ArtsJunktion mb, a local organization that gathers and redistributes unused art supplies, is a long-standing Winnipeg hub.
“It’s an intersection of all things … all the stories, all the realities, somehow wind up here, in this community gathering place,” executive director Julie Kettle says.
The establishment draws people with diverse needs and stories, but what they all have in common is art.
Arts Junktion executive director Julie Kettle
ArtsJunktion is celebrating 10 years in the community and will host events at their Exchange District location throughout September, culminating in a craft event that will be part of Nuit Blanche at the end of the month.
Partaking in local artistic events, such as Nuit Blanche, is one of the many ways in which ArtsJunktion has grown.
“It started as a dream of sharing resources and helping teachers get art supplies,” Kettle says.
The dream of sharing art supplies grew into hosting skill development workshops. Art Hives, free community crafting events, occur twice a month.
“It’s also free to come in and use the space and tools and any resources we have,” Kettle says.
A small workbench where Arts Junktion staff and volunteers sort through donations
ArtsJunktion is brimming with diverse supplies.
“There’s some pretty interesting, high-quality stuff that you even wouldn’t be able to access at a regular craft store, like carpet samples or wallpaper samples that come to us from manufacturing companies,” Kettle says.
Artists can also find many forms of media with which to work.
“I pick up fabric and random stuff,” artist Lily Dezzer says.
High-demand items include paint, paintbrushes, beads, watercolour paper, watercolours, glue and scissors – “The go-to, typical arts-and-crafts supplies,” Kettle explains.
Kettle believes it’s a spirit of honesty that keeps the establishment running smoothly. ArtsJunktion functions on an alternate economy model of “take what you need/pay what you can.”
For some, like Dezzer, this means donating unused craft supplies.
“I hate throwing things in the garbage, so I bring some good stuff that would (otherwise) be considered garbage,” Dezzer says.
ArtsJunktion’s Instagram account (@arts-
junktion) is full of information on crafting and project ideas.
“There are so many interesting ideas for creative reuse,” Kettle says.
The new ArtsJunktion mandate reflects their commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, by celebrating, acknowledging, hiring and creating space for Indigenous artists
The ArtsJunktion community is diverse, including “Indigenous artists, stay-at-home parents, people coming in for art therapy, counsellors coming here to get supplies for their clients, people who work in northern communities, students of all ages, university professors,” she lists.
“We are increasing our community presence and our connection to community groups,” Kettle says. This involvement includes hosting regular events such as the Art Hives, as well as pop-up events like anti-fascist signmaking.
“We are making an effort to reach out to other groups,” she says. “The North End Women’s Centre family day picnic and art event got all their supplies here.”
Kettle explains that the new mandate at ArtsJunktion reflects their commitment to Truth and Reconciliation. They are doing this by “celebrating, acknowledging, hiring and creating space for Indigenous artists,” she says.
ArtsJunktion continues to grow with the community.
“There is a vibe of wanting to learn, to grow, to celebrate and care for community and community members,” Kettle explains. “We’re excited about what we get to be a part of, and of what that will bring.”