The significance of the ReStore’s contributions to the arts are abundant.
At first look the ReStore displays a commitment to the arts by proudly displaying a 1,500 square foot mural executed by nine artists/art groups entitled, “Home is Where the Art is.” The mural is visible from the most heavily traveled section of interstate in West Virginia.
In addition to the five murals in and around the ReStore, and the numerous art classes and workshops offered in the ReStore’s Homeowner Education & Community Center, there are three specific ReStore initiatives that have fostered growth of the arts and influenced trends.
- The ReStore ReDesign Internship is offered annually in partnership with West Virginia State University to a WVSU student majoring in Fine Arts. The paid eight-week internship is designed to provide practical experience to budding professional artists while establishing the long term goal of transforming the ReStore into a public art gallery. Selected participants are expected to complete three objectives during the internship: create a permanent departmental display using recycled materials; create a temporary window display using recycled materials; and organize and execute a make-and-take workshop that is open to the public.
- The annual Double Take Art Show offered in partnership with Tamarack Foundation, West Virginia Craft Week and American Craft Week received a national Star Award from American Craft Week in 2015. The ReStore encouraged artists from across the state to participate by submitting a piece of thrift store art to which they added their own special touch. The show was displayed in the ReStore and members of the public voted for their favorite piece of “redirected” art, awarding the artist with the most votes a cash prize. Double Take received international attention when David Irvine, the Canadian artist whose art inspired the show, promoted Double Take in the media and by donating one of his original pieces to the show.
- Every Tuesday for the past three years, the ReStore has opened the Homeowner Education & Community Center free of charge to anyone and everyone interested in working on art in a communal environment designed to encouraged fellowship, support and inspiration. Typically, 10 – 20 repeat and new artists from Kanawha and surrounding counties attend. The Charleston Art Group, as they call themselves, has participated in Festivall events together, organized informational group meetings with Tamarack officials regarding the jurying process (several have subsequently become Tamarack artisans), and organized field trips around the state for art classes and retreats. In addition, artworks from individuals in the group are always on display and for sale in ReStore’s Homeowner Education & Community Center.
ReStore has served the artistic community since opening in 2001, but the strong commitment to the arts began in 2007.
ReStore income has increased 120% since 2007, the year Habitat for Humanity leadership made the strategic decision to intertwine the organization’s mission with support for the arts. The year-after-year sales increase has a direct impact on our economy. ReStore proceeds fund Habitat for Humanity houses creating new homeowners/tax-payers/stable engaged residents. Proceeds from the ReStore also foster growth of the arts by enabling continued and new arts initiatives.
It is important to note that the ReStore puts its money where its mouth is when supporting the arts. ReStore leadership understands the importance of the arts community in achieving Habitat for Humanity’s mission and regularly implements initiatives that improve the economic development of arts in West Virginia; a significant portion of the ReStore’s budget is devoted to supporting the arts. For example, the ReDesign internship pays a living wage to the selected artists and covers the expense of their supplies. Additionally, artists have been contracted and paid to produce three internal murals and the extensive restoration of the external mural. Finally, all artists that participate in Double Take art show, and other shows hosted by the ReStore, are given an entry gift card and the community choice winner is awarded a cash prize.
Creating a salon-style home gallery has been a popular trend for several years now. You can find ideas, inspiration and even templates for creating your own Parisian art salon on Pinterest. In addition to framed art and prints, designers often include non-traditional pieces of 3d wall décor like ceiling medallions, oversized letters and faux animal trophy heads. But if you really want to take your gallery wall up a notch, you will need to add layers!
Giving your home gallery depth by creating layers is possible with the addition of art risers. Unfortunately, art risers can be very expensive. So, Shawn and I created art risers for approximately $2 per riser from materials we found at the ReStore. This is a significant price savings from the varieties listed on national home-décor store websites for $15-$20 each. Here is a list of the materials and tools we used, and detailed instructions for creating your own art risers,
- Scrap laminate flooring – because it is flat, light and stiff.
- Poplar or oak 1” x 3” or similar size – use hardwood because it will not split easily – a split could cause a catastrophic failure and damage to expensive art.
- Drywall screws – 1 1/4” are best, but 1 5/8” will do.
- Power miter saw (AKA “Chop Saw”)
- Battery powered drill
- 3/32” bit to pre-drill hardwood for screws
- 3/16 bit to predrill laminate
- 5/16” to countersink screw heads (or a countersink bit)
- Phillips screw driver bit
- Cut 1 x hardwood to approximately 4” in length. This is the spacer.
- Cross cut laminate flooring into a 3”-4” long piece and whatever the standard width is (usually 8”). This is the front.
- Cut another piece of laminate into a 4” x 4” piece. This is the back.
- Pre-drill the laminate with two 3/16” holes along the center line.
- Use the 5/16” bit or countersink to make a slight dimple in the laminate so the screw heads will sink below the surface (this step is optional but will protect your wall from being scratched by the screw heads and make everything lay flatter).
- Transfer the hole locations to the edge of the hardwood spacer and predrill the hardwood with the 3/32” bit. This will keep the wood from splitting when the screws are set. The hole needs to be as deep as the length of the screws you are using.
- Attach the back to the spacer with two drywall screws. Make sure the screws are driven all the way in, but be careful not to over-tighten and break the screw or split the wood.
- Lay the piece on its back and repeat the process with the laminate for the front. The front piece should hang down well below the bottom of the spacer.
- Drill two holes near the top of the back piece of laminate to use to mount the spacer to the wall.
- Lastly, pre-drill a hole with the 3/32” bit near the top of the hardwood spacer from which your framed art will hang. Angle this hole downward so your hanging screw will have a positive tilt so the art cannot easily slip off the screw.
- Attach the spacer to the wall with whatever wall anchors you would use to hang the art – drywall anchors, nails, etc. It all depends on the construction of the wall.
Other Tips for Creating a Salon-Style Gallery
- The size of the laminate can be adjusted for larger or smaller art pieces.
- The pieces don’t have to be perfectly square because they will be completely hidden from view.
- The width of the hardwood spacer needs to be at least the thickness of the frame of the art that it will be placed next to.