Meet out Team: Staff feature
Sherri Norton, Teacher
Sherri has been teaching camps and birthday parties with UpCycle Creative Reuse Center since 2022. She has 15 years experience as a preschool teacher and process art preschool teacher. Sherri also has a BA in Interior Design and an MA in Computer Graphics. She is married with two adult children (ages 21 and 18).
Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in an Airforce family. I was born in Turkey, lived in Massachusetts, New Mexico, Greece, Germany, England, Maryland, Florida, and Louisiana before getting married and moving to Virginia. I love being outdoors and photographing or picking up amazing objects I find in nature. I also enjoy reading novels, especially historical fiction and mysteries, and traveling to see new places.
What do you love most about teaching at UpCycle?
Working with many young artists from a variety of backgrounds.
What are you most excited about for this year’s summer camp at UpCycle?
I’m looking forward to creating with young artists for 5 days in a row and having the abundant time to spend on art making with them.
Share a fun UpCycle memory.
We wrapped yarn dipped in glue around balloons and let it dry overnight. The next day everyone was so excited to pop the balloons and see our balloon shaped sculptures. Instead of holding its shape, the yarn slowly collapsed inward, which wasn't what we expected but was interesting all the same.
What’s your favorite reusable material? Why?
Cardboard - it can be used for so many things! It’s a surface to paint on, can become a sculpture, you cut into pieces for printmaking or cut and hang for mobiles…and so much more.
If you could have only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What’s your (current) favorite book?
When you Wonder, You're Learning: Mister Rogers' Enduring Lessons for Raising Creative, Curious, Caring Kids by Gregg Behr and Ryan Rydzewski
What’s your superpower?
Visual-spatial understanding - I'm really good and fast at solving puzzles and always draw out what I am thinking.
UpCycle Creative Reuse Center is thrilled to announce the appointment of our new Executive Director, Theresa Esterlund. Theresa’s professional career spans 30 years as a leader and educator at the Smithsonian Institution, private museums, art centers, and public and private schools.
"Theresa’s background in art and museum education and her commitment to building community through creativity are a perfect fit for our organization,” said UpCycle's Board Chair Kelley Organek. “We’re confident that under Theresa’s leadership, UpCycle will continue to flourish.”
Theresa is deeply committed to creativity, community, collaboration, and mindfulness; ideals that are embedded in UpCycle's mission and values. “This is an exciting time for UpCycle,” Theresa said. “I’m looking forward to bringing my own creativity and energy to this inspiring organization.”
During her career, Theresa has led programming and interpretive teams at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art and the National Museum of American History, the Textile Museum, and the National Building Museum.
As a museum educator, Theresa created object-based experiences and materials for various audiences, including exhibition interpretation, tours, family programs, school programs, teacher workshops, and interactive web experiences. She also oversaw museum volunteers and visitor services teams. Theresa currently teaches a Museum Studies graduate course on museum learning at George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design.
Preceding her museum career, Theresa taught middle and high school students with emotional/behavioral challenges and/or learning differences. Since 2012, she has taught yoga, mindful movement, and meditation. Theresa is Letterpress Associate at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, where she supports the center by maintaining the presses and teaching classes in letterpress. Her collage artwork has been featured in numerous juried shows, including Smithsonian staff art shows, and she designs and produces stationery and paper goods under her brand Open to Being™.
Theresa holds an undergraduate degree in Biology and a Masters in Education from the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
UpCycle Creative Reuse Center inspires all people to explore and create by engaging our community in art-making experiences with reuse materials. UpCycle is located at 5380-D Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia, 22304. For more information visit www.upcyclecrc.org.
As you know, at UpCycle, we rethink the notion of waste, collecting cast-offs from our community to serve as creative art materials. Our inventory of materials is affordable, dynamic and changes constantly, providing ever-changing inspiration and outlets for creativity. But the Coronavirus outbreak has put UpCycle's finances at risk.
During Spring2ACTion this year, UpCycle needs to raise at least $7500 to cover the cost of lost programming. Achieving this goal will mean that we can keep offering you what you value most – bringing together creativity and conservation for everyone in the community.
What can you do to help? Give anytime until Wednesday April 15! Every dollar will make a difference. Here’s the link to give: https://www.spring2action.org/organizations/upcycle-creative-reuse-center.
As you can see below, we do a lot with just a little budget. We love bringing creativity and conservation together, and we've had some great successes over the past year.
Thanks so much for your support – I’m looking forward to the time when we can meet again at UpCycle!
Become a Member of UpCycle Creative Reuse Center’s Board of Directors. We're looking for a few energetic, involved and positive folks to help us guide the organization's growth. Please contact the Director, Lexi Keogh, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested!
A full description of what's involved follows:
UpCycle Creative Reuse Center is an Alexandria, Virginia based non-profit that connects creativity and conservation by providing a resource center for reuse materials and a creative making space for the community. At UpCycle, we rethink the traditional notion of waste by collecting cast-offs from our community to serve as creative materials.
UpCycle is currently recruiting members for our Board of Directors and is looking for people who are interested in the connection between conservation and creativity and has expertise in an area that will help UpCycle succeed. The Board of Directors meets monthly.
For more information, please UpCycle’s website at www.UpCycleCRC.org.
The Board will support the work of UpCycle Creative Reuse Center and provide mission-based leadership and strategic governance. While day-to-day operations are led by UpCycle’s executive director (ED), the Board-ED relationship is a partnership, and the appropriate involvement of the Board is both critical and expected.
