ReLit: Renewing our Past. Lighting our Future.
Did you have a chance to take part in our first annual upcycled lighting festival? ReLit showcased the connection between environmental education and the footprint of the everyday “stuff” we all have. Giving extended life to unrepairable items is full circle stewardship and preserves the natural resources used to create them.
The Repair Clark County program fixes lots of broken stuff – over 700 items in 2021 alone. But what about items that can’t or shouldn’t be repaired? “It’s such a shame to me when something can’t be fixed,” said Program Coordinator, Terra Heilman. Unfortunately, certain items are just beyond repair for various reasons. Maybe parts are no longer available or it would be dangerous to keep using it. “In those cases, the best you can usually hope for is that some of the materials can be recycled. Sometimes these vintage items have such cool lines and chrome details. I can’t bear to see them go to a landfill or recycling center.”
Upcycling (a form of recycling that upgrades and extends the use of the item) has always been a passion for Heilman, but after providing a series of lamp repair workshops at Columbia Springs, she became more focused on upcycled lamps. “I began to ask myself, ‘What if we could turn some of these other broken items into lighting?’” and the ReLit concept was born. The fixers in the Repair Clark County program were so excited to creatively giving these items new life. “It’s pretty surprising what you can make into a lamp,” said Kylie DaCunha, Community Engagement Specialist for Columbia Springs. “We have blenders, percolators, juicers…all turned into functional art!”
This year’s event consisted of a three week showcase of upcycled lighting pieces made by volunteers. A self paced walking tour made it easy to go on a hunt for these whimsical art pieces, and was a great family friendly or date night activity.
ReLit is also a fundraiser for the nonprofit Columbia Springs. A silent auction was open during the duration of the festival and winning bidders brought home a one of a kind, locally hand made lamp while supporting environmental education in Clark County. “With all the time these lamps spent at our site getting ready for the festival it was easy to develop favorites and get attached. I was so happy to see that they all found homes,” said DaCunha.
If you missed out on this year’s ReLit festival, don’t fear! This event will be offered annually with new lamps coming to the show each time. Check out the event page (www.columbiasprings.org/relit) in late summer of next year to learn how you can get involved, or simply sign up for our e-newsletter to stay in the know: www.columbiasprings.org/join-newsletter.
A huge thanks to the local businesses, artists, and supporters of ReLit 2021!