It’s the beginning of February, which means it’s time to feature another Sustainable Local! Today I had the opportunity to talk with Tim Beyer, co-founder of Green Art People in Ventura County. I approached Tim about doing an interview with us because of all the great things I’ve heard about his organization. He and his co-founder, Lisbet Frey, have formed an amazing organization that enriches and inspires the community, while encouraging sustainability! Their concept was so appealing to me, and I had to find out more about them.
Sustainable Socially: “Hi Tim, thanks for taking the time to talk with me today. My first question is: what’s the story behind the opening of Green Art People?”
Tim: “Well, my background is in insurance, fine art, and jewelry appraisal. After I retired I got a job at a place called Art from Scrap in Santa Barbara. Working there really gave me inspiration, and I decided ‘this should be done in every city’. So Green Art People was born with my co-founder Lisbet Frey in Ventura County, because I’ve lived here for 40 years. Lisbet is a long-time friend of mine, and has worked with many non-profits, so we wanted to do something that combined my love for art with non-profit and a green state of mind. We take scrap and overage materials that are donated to us from individuals, businesses, wherever; and we re-use them to make art materials. All of the stuff that’s donated to us would normally go into the garbage, and would be piled on to a landfill somewhere. We use all of our funds to give art tools to teachers, students, and artists. We do take donations, but luckily the store almost provides for itself. It’s great to see what Green Art People does for the community, everyone’s so happy when they’re here and when they see what they can do by simply giving us their trash. It’s inspiring, and again, I think this should be done in every city.”
Sustainable Socially: “I definitely agree with you there! Sounds great! So why are you so passionate about the environment? What caused that?”
Tim: “I’ve always been interested in doing what I can to live a green lifestyle. Because of Lisbet’s background in non-profit and mine in art, we decided to combine those two interests with sustainability. I feel really strongly about keeping our garbage out of the landfills, and not trashing our planet. My true passion, though, is the community. That’s the great thing about Green Art People, not only is it sustainable, but it enriches the community. I found that society in general needs to come together more, as communities and as people. We’re so enclosed and separated from each other. So Green Art People uses creativity to bring people together, which is a primal function of humanity. From the beginning of time, humans have been drawing, dancing, and making music to express themselves. Now, it seems that there is very little value placed on that in our society. We want people to know that it’s alright to be creative.”
Sustainable Socially: “Awesome, I love it! I’ve seen you guys on Facebook before, always keeping active and posting pictures! How has utilizing social media helped you get the word out?”
Tim: “We used social media almost exclusively for the first three years of business. It’s served as the majority of our way of communication with the public. We now have almost 4,000 friends on Facebook, and we’ve been able to hold events that are advertised pretty much exclusively through social media. It’s a great way to connect with other green or art based organizations throughout the county and country. Because we are a non-profit, we didn’t really have a lot of money to pour into advertising, Facebook made it possible for us to engage with the community while cutting costs, and luckily for us, word of mouth is the best form of advertising.”
Sustainable Socially: “That’s great. It is an awesome tool. One more quick question, what kind of programs do you offer for people to get into art?”
Tim: “We have a few great programs. One in particular is called the Art Survival Backpack. We give backpacks full of art supplies and instructions to kids who are out of school for the summer. It gives them something positive to do while on their break, and in most cases spikes an interest for art! We also have an archive music program where we help local singers and songwriters get their music noticed in the community. Other than that, we always have art programs going on for both children and adults.”
Sustainable Socially: “That’s awesome, Tim. Thank you so much for your time! It’s been great to meet you, and I’m looking forward to seeing Green Art People grow and continue to enrich Ventura County!”
In case you haven’t checked them out, Green Art People is located in an old warehouse space that has been converted into an artistic wonderland at 140 N. Ventura Avenue! You can friend them on Facebook to find out what’s going on every day, or give them a call at 805-729-2361! Visit their website to check out all of the newest pictures and videos!
They’re also having a big grand opening party for their new building on March 30th at 10pm! You should definitely be there for some great art, music, and community fun!
How would you create something like Tim and Lisbet did to increase sustainability and community engagement in your area?