Santa Cruz Recycled Art Program (SCRAP) Meshes Arts & Business

“Synergy” is a word used often in Santa Cruz – and it is truly fitting for the City’s latest art program, Santa Cruz Recycled Art Program (SCRAP). The SCRAP program, launched this summer, gave seven artists prized access to the City’s Resource Recovery Facility to glean materials such as recycled wood, metal, and other odds and ends to create works of art. Artists also received memberships to Idea Fab Labs – a local maker’s space with a huge array of tools and equipment which culminated in a final show presented in the distinguished R. Blitzer Gallery. It was a win-win-win for all involved!

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The SCRAP program not only raised awareness about sustainability and supported seven local artists but it supported two of the City’s premier creative businesses. The R. Blitzer Gallery and Idea Fab Labs are both housed within the creative hub known as “the Wrigley building.” Formerly the Wrigley gum factory, local visionary William Ow, has turned this huge commercial space into what has become an incubator for start-ups, art studios, creative and niche business, yoga and dance studios – and the R. Blitzer Gallery and Idea Fab Labs. 

Our arts programs housed within the Economic Development department and this collaboration between artists, the City, and local businesses made perfect sense. Gallery space is hard to sustain and it also seems that Idea Fab Labs is currently one of the City’s best kept secrets so we hoped to bring new customers into both spaces – and initial reports are that both saw a boost from the event. This program was a great way to support such amazing artists as well as two incredible local businesses. Robert Blitzer, gallery owner, commented that “The artwork exceeded our expectations – really fantastic. And the opening reception was packed – with many pieces of art selling quickly. It was a phenomenal turn out!” 

​“The SCRAP Project was a great way to bring the greater art community to Idea Fab Labs. New artists always bring new ideas of how to use our tools and I think that happened. I would like to think the First Friday event at the R. Blitzer Gallery was enhanced having patrons tour our space as well. A big thank you to City Arts!” — Tauna Coulson – Idea Fab Lab’s newest lab manager.

The SCRAP program also spurred another creative business connection: Charles Sutton, founder of “Art You Can Play” guitars, plans to use the artwork of Danielle Peters on a new guitar series. Danielle is a paper artist and for SCRAP she gleaned paper and paint from the dump and used and laser cut and stacked paper into abstract colorful designs—it reminds us of a neon Rorschach’s ink blot. After seeing the work at the opening reception, Charles approached Danielle about a collaboration.

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Laser cut and stack paper artwork by Danielle Peters

Santa Cruz ranks fifth in the nation for the number of working artists per capita and boasts a thriving non-profit arts sector that contributes $38 millions to the local economy annually. Supporting and promoting the arts not only makes Santa Cruz more livable and beautiful but it makes dollars and sense. This is a booming economic sector that we can all be proud of.

Plans for next year’s SCRAP program are in the works. If you are interested in applying, sign up for the City Art’s artist opportunities e-news list here or contact City Arts Manger, Beth Tobey, at 831-420-5154. 

Make sure your visit the R. Blitzer gallery during the month of December to see the show. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 5:00pm at 2801 Mission St. Extension Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Check the website for further details at

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