In 2022, Community Forklift’s Community Building Blocks program provided Springhill Lake Elementary School in Greenbelt, Maryland, with free surplus wall tiles for its after-school arts program. Every year, Greenbelt Recreation provides free after-school art classes at Springhill Lake Elementary and approximately 80 – 100 students participate in the program. Each student receives a bag of art supplies and the opportunity to check in to six weekly zoom meetings to share the projects they have made. The Prince George’s Arts & Humanities Council, the City of Greenbelt, and partnerships with local organizations help provide additional funding.
Artist Racquel Keller partnered with Greenbelt Recreation to plan six art projects highlighting a STEM theme. One of the projects focused on the reuse of tiles to make tessellations, which are patterns of geometric shapes that are tiled together without any gaps or overlaps. The project also helped “plant the seed of how we can save and reuse materials to make beautiful things,” Racquel said. In addition to creating these projects for the students, Racquel sought select organizations in Prince George’s county — including Community Forklift — for each of the six projects. Then she created videos as a way to introduce the students and their families to organizations in their community. You can see the video featuring Community Forklift here!
“Before the start of the first class, each child received a bag filled with everything they needed for the art projects. This included the wonderful tiles you supplied for us. … Thank you again for your generosity in helping make this program a much richer experience for the kids of Springhill Lake Elementary!”Artist Racquel Keller, who partnered with Greenbelt Recreation to plan six STEM art projects at Springhill Lake Elementary.
“We wanted to thank you again for being a part of the Springhill Lake Elementary program,” Racquel said. “Before the start of the first class, each child received a bag filled with everything they needed for the art projects. This included the wonderful tiles you supplied for us. … Thank you again for your generosity in helping make this program a much richer experience for the kids of Springhill Lake Elementary!”
Greenbelt Recreation has workshops, classes, and events for all ages and programs are starting now. Class registration is open to both residents and non-residents of Greenbelt and topics range from ceramics and oil painting to woodcarving with axes, sewing, and fused glass. Visit their website to learn more and check out their Spring Activity Guide!
Did you know that you can also use tiles to make tile coasters? All you need are Mod Podge, Foam Brushes, cork, scissors, markers, and decorative paper.
In 2018, Community Forklift attended the National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party Ward Days which featured Fun House, designed by Snarkitecture. The exhibit featured a free-standing house that was stripped of color. Once attendees finished exploring the interactive rooms and spaces of the FunHouse, attendees could partake in an activity where they could add color to a blank canvas. During this activity, Community Forklift taught families how to make these tile coasters.
Whether it’s through tessellated tiles, Greenbelt Recreation art classes, or your own DIY tile coasters, we hope you have a creative, fun, and reuseful Spring!
Every time you donate or shop at Community Forklift, you’re helping us lift up local communities through reuse. We turn the construction waste stream into a resource stream for communities in the DC region – by keeping perfectly good items out of the landfill, preserving historical materials, providing low-cost building supplies, and creating local green jobs.