
"Anything that sculpture kids would like and could potentially make something cool out of," Jordan says.
She's also interested in taking any a variety of animal bones or pelts.
"There are a lot of artists that like working with taxidermy stuff and can make some cool things," Jordan says.
Items that are donated will be resold at the store, she says.
For as many items that are on the list (115 in all), there are also plenty of things that Jordan and other Wet Paint employees won't accept, however, such as discarded candy wrappers or other trash.
"[The list] is just generally some rough guidelines," Jordan says. "I don't expect to see people donating everything that's on that list. I'm not going to take everything that comes at me."
For instance, according to the Wet Paint website, they aren't "accepting piles of your junk," so don't think you can empty out your trashcan in front of the store and call it good.
"We are picky bitches and expect all donations to be clean and presented in an orderly fashion," the site states.
Jordan also says that if the item is better suited for a secondhand store, they will donate it on your behalf to places like Goodwill or Savers.
"And if its something that is really horrible and we end up thinking twice about it we'll just take it to Salvation Army or Goodwill. If its something that we wind up taking and then the next day think, 'Why the hell did I do that?' then it will be donated."
She recommends that people call the store before making a donation to determine if their stuff is wanted or will be accepted.
Jordan says this program was partially inspired by Wet Paint's habit of buying and reselling "gently used" art supplies and tools for the last year, such as easels, excess canvas, paintbrushes, or jewelry-making equipment. (The store also sells certain stuff on consignment.)
"I've been buying supplies from various artists for the past year and selling stuff gently-used stuff at a cheap price and the shit sold," she says, "So I'm like, 'Why not go broader with it? No one else is doing it and everyone's broke.' Might as well give it a shot."
So does the relatively small store, which is located on Ash Avenue near University Drive, have enough space in case it's deluged with donated goods? Jordan says yes.
"There's always room for stuff around here," she says. "And if comes to a point where we don't, then we won't take it."
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