Creativity City

“By selling affordable art supplies and offering hands-on environmentally friendly activities such as Reuse-a-Palooza throughout the year, The Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse gives children (and children at heart!) of any financial background the chance to create art and learn about resource conservation while having fun!”


Construction Junction:
Monday-Friday 9:00am-6:00pm
Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm
Sunday 10:00am-5:00pm

Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse:
Everyday: 11:00am-6:00pm

Address for both:

214 North Lexington Street, Pittsburgh PA 15208

Bus Information:

  • Take the 71C, 74, or the EBA

Site Information:

Construction Junction:

Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse

The Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse (PCCR) was originally started out of a van in 2007, but in its short life has already made a name for itself in the creative reuse culture of Pittsburgh and beyond. The Pennsylvania Resources Council officially established PCCR in 2008; in the beginning, it was housed on the second floor of Construction Junction’s warehouse space. The PCCR has since outgrown that space, and today, the PCCR can be found next door to Construction Junction. The PCCR operates under the same principle as Construction Junction, but with smaller scale items: their mission statement, brightly illustrated in mural form on one of their walls, states, “Our mission is to promote resource conservation, creativity, and community engagement through material reuse.” In 2014 alone, they diverted 35 tons of usable materials from landfill. That’s almost the weight of 3 school busses!

The Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse has made a large impact in the community in recent years; in 2014, the PCCR worked with 12,299 participants, and saw 15,900 distinct visits to their site. The majority of their visitors are teachers, students, and artists, but the center is continually expanding further into the community. An ever-growing movement of eco-friendly Pittsburghers is participating in this environmental revolution that strives to conserve, create, and connect. This is clear evidence that the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse is an upcoming stalwart in the Pittsburgh community.

The PCCR is a non-profit organization, and it is able to continue functioning mostly because of the assistance of generous private donors. Individuals’ donations of materials, which are then sold in the shop, make up approximately 80% of the PCCR’s operating budget. Previous owners have donated all of the items for sale in the PCCR! In fact, the PCCR has a donation wish list that they update based on the ebb and flow of products through their doors. The merchandise they carry changes depending on the season and trends of the day. The layout of the store changes seemingly as often as Pittsburgh weather. Bulk items, which are purchased on a flat-rate, by-volume basis, are located in the back of the store. As a general rule, perishable and dangerous materials are not accepted, and beyond this, the needs of the shop change based on inventory. Most small craft supplies, such as sewing items, office supplies, and old artwork are always welcome.

Construction Junction

Located in Point Breeze, Construction Junction is Pittsburgh’s first nonprofit building material reuse retailer. It is a nonprofit organization run by 30 employees, that strives for sustainability and reusability. It specializes in building materials, such as doors, appliances, and toilets. The idea for Construction Junction was developed by the Pennsylvania Resources Council, the Green Building Alliance, and Conservation Consultants. It is currently partially funded by the Heinz Endowment and private contributions. Money from transactions goes to building upkeep and maintenance. The organization nearly breaks even, but the gap is closed by fundraisers and grants, for example, the annual Steel City Big Pour. Construction Junction’s purpose is to promote recycling and reusability as well as educating the Pittsburgh community about its benefits.

Construction Junction is placed inside a warehouse building to fit its large merchandise. Though they are proponents of reusing material, due to government and city restrictions, they are selective with their collection items. Some of the most popular items they collect include, doors, windows, toilets, stoves, ovens, refrigerators, and scrap metal. One major category of items they don’t take is electronics like televisions and computers  because of federal regulation. So, next time you’re renovating on a monetary (and carbon footprint) budget, check out Construction Junction!

You’d be surprised what items they’d be interested in, we were told they sold a dentist’s chair!

Lets Create Together

An Essay by Christina Beatrice

“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up”

-Pablo Picasso

Creativity should not be underestimated.  Try to imagine a world without art. No illustrations fill the pages of children’s books, no advertisements plaster our highways, and no music plays on the radio. The world is gray, dull, and empty.

The interior of the expansive yet cozy PCCR. Are you feeling like a kid stuck in a candy store for the first time yet?

The Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse (PCCR), a nonprofit organization that promotes resource conservation, creativity, and community engagement through material reuse, is far from gray, dull and empty. Stuffed to the brim with quirky and unique art supplies such as colorful buttons, plastic donkeys, glitter glue, shiny trophies, and fuzzy yarn, the shop is a child’s (and a child-at-heart’s!) dreamland. You could easily spend countless hours rummaging through the cozy shop’s bins, boxes, and drawers.

According to a study by, encouraging creativity and imagination at a young age enables children to grow up more confident, to develop key social skills, and to learn better. The PCCR couldn’t agree more: in fact, they believe that children everywhere should be given the opportunity to express their creativity.

As a result, the PCCR offers a multitude of interactive workshops and programs throughout the year such as Reuse-a-Palooza, Creative Conundrum Lab, and ReMaker Playshop. While Creative Conundrum Lab and ReMaker Playshop are free workshops held in the creative confines of the PCCR, Reuse-a-Palooza is a paid, off-site, and open-ended program that is available for customization.

Depending on the educator’s needs, a Reuse-a-Palooza program can range from a two-hour workshop to an all-day affair. At an event, participants can grab art supplies and eccentric materials, spread out buffet style on plastic tables, and turn them into new treasures by using their creativity and imaginations. In fact, a successful Reuse-a-Palooza event can accommodate up to two hundred participants and can cost less than ten dollars a person.

At Creative Conundrum Labs, which are held on Sundays once a month, participants are encouraged to focus on one material object such as yarn or trophies, and creatively turn these recycled materials into something completely different. At the end of the event, the young participants are invited to discuss what they learned with another and explain how they will use the skills they picked up from the lab in future creative projects, whether at school or home. On the other hand, ReMaker Playshops introduce children to valuable skills such as sewing, jewelry making, and book making. Instead of purchasing a chunky necklace at an expensive retailer, children are taught how to make their own environmentally friendly necklaces that they can customize to their own liking.

Looking for a bargain? Be sure sure to check out PCCR’s $5 bag special.

If you are unable to attend one of these workshops, I would highly recommend stopping by the PCCR and picking up a recycled bag. These bags only cost five dollars and can be stuffed to the brim with everyday items such as paint, markers, and pipe cleaners and unconventional items such as sewing machine parts, bubble wrap, and mermaid pottery from the shop’s bulk section. When my Secret Pittsburgh class and I were offered two bags after a tour, we were filled with delight and had a great time searching the shelves for hidden treasures. I think this would be a wonderful activity for children because it engages all of the senses. Not only can children see the materials they wish to claim, but also they can touch and feel them.  

Erika Johnson, PCCR founder and installation artist says that, “an entire generation of Pittsburgh kids is practicing creativity and sustainability through play with reclaimed materials. We like to think that means they will grow into adults who reimagine waste as a resource for building a better world” (Jackson).

In fact, the people of Pittsburgh have always embraced youth creativity. In the 1970’s, “Roving Art Carts” would travel to local playgrounds, parks, and recreation centers and deliver free art supplies to children of varying ethnicities and financial backgrounds. Running during the hot Pittsburgh summers, these innovative carts on wheels kept energetic children busy by inviting them to participate in fun and unique art projects that focused on creativity and imaginative play.

The PCCR supports imaginative play both inside its colorful warehouse and outside in local homes and classrooms. In fact, one of PCCR’s main goals is to ensure that every Pittsburgh educator can rely on the center as an affordable and accessible resource for not only art materials and project ideas but also for educational support and community building.

Fig 5. The Roving Art Cart supplies children with free arts and crafts that focus on creativity and imaginative play; “Roving Art Cart”; Historic Pittsburgh Photograph Archives; 25 October 2016.

Furthermore, the PCCR promotes and thrives on collaboration. In fact, fun and original project ideas are displayed on brightly colored sheets of paper around the shop. You can find instructions for a multitude of projects such as coat hangers made out of recycled trophies, floral headbands made out of donated fabric scraps, and watercolor paint made from dried out markers. Educators and children are encouraged to sit at the workshop table toward the back of the store and discuss their project ideas with one another. As a result of this relaxed and collaborative space, children can further develop their organizational and critical thinking skills.  