Specific Board Member responsibilities include:
Leadership, governance and oversight
UpCycle Board Members will consider UpCycle a philanthropic priority and make annual gifts that reflect that priority. So that UpCycle can credibly solicit contributions from foundations, organizations, and individuals, UpCycle expects to have all of Board Members make an annual contribution that is commensurate with their capacity.
UpCycle’s Board Members will serve a one-year term. Board meetings are held monthly and committee meetings will be held in coordination with full board meetings.
This is an extraordinary opportunity for an individual who is passionate about UpCycle’s mission and who has a track record of board leadership. Selected Board Members will have achieved leadership stature in business, government, philanthropy, or the nonprofit sector. His/her accomplishments will allow him/her to attract other well-qualified, high-performing Board Members.
Ideal candidates will have a combination of the following qualifications:
Service on UpCycle’s Board of Directors is without remuneration, except for administrative support and minimal costs that relate to Board Members’ duties.
UpCycle Welcomes New Executive Director
UpCycle Creative Reuse Center announces a new director, Lexi Keogh.
Keogh has more than 20 years of non-profit experience in communications, annual, corporate and private foundation fundraising, membership, and special events.
She most recently served as the Development Director at Alice Ferguson Foundation in Accokeeek, Maryland. Prior to leading the environmental education nonprofit’s fundraising efforts, she spent 15 years with the Alaska Wilderness League in Washington, DC. Her roles included Acting Executive Director, Deputy Director, and Development and Communications Directors. She has extensive nonprofit experience with an eye towards implementing organizational sustainability in all aspects of a nonprofit -- from fundraising to organizational development and programs.
UpCycle’s Board Chair, Lesley Harris says, "We welcome Lexi’s extensive and diverse background in nonprofit management, communications and fundraising. We are at a critical time in the mission of UpCycle as we just celebrated our five year anniversary with more than 250 members. Lexi will play an active role in strengthening our partnerships and enhancing our visibility in the community. We are very excited to have her on board.”
Keogh received her Bachelor’s from Georgetown University and Master's in International Relations and Communications from Boston University. She is an avid recycler, crafter and upcycler living in Alexandria with her husband and two children. Keogh finds UpCycle inspiring because it gives people an easy space to explore their creativity without constraints.
Keogh is the first Director since local Alexandrians, Susan Miranda and Kelley Organek founded UpCycle in 2013. Both Miranda and Organek continue to serve on UpCycle’s Board.
UpCycle is a place where people of all ages have the opportunity to experiment, create and play with a variety of media for artistic use and expression. In 2017, UpCycle provided direct programming for Alexandria residents and engaged the immediate community and beyond in more than 5,000 hours of creative reuse arts programming. Our programs, events and outreach include:
Materials Playgroup - Exploratory and sensory activities for children ages 1.5-4 years old. Children explore clay, painting, light and shadow and MANY ways to manipulate and play with materials.
Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings, children and their families participate in art experiences for a minimal fee. Participants explore our unique collection of materials, experiment with possible uses and create original works of art.
After School Enrichment Programs
Tinker Time at Casa Chirilagua, the ACPS LINK Club at Brent Place and for Jefferson-Houston School.
Scouts, School Groups and Parties
Children have opportunities to explore the properties of materials, make plans for their use and create with reuse materials.
Participants build upon experiences and create final products over a series of days. Children experiment and try techniques with great satisfaction. In 2017 we teamed up with Local Motion Project for three weeks of Art in Motion camp.
Workshops for educators incorporate reuse arts materials into developmentally appropriate classroom activities that promote cognitive and motor development. Teachers learn how clay, observational drawing, light and shadow, paint mixing, wire work, sewing and sensory experiences can enhance their learning environments.
Collaborating with other organizations connects our community and introduces new audiences to UpCycle’s mission. Events shown with Arts on the Horizon and First Night with the AWLA.
Outreach in ACPS
Programs demonstrate to teachers and students that waste materials can be a resource for developing skills, scientific observations and artistic expression.
Creative reuse stations at the Maker Faire, Alexandria's Earth Day Event, Art on the Avenue and Arts Safari at the Torpedo Factory.
Our Spring2ACTion fundraising campaign included a pizza box art contest with Cafe Pizziaolo and St. Elmo's Coffee Pub. Season’s Treatings is our annual holiday party where we reuse Halloween candy to decorate gingerbread houses.
UpCycle and the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria kicked off First Night Alexandria festivities this year with an event to help get animals adopted. Over 80 children attended the event where they drew, colored, painted and created collages of animals available for adoption. All of the artwork was photographed and a group of animal winners was selected to be displayed on both organizations’ Facebook pages for friends to “Like.” The artwork with the most “Likes” by noon on Friday, January 5, 2018 wins an AWLA Executive Director led tour of the shelter for up to 20 guests and all animal winners receive gift certificates to UpCycle Creative Reuse Center.
All of the entries are posted below:
Thank you and happy holidays from all of us at UpCycle!
Practicing New Skills
" Every week Sam learns something new at Playgroup and tries it at home."
For young children learning is a creative process. It is also organic. They grow their knowledge informally through imitation and trial by error. In their early years learning is a great source of joy. They are eager to practice new knowledge and understandings; they work to apply these in new ways and in new situations.
Building on Experiences
One example of building on experiences is the ongoing exploration we are doing of a tree limb. The first week the children painted the branch and all its limbs. While painting they needed to look over, under and around the branches to spy areas that needed more paint. The second week we supplied tubes which the children enjoyed slipping over the branches. It was as though they were "dressing" the tree. Last week, we removed the tubes from the limb and placed the limb upright in a jar with sand. The children painted the tubes and could then climb a stepladder and reach out and place their tubes on a branch. The children were careful climbing the step ladder. They liked the challenge. How capable they felt!