Featuring: Clever Octopus
Provider of Mini Grant for Story-Related Crafts
As soon as I heard the name “Clever Octopus,” I knew it was an organization that Story Crossroads needed to partner with in some way. So far, Clever Octopus is the one and only creative reuse center in Utah. Do you have anything that could be turned into art? Donate there. Want any art materials? Paints, wood, canvas, scrapbook materials, and the unique items that you didn’t even know you needed…you will find it there. You also find the most glorious prices with items being many times 70% or more off than found in retail stores. Mainly teachers, who often pay out-of-pocket to make learning even more fun and art-centered, know of Clever Octopus and word is spreading fast. Many of the Clever Octopus staff are Change Leaders, a special program taught through the Utah Division of Arts and Museums. I reached out to the people of Clever Octopus and said, “Can we meet? Can I get a tour?” I met with Jen Lopez, the Founder and pictured in the Clever Octopus collage picture above holding up the yarn (and sells out fast). She also met my 4 1/2-year-old daughter. That’s a story….
I meant to have someone watch my daughter while I met with Jen. My daughter is the one in the picture on the bottom right. Can you tell by that smile that she has a lot of energy? She is my ultra-happy child, and she is the same one that I attempt to train on how to be a good audience member or how to wait with patience while mom tries to talk to other people about Story Crossroads.
Despite being a couple hours before their huge Warehouse Sale, Jen had one of her people transform my daughter into a helper. My daughter got to roll up bits of fabric and was proud to show me her accomplishments. Without Jen’s quick thinking and kindness, my daughter would have been constantly distracted by the bins and bins of sparkly, crinkly, whirly, and clumpy bits of potential art project materials.
Jen shared their hope for more space and a larger building as the Warehouse was brimming and beyond with all the donations from people. They always had something to sort and price to be ready for the droves of people who come to purchase the items. She talked about the creation of Mini Grants of $50 or so that people or organizations can apply for and put towards making something inspiring or plain fun. She said my timing was amazing for the online application was to be available within a week.
The same day the application was available, we applied. We wanted to have wooden blocks and paints to make Story Blocks. Each family would get three blocks. They could create four characters (two on each side of the block) and two scenes (again, two on each side of the block). Then, the family can create stories depending on what side they face out and position them. We are excited to have these for our “We All Have Stories” Family Marketplace launching at the 4th Annual Story Crossroads Festival on May 15, 2019.
My boys aged 9 and 11 helped wheel out the huge bin of wooden blocks and paints. We even found some felt scrapbook embellishments with lizards, frogs, castles, fish, and more that would work perfect as finger puppets.
Coming up is the Birthday Party of Clever Octopus. They will turn two years old on April 20, 2019 and are holding the OctoPalooza on Saturday, April 20, 2019 from 7:00pm-11:00pm at 12 South 400 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84101. This celebrates their accomplishments while being a FUNdraiser. You can learn more here: http://www.cleveroctopus.org/party.
Besides the Birthday Party, they have regular art workshops for a nominal fee plus they have the Octopod. What is that exactly? This is what they say about it on their website: The Octopod mobile outreach vehicle is a fully equipped mobile classroom, stocked with a plethora of materials for creative exploration and staffed by Clever Octopus’ artists. The Octopod will host classes throughout the Salt Lake Valley and beyond when it visits schools, adult care facilities, residential treatment centers, community outreach programs, community festivals, and private events.
Now you want to REALLY connect with them? Story Crossroads is pleased to receive their help through the Mini Grant with other adventures with Clever Octopus on the brink…or briny sea.
So toss, tip, or take off your cap to Clever Octopus!