In addition to providing educators with the art materials necessary for creative play, PCCR also provides them with insightful information about recycling and sustainability. By designing and customizing projects with recycled materials, educators are not only cutting down on unnecessary waste in landfills but are also encouraging their young students to use their imaginations. In fact, by choosing to utilize reclaimed materials, educators and children can help the PCCR divert over thirty-five tons of reusable material every year.

Moreover, the creative reuse movement and the opening of centers such as the PCCR across the country boosts urban economies, reduces waste, and “educates people on how to adapt a more creative lifestyle” (Chilcote).  

At the end of the day, creativity is the freest form of self-expression. After all, there is nothing more satisfying than being able to express yourself openly and without judgment. Creative people are more than just artists: they are problem solvers, innovators, and deep thinkers. By encouraging children to express their creativity and to utilize their imaginations at a young age, we are building a brighter, greener, and more resourceful future.

Interested in Recycling? You Are Not Alone

by Ben Garfinkel

“There is no such thing as ‘away.’ When we throw anything away, it must go somewhere.”

-Annie Leonard

Recycling is one of modern society’s greatest ideals. The ability to turn an item that has lost its intended utility–for instance, an empty aluminum can that once held a beverage–into something new is a testament to human ingenuity and perseverance. According to Pat Franklin, Executive Director of the Container Recycling Institute, “Over the past twenty years [1993 to 2013] we’ve trashed more than 11 million tons of aluminum beverage cans worth over $12 billion on today’s market. Someday we’ll be mining our landfills for the resources we’ve buried.” Over that time, methods for recycling have evolved, and it is now ubiquitous to see recycled goods in just about any public space, whether it be the 100% post-consumer recycled napkins at Chipotle, the recycled cardboard food boxes that are now common at many restaurants, or many glass bottles. Despite these advancements, however, recycling as we know it is still incapable of relieving the strain on the environment that comes from the extraction of resources for the production of disposable consumer goods, and it is still not a catch-all to prevent valuable resources from ending up in landfills. As such, other methods of recycling manufactured goods that involve reusing them in creative and unexpected ways have become more prevalent in recent years; this act is sometimes called upcycling.

e3e6f22244e557f1758d397a98734145_resized_800x523Fig. 6. During WWII, Pittsburgh Public Schools participated in scrap drives to support the war effort. In this photograph, students from Prospect Elementary and Junior High Schools sit and stand atop of their scrap heap.

In Pittsburgh, this surge of energy in recycling is actually a resurgence; Pittsburghers have participated in recycling efforts for the better part of the last century. The above photo depicts school-age Pittsburgh youth participating in a scrap drive to support the US war effort. At that time, recycling more or less just meant melting down scrap metal to be recast into something useful (likely for armor plating for warships), and it was due to the fact that resources were in short supply. Today, the goal of recycling–and upcycling–is much different, and is capable of so much more. The Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, along with other organizations like it, is working diligently to educate the community about ways to best divert waste from ending up in a landfill. Unlike during the war effort, Pittsburgh’s recycling community today is fueled by a creative energy; instead of melting down scrap as a wartime necessity, Pittsburghers are now working hard to repurpose manufactured goods in order to reduce their environmental impact and to give new life to an object that would otherwise be thrown away.

Cammie and a Leg.JPGCammie, an employee at the PCCR, hugs a mannequin leg while posing beneath a mural of the organization’s mission statement, “to promote resource conservation, creativity, and community engagement through material reuse.”

The Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse is leading the way in Pittsburgh’s recycling community, and they are active in their local area, Point Breeze, as well. The PCCR holds regular classes and seminars to teach participants strategies for diverting waste from landfills. They also participate in various events around Pittsburgh; for instance, the PCCR’s booth at the annual Pittsburgh Regatta is always among the most popular booths at the event! The PCCR’s staff is a creative bunch, and they have filled their store with many different idea sheets. One such sheet shows how discarded trophies can be repurposed and crafted into a hat rack without much trouble. Projects such as these show participants and observers how easy it is to upcycle post-consumer manufactured goods; the only things that are truly required are imagination and ingenuity. These are traits the staff of the PCCR has in abundance; Cammie, pictured above, was full of suggestions for different mannequin-related projects: one such suggestion was to use a mannequin as the base of a table! The truth is, creativity is the only limitation that exists when it comes to creating at the PCCR. There is such an immense treasure trove of goods to choose from that one could spend all day at the PCCR and still not see all that they have to offer.

