Willie Wonka invited a whole generation to be part of “a world of pure imagination.”
Lovers of this ’80s movie-must grew up knowing that imagination could bring you wonderful things, including edible flowers and rivers of chocolate. The Imagination Factory, the brainchild of artist and teacher Marilyn Brackney, has been teaching the youth of today that very same message but adding in a new twist – recycling.
In 1996, Brackney expanded her classroom teachings by launching The Imagination Factory online. As stated on the website, “The purpose of the site is to teach reuse and recycling concepts through art activities using solid waste as a source of free materials.”
While reuse is not new in the world of teaching, especially art, purposefully connecting the two can create some powerful results. “While most people think that collecting solid waste is recycling, it’s only the first step in the process,” Brackney says. “Using solid waste to make art teaches kids that recycling results in the manufacture of a new product.”
The site is loaded with projects, information about landfills and other resources that provide great outlets for kids to flex their imaginations while learning more about reusing and recycling. Users can also become members for a small fee and access more projects, receive tip-focused newsletters and even discounts on art and crafts from other artists.
Brackney’s mission goes beyond just making art; to understanding the real-world effects a recycling mindset can have. “Recycling to make art encourages the collection of solid waste at home, and it can help change attitudes and perceptions about the quality of recycled products, in general,” Brackney says.
Both Brackney and Wonka make the idea seem rather easy. “Anything you want to, do it. Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it.”
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