Art Education students visit Harrisonburg’s Valley Creative Reuse Center

School of Art Design and Art History
Student-made creations out of repurposed materials

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JMU Art Education students visited Valley Creative Reuse recently for a partnership kick-off event, introducing them to the creative reuse concept, familiarizing them with the shop, and brainstorming future opportunities for collaboration. Students could play as they made creations out of materials in the store typically viewed as recyclables or trash.

Valley Creative Reuse is a new art and craft supplies thrift store in Harrisonburg fueled by community donations of lightly used art and craft supplies that may have otherwise ended up in the landfill, which are then recirculated back into the community at a low cost, to strengthen sustainability, community, accessibility, creativity and joy. 

Students gather at Valley Creative Reuse.
Students visit Valley Creative Reuse and meet with founder Morgan Kraybill Gross.

Morgan Kraybill Gross, founder of Valley Creative Reuse and Harrisonburg local, opened the center in November of 2023 after visiting the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse nearly 15 years ago. Over the past months, Gross has worked to “gather and gently hold the creative web of people, ideas, energy and organization” in Harrisonburg’s Valley Creative Reuse. The center connects and collaborates with the local community to bring sustainability awareness and strengthen community and creativity.

“Valley Creative Reuse is thrilled to establish a relationship with the JMU National Art Education Association chapter as there are ample ways that we can partner in mutually beneficial ways, as well as support the community — expanding offerings of classes/workshops for the community, creating resources for local teachers, community art projects and more,” Gross shared. 

Students work at a table making crafts.
Art Education students work on their creations.

JMU’s NAEA chapter champions creative growth and innovation by equitably advancing the tools and resources for high-quality visual arts, design, and media arts education throughout diverse populations and communities of practice. The chapter visited Valley Creative Reuse last semester for an afternoon of learning, creativity, and camaraderie. “The meeting with Valley Creative Reuse provided the opportunity for the participating students to brainstorm ways the VCR and the JMU NAEA student chapter can continue to collaborate in the future,” shared Joe Geheren, JMU NAEA chapter president.

by Cameryn Norris (’22)

Published: Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 3, 2024

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