Marbles.JPGThe contents of three drawers are revealed: assorted marbles, tiny pencils, and some screws.

It is crucial for a visitor to the PCCR to understand this one important thing: all the goods available at the PCCR were donated by people who had no further use for them. A new visitor may initially be surprised by the amount of perceived ‘junk’ held within the drawers of the PCCR. But, that is actually the innate beauty of the PCCR and what they are all about: turning one person’s trash into a usable object, and preventing that object from ending up in a landfill by making it into something useful again. The cultural and community benefit is that participants are able to reuse their neighbor’s discarded marbles or screws or golf pencils, all while reducing their community’s environmental impact on the world.

Mannequins.JPGMannequin parts are just a smidgen of the smorgasbord of offerings available at the PCCR.

The PCCR has seen the number of participants who come through their doors increase over the years, as more and more Pittsburghers become aware of, and involved in, the efforts to upcycle and divert the flow of usable goods from landfills. This growing movement bodes well for the future; as the upcycling movement swells and reaches a crescendo, it is reasonable to assume that the quantity of objects that end up in landfills will decrease, and shops like the PCCR will spring up in response.

Spend Less, Save More

Johanna Seitenbach

      A city thrives on community. Unlike rural areas, the unique quality of a city is in its ability to condense a large population into a smaller area of land. Within this cultural mesh, community inevitably forms. It’s what this community brings to the city itself that matters. Pittsburgh is a city that utilizes community in many aspects, one being through the act of reusing and recycling. Between Construction Junction and Pittsburgh’s Center for Creative Reuse, it’s evident that Pittsburgh is a community that truly cares about its city, and is brought together by positive change and transformation.

An example of Construction Junctions’ more popular item-a toilet.

To pinpoint the positive effects of Pittsburgh’s community, I will highlight the Steel City Big Pour event that happens annually at the Construction Junction warehouse. To summarize, the Steel City Big Pour event is a day filled with live music, art, beer, and food from the finest area restaurants. All proceeds made from the ticket sales go to sustaining Construction Junction and their mission to promote conservation through the reuse of building materials. The major sponsors include Giant Eagle, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mad Mex, and Goodwill. As exemplified by the picture below taken from the Historic Pittsburgh Archives, Giant Eagle has been a staple in the Pittsburgh community for over half a century. The event itself is a great way for the community to come together, taste local craft beers, and collectively help the community by promoting Construction Junction’s purpose of reusing old material. In addition to supporting Construction Junction’s recycling efforts, this event helps the community in numerous other ways as well. It helps to inform future customers and suppliers about Construction Junction in any of their personal future endeavors, it promotes local beer distributors that might just be getting started in the industry, and it highlights different food establishments in the Pittsburgh area. Overall, it’s an event built by the community, for the community.

Fig. 1. Interior of an unidentified Giant Eagle grocery store; Paul Slantis – 1950
2012 band crowd Steel City Big Pour 052(1)
Fig 2. The Steel City Big Pour Event – 2015

Within the City of Pittsburgh, especially on a college campus, we strive to be as resourceful with our supplies as possible. Students are in association with organizations ranging from Clutter for a Cause to the University of Thriftsburgh, all working for a common goal: to waste less. Clutter for a Cause is a sustainability effort where students are able to donate their items to be reused or repurposed. It’s an annual donation drive that begins in the spring, right as students are leaving for the summer. The donation and repurposing aspects are similar to that of Pittsburgh’s Center for Creative Reuse and Construction Junction, in that these pieces will be utilized in ways other than contributing to landfill. The administration puts up these large blue bins in residence halls, student centers, and the union, to remind people of a sustainable alternative to throwing out old items. All usable goods are distributed to organizations in need, which again supports the claim that Pittsburgh is a community-oriented city that strives to help, contribute, and positively impact its population.

