State Farm Neighborhood Assist ® 2018

Crafting a Sustainable Future in St. Louis

To build a creative culture of sustainability where trash is transformed into cherished resources.

Perennial's programs and workshop provide creative opportunities for a diverse range of St. Louis citizens to participate in waste reduction through creative skill building.

In St. Louis City, over 140,000 tons of trash were sent to the landfill in 2016 while only 16,000 tons were recycled. 34% of this trash was items that are not easily recycled. Perennial's programs help the community utilize these "not easily recycled" materials to repurpose them, divert them from landfills, and keep our city's landscape clean.

At Perennial, local crafters and artists show the community how to turn salvaged materials into new goods, teaching woodworking skills, sewing, and more. Offering 8-10 classes a week, providing open studio time for people to use the space and tools for personal projects, and partnering with social service agencies to offer free programs to some of the most vulnerable women in the community, Perennial makes a creative and sustainable lifestyle accessible for all.

In 2016, Perennial moved from a 1,400 sq ft space to a 3,600 sq ft workshop and was able to expand the available tools and equipment used in its programs. State Farm's funding would be used to maintain and improve Perennial's new workshop facility making it a welcoming and highly productive space for creative reuse.

In 2017, over 2,700 community members learned a new creative skill with Perennial, and the tools and equipment used in these programs show continued wear and tear. With these funds, Perennial would be able to replace blades and parts on its woodworking equipment, purchase new durable tools such as soldering equipment and serger sewing machines, and make improvements to the workshop such as additional storage for materials and projects, new work tables and seating for classes, and improved lighting. This grant would allow Perennial to continue to increase community engagement in the creative process of reuse while keeping high quality programs and tools accessible to all.

Now in its 8th year of offering creative reuse programs in St. Louis, Perennial continues to provide unique resources to community members that enable them to create upcycled items for their homes and lives while reducing waste through reuse and making a positive impact on the environment.

In 2017, program participants transformed over 6,000 pounds of salvaged materials into new useful items. Not only did participants directly keep these materials out of the landfill, but they also learned new skills and new ways of thinking about materials that would normally be thrown away. In the words of an outreach program participant, "I learned how to recycle leather to save some parts of the Earth for lots more years".

These funds will help secure Perennial as a vital resource for creative reuse in the St. Louis community, encouraging community members from disparate backgrounds to come together through the creative arts and positively impact the environment through their own creativity.