LancasterThrivingSummerFall2017 - 39
This article highlights and supports the work
that's being done in the community to satisfy
the Physical Environment dimension of our
hen is the last time you cleaned out your attic?
How about your basement or the back of that
closet that nobody uses anymore? If you're like
many people in Lancaster County, you're quick to recycle
things like plastic, glass and paper. In fact, according to the
most recent Prosperity Indicators Report, Lancaster County
residents recycled 235,019 tons of material in 2015, alone.
But when it comes to all the stuff tucked away in nooks and
crannies in your house or office, you may either leave it there
(out of sight, out of mind) or take it to the nearest dumpster
because you just don't know what else to do with it!
gallery, and set up shop at BUiLDiNG Character in Lancaster.
From there, Montanye and Mr. Nobody built a large
following, as they continued to teach workshops together
and sell their art.
"At the same time, people started dropping things off at
our studio that they were going to throw away, thinking we
could use it," Montanye said. Soon it became clear that they
needed more room to grow. Fast forward to today, Art of
Recycle is housed in a 7,000-square-foot space ideal for
their needs with storage rooms stacked from floor to ceiling
with materials for art projects and crafts, some you'd expect
and many that you wouldn't.
But moving to a new space and expanding the business isn't
the only thing that's changed since 2008.
But tucked away in Ephrata is an organization that wants you
to stop throwing away your unwanted stuff, and bring it to
Art of Recycle is a non-profit art center located at 27
Cloister Avenue. Chelas Montanye and Mr. Nobody Special
(an inside joke and nickname from his childhood that
stuck) teach workshops on how to create everything from
mosaics to fairy teacup gardens to puppets and more using
discarded objects in surprising ways with whimsical and
beautiful results, ultimately making a positive impact on the
community, as well.
But it didn't start out that way.
The journey to Art of Recycle began when Montanye and
Mr. Nobody first met and moved to the area. Inspired by
the local art scenes in the cities where she traveled for her
former construction job, Montanye decided to teach a
drawing workshop. In 2008, she also decided she wanted a
During that time, Montanye and Mr. Nobody also realized
that, when it came to business, their hearts were not driven
"I had taken a loss three years running as a for-profit, selfemployed business," Mr. Nobody Special explained.
"We were putting more money into it than we were ever
getting out of it," Montanye added.
With that in mind, the pair began the process of
incorporating as a non-profit organization.
"There's a couple of reasons why we went non-profit. One
of them is that we weren't making any money," Montanye
explained with a laugh. "We weren't doing it for the money.
The more we did, the more we realized what our focus really
was. We were looking at the good we were doing and what
needs were in the community, and from there, we were
saying, 'OK. How do we fund it?'"