The University of Thriftsburgh is a fairly new initiative taken on at the University of Pittsburgh. It began in the Spring Semester of 2014 in a class titled, “Sustainability”. Two students from the class, Anna Greenberg and Paul Heffernan, worked with the Office of Pittserves to open the thrift store. Its official opening date was on March 18th, 2015. Since its establishment, the University of Thriftsburgh has been profitable. The best part is that the entire initiative is student-run. It’s evident that students on campus follow in the footsteps of the Pittsburgh community, where recycling is much more than putting a glass bottle in a separate bin.

It’s important to note that these innovative recycling initiatives don’t stop at the initial transaction. They create green-collar jobs, reduce waste, and educate people about “how to live a simpler, more creative lifestyle…One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, enriching all of us” (Chilcote). The green movement is about awareness and education and once that is established, it moves to a collective action. For example, once those students in the “Sustainability” class were educated and aware of the overwhelming amounts of waste produced by college students every year, they were determined to find a solution, and, thus, that’s how the University of Thriftsburgh was born.

The administrative group at the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse devotes time to teaching children and adults the art of creative reuse at locations ranging from libraries, festivals, and senior centers. Additionally, their classes teach conservation skills through hands-on workshops for kids. The Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse hosts Reuse-a-Paloozas, block parties, bar crafts, scrapbooking classes, and workshops with artists-in-residence. Reuse-a-Palooza is an open-ended program that provides firsthand exploratory creative activities for participants of all ages, usually centered around a theme. Again, it all relates back to community benefits incorporated in all steps of the creative process. A direct example of the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse’s impact is that it eliminates two tons per month from landfill. Less landfill is correlated with a cleaner, more sustainable city.

With more creative reuse centers popping up all over the country, it’s important to know how one thrives and maintains enough profit to stay open. The article, “How To: Start a Creative Reuse Revolution in Your Community in 5 Steps” by Kyla Fullenwider, outlines the fundamentals behind these initiatives. The five steps include: 1. Create a business name and plan, 2. File for non-profit status ASAP, 3. Find a central location, 4. Curate your collection, and 5. Build your community. While all of them are essential to opening and maintaining a creative reuse organization, the last step is the most important. Because creative reuse centers have unique business setups, in that the consumers are also often the suppliers, community is really the backbone of the entire operation. Without the immense support that comes with the Steel City Big Pour event, Construction Junction wouldn’t be financially stable. It’s truly a community effort that goes into the culture of creative reuse.

All this recycling and reusing business sounds practical, but what is the result? The website,, displays artists work when using repurposed material. It’s fascinating to see how one item can be transformed into another seamlessly. “Junkculture embodies the belief that the waste products of our consumer culture can be transformed into art that incorporates the history of their human use” (

Fig 3. Hiroshi Fuji’s, “Happy Paradises” –  2015

The picture above is an example of an artist’s work using repurposed material. This exhibit was created by Japanese artist, Hiroshi Fuji. It is a large-scale installation made of discarded toys. “The brilliant installation explores the creative potential of trash finding ‘ways of transforming existences (thoughts) that are not valued by society into special existences’” ( Working within the confines of repurposed material may seem restricting, but in fact it brings a heightened creativity to the piece that wouldn’t be effective if the material was brand new.

This creative reuse culture isn’t just a fad, it’s practical and useful for artists and teachers on a budget. It will be interesting to see what other fields reused materials can correlate with in the future, such as event planning, religious events, or even movie props. Over time, we’ll see this culture expand beyond the confines of a city and hopefully become a worldwide trend to waste less, spend less, and save more.  No matter where this trend is going, however, it’s crucial that it has a supportive community willing to change their habits by purchasing and donating to these centers in order to keep them in business.


  Loose Parts and Reuse Arts

Rachel Fleisig

“In any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity and the possibility of discovery, are directly proportional to the number and kind of variable in it” (Nicholson 5).

