Don’t know what to do with your children’s old markers and crayons? Have extra rolls of fabric lying around your basement or wrapping paper piling up in your pantry? Well, don’t throw them out! With the help of Peekskill’s new Retake/Remake space, used craft donations can have a second life.
Cortlandt resident Barbara Korein, president of the nonprofit art supply thrift store called Retake/Remake, and a group of dedicated volunteers just opened shop in Peekskill’s Hat Factory in February. More than happy to accept your art supplies, the store then sells art materials and remnants to the public at a fraction of their original prices. According to Korein, “It’s a terrific destination for artists, teachers, crafters, do-it-yourselfers, parents, kids, and everyone who wants to live more sustainably.”
Korein says the first priority in Retake/Remake’s mission is to get reusable materials out of the waste stream. “Secondly, we want to encourage and make it easy for people to participate in sustainability,” she says. “It should feel really good to know that you didn’t just dump your kid’s art box in the garbage. As a 501(c)3 [nonprofit], we can offer donors a tax deduction for items that they donate to us. And, they will live on.”
According to Korein, “The third part of the mission, and the one I’m most excited about, is that by bringing all these materials together, we’re creating a store that will reach out to the surrounding community and give them the opportunity to buy very, very affordable materials that are both traditional and also very unusual. To me it’s going to be a place that will jumpstart people’s creativity.”
Korein envisions Retake/Remake being different from a typical craft store. While there will be items like pencils, markers, fabric, stickers, and stamps, there will also be more eclectic offerings, such as vintage photographs from the 1930s, old cigar boxes, retro pens, and gilded frames. The shop encourages “creative reuse,” which means to reclaim something for your own purposes and creations in a new and different way.
Although Retake/Remake just opened in February, Korein has been hard at work laying the groundwork for over two years and has been involved in the arts for decades. An artist for 40 years, she taught high school photography and studio art at Fox Lane and Somers high schools for 12 years. In 2008, she and husband Jim Korein moved from Chappaqua into Manhattan, purchasing their home in Cortlandt as a weekend and summer retreat.
While living in Manhattan, Korein was an active arts volunteer and became board chair of Friends of Materials for the Arts (MFTA). A program within the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, MFTA accepts creative material donations from businesses and individuals and redistributes them for free to the city’s public schools and non-profits with arts programming.
“I really got hooked on their mission and saw the ability for people for who don’t normally have access to good materials to be able to get them. And I was also impressed by the saving of all the waste–from places like the fashion industry and museums–that was very usable stuff,” says Korein.
Korein brought her experience at MFTA with her when she and her husband switched their main residence to their Cortlandt home at the time Covid-19 hit in March 2020. “When I started living out here, it was during the pandemic and I had a lot of free time on my hands. I got the idea to try to replicate this New York City program out in the suburbs,” says Korein.
Korein did extensive research, calling creative reuse centers across the country (there are over 50 centers) and following them on social media. She also reached out to many of the local arts organizations in the county, from ArtsWestchester and Katonah Museum to Peekskill Arts Alliance.
In 2021, Korein incorporated Retake/Remake and received nonprofit status. “The plan is to run the art thrift store as a volunteer organization with people who are passionate about our mission of sustainability, reuse, and creativity,” Korein says.
Retake/Remake is open Fridays and Saturdays, 12 noon-5 p.m., for shopping. People can also make appointments to drop off donated materials any day during the week by emailing the shop at email@example.com.
More information is available at retake-remake.org, as well as on the shop’s Facebook and Instagram.
Laura Joseph Mogil is a freelance writer residing in Briarcliff Manor.