For those unfamiliar with the Theory of Loose Parts, this is basically it. The theory, in short, describes how people placed in an environment with more individual parts will be able to channel their creativity better than people placed in an environment with fewer moveable parts. When thinking about everyday life, at least for adults, it’s difficult to think of many situations where this theory may apply. Many adults work office jobs or have careers that do not require too many individual variable parts or, for that matter, much creative thinking. Crunching numbers daily may not exactly get the creative juices flowing.

That’s where the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse and Construction Junction come in to play. Construction Junction focuses its efforts on recycling larger objects, such as kitchen appliances, doors, and toilets, for its customers to repurpose.

The Construction Junction – a buffet of building pieces

Similarly, Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse focuses its efforts on conserving and recycling smaller items that may be some of the most random things you could possibly think of, such as old cassette tapes, fake flowers, and old alphabet letters from elementary schools.

The Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse – a buffet of crafty stuff

Though Construction Junction does fit with the theory of loose parts, the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse abides even better. One reason for this is the classes that are offered by the center. Employees at the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse educate teachers on how to use seemingly useless or old materials to make new, unique art projects with their students. Examples of these projects include, but are certainly not limited to, redecorating old trophies into more meaningful and unique awards, making jewelry out of old technology supplies, and binding books made out of old wallpaper and sewing supplies.

The reviews of the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse have been nothing but positive. From children to teachers to parents alike, people cannot get enough of these creative crafts that are not only fun, but also cheap and environmentally friendly. This type of crafting is a relatively new phenomena. In decades past, childhood crafting was more traditional and less eco-friendly, as evidenced by the following photo found in the Historic Pittsburgh Archives.

Fig 4. Teachers Workshop – March 1952

Even still, the benefits from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse’s programming do not stop there! The center seems to embrace the theory of loose parts with open arms. According to two nationally known doctors of education, “children’s spontaneous, creative expression increase their sense of competence and well-being now and into adulthood,” and “children extend and deepen their understandings through multiple, hands-on experiences with diverse materials” (Drew). This information basically reinforces the main idea behind the programming at the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse. Assuming we consider spontaneous, creative expression, a sense of competence and well-being, and deeper understandings of the world good qualities to have, it seems as though the theory of loose parts is accurate.

Anyone well-learned enough to know about the theory of loose parts, or even read this blog post, is likely too old to be considered a child, and may therefore get the impression that this theory is not applicable to them. With both anecdotal evidence and some real research, I can explain how this is false. We can begin with the story.

For the Secret Pittsburgh course, we were tasked with shopping at the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse. For the mere price of $8 a bag, we split into groups and filled each bag to the brim with items from the “bulk” section of the store. Boy, did we find some amazingly random items. A few weeks later, we were tasked with using these items to create a display about our class. At first glance, we were not quite sure what to do. The items were not very cohesive and most of them were people’s old junk from years ago. However, if only for a passing grade, we got to work on what to do. We got our creative juices flowing and started digging through the bags to see what could be useful. In only a few hours, we had successfully created a display that really captured our class, made mostly out of old, recycled items! The display looked great and we felt great. If we had been given a bag of uniform items, or only a few of them, there’s no way we would have been able to create something so imaginative and cool.

A cursory search does not present any studies relating the theory of loose parts to adults. However, according to a 2000 study, “creative thinking is a universal ability that can help adults manage satisfying lives and that is increasingly in demand in the workplace” (Kerka). Many adults do not consider themselves the creative types, but its likely that those who do somehow involved themselves with the theory of loose parts, which would have an effect even without knowledge of the theory itself.

As the theory states, environments with more lose parts, as opposed to static parts, are much more stimulating to children. One may wonder, then, what the point is of stimulating children to be creative if the effect of the theory of loose parts has not been proven as well on adults. This is a valid question. At the end of Nicholson’s article about the theory, he addresses it, claiming “most of the existing [curricula for children] do not take into account the theory of loose parts and thereby fail. [Utilizing the theory] could act at least as a start toward solving the problem of cultural availability of bits and pieces of the environment—in both the software and hardware sense—and the extent to which a new generation will be able to invent new systems with the parts” (13). This article was originally published in 1972. Children born this same year would be 44 now, which has left plenty of time for the theory to prove itself.

Think back to how much technology has improved in the past 44 years. It’s astounding to think about the sheer volume of new inventions and improvements that have been made in recent years. We can also include modern art, architecture, and environmental advancements. Assuming the theory of loose parts has been taken to heart by at least a few of these innovators and integrated into some curricula, it’s not difficult to see the lasting effect it has had.

Seeing all the progress that’s been made since this theory has been brought to light, we can only imagine what will be next. Children now more than ever, thanks in part to organizations such as the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse that help teachers utilize the theory of loose parts to their advantage, are getting an education and playtime activities that allow them to embrace their inner creativity and inventiveness to blossom into innovate adults who will surely change the world. The creativity of children is extremely important to nurture instead of suppress. We are lucky that these organizations have been moving toward embracing this characteristic.

A bulletin board of some programs offered by PCCR

In addition, the Pittsburgh Center for Creative reuse not only recycles old items, but it offers them at extremely cheap prices. With public schools cutting funding for art programs left and right, the Center’s offering of affordable art supplies might make schools reconsider. And, if not, parents and other caretakers are always welcome at the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse to do their shopping and make their own inventive projects. After all, the theory of loose parts strongly encourages children to let their imagination run free.

Works Cited

Chilcote, Lee. “Turning Trash into Treasure, Creative Reuse Movement Boosts Urban
Economies.” TheLineMedia. N.p., 28 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2016. <;.

Fig. 1. Slantis, Paul. Giant Eagle Grocery Store. 1950. Paul Slantis Photograph Collection, Pittsburgh. Paul Slantis Photograph Collection, Ca. 1946-1956. Pittsburgh: Archives Service Center, 1950. N. pag. Historic Pittsburgh. Web. 11 Mar. 2016.

Fig 2. “Construction Junction – Building Material Reuse.” Steel City Big Pour. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr.2016.

Fig 3. “Artist Hiroshi Fuji Uses Discarded Plastic Toys to Create Dazzling Large-Scale Installations | Junkculture.” Artist Hiroshi Fuji Uses Discarded Plastic Toys to Create Dazzling Large-Scale Installations | Junkculture. Junk-Culture, 13 Oct. 2015. Web. 23 Apr. 2016. <;.

Fig 4. Musgrave, Samuel A. Teachers Workshop. 1952. Pittsburgh Public Schools Photographs, Pittsburgh. Historic Pittsburgh. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

Fig 5. The Roving Art Cart supplies children with free arts and crafts that focus on creativity and imaginative play; “Roving Art Cart”; Historic Pittsburgh Photograph Archives; 25 October 2016.

Fig 6. Prospect School Scrap Collection Campaign. Year unknown (c.1935-1945). Senator John Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Public Schools Photographs, Ca. 1880-1982. Pittsburgh: Archives Service Center. N. pag. Historic Pittsburgh. Web. 1 Dec. 2016.

Fullenwider, Kyla. “How To: Start a Creative Reuse Revolution in Your Community in 5 Steps.” GOOD Magazine. N.p., 12 Dec. 2010. Web. 23 Apr. 2016. <;.

Jackson, Sarah. “Rethinking Reuse: Catching Up With Erika Johnson.” Remake Learning. 10 Feb. 2015. Web. 2 Dec. 2016.

Kerka, Sandra. “Adult Learning in and through the Arts. ERIC Digest.” Adult Learning in and through the Arts. ERIC Digest. N.p., 2003. Web. 19 Apr. 2016.

Nicholson, Simon. “The Theory of Loose Parts.” Studies in Design Education Craft & Technology 4.2 (1972): 5-14. Open Journal Systems. Wed. 8 Apr 2016.

“Recycling Facts and Statistics.” Library of Juneau, n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2016.

TwistedSifter. “15 Famous Quotes on Creativity.” TwistedSifter. N.p., 08 Nov. 2012. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

“The University of Thriftsburgh.” The University of Thriftsburgh. University of Pittsburgh, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2016.

Photos without citations were taken by the authors

For other a list of other noteworthy readings in our course, please see the bookshelf