Reuse, (Re)Art, Recycle

How fine arts students can contribute to a circular waste system

With sustainability and climate action becoming an increasingly omnipresent factor in everyday life, the ways in which we must change our habits in an effort to become more environmentally conscious are becoming more apparent.

We’re taking the steps to reduce plastic waste and taking to the streets to protest for climate change, so why do we stop where our individual practices are concerned? For those invested in climate action, making art can feel restrictive. There is no doubt that creating is wasteful: paper, paints, brushes and canvases are discarded freely when they no longer serve a purpose.

While certain student groups, such as Concordia University’s Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR), are making an effort to implement sustainable practices, not everyone in the Greater Montreal community can access these resources. We asked the Fine Arts Student Alliance (FASA) if they had any comments or upcoming plans regarding sustainability and they refused to comment on the matter.

Currently, CUCCR diverts waste from within Concordia, and offers it to students free of cost. These materials include everything from wood to office supplies, and have helped avert approximately 14 tonnes of materials from waste. 

CUCCR coordinator, Arrien Weeks, is researching how Concordia’s Fine Arts departments is teaching sustainability for his Masters in Art Education, and a team of CUCCR’s artists-in-residence are working on developing a sustainable-painting workshop, as well as several other sustainable-oriented skillshares, in the near future. Paint poses a particularly interesting conversation because of it’s very materiality. Oil paint can be toxic and acrylic paint becomes plastic when it dries, making proper at-home disposal impossible.

Recently, art supply store DeSerres introduced a new recycling program in partnership with TerraCycle that could solve this problem. TerraCycle is a volunteer-based recycling program, with a focus on collecting hard-to-recycle items, such as razors. Instead of discarding waste, they reuse and upcycle it to create a circular waste system rather than a linear one.

The program, titled “(Re)Art,” was created in an effort to instill sustainable practices into the art-making process and allow artists to create freely. Described as a “social responsibility program,” the DeSerres (Re)Art motto is “give back. recycle. recreate.”

Student artists looking to recycle their materials can do so by visiting a participating DeSerres store, to place their items in the “(re)art recycling box.” Accepted items include paint containers, paint brushes, markers and pencils. Locations in the downtown Montreal area include Alexis Nihon and Ste. Catherine E.

The CUCCR Used Material Depot is located at the GN building, at 1200 Guy St., and The Shed is located at the Hall building, at 1455 de Maisonneuve. For information regarding their hours, events and workshops visit

Further information about the (Re)Art program and participating DeSerres locations can be found at

More information about TerraCycle can be found at

And finally, for more information about Montreal’s sustainable resources, consult this map, created by past CUCCR intern, Caroline Alince.


Photo by Britanny Clarke.


“Don’t Buy That” gives used items a second life

With the average Quebecer spending approximately $458 over the holidays, as shown through a survey reported by Global News, you can count on people’s wallets being stressed.

Concordia University’s Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR) and the Art Hive hosted a workshop titled “Don’t buy that!” on Dec. 4. Teaming up with Sustainability Ambassadors, the workshop offered alternative gift-giving ideas by creating their own holiday presents and decorations.

Arrien Weeks, a coordinator for the CUCCR, explained that wrapping, purchasing and even making gifts can create lots of waste. “we just came together to try and change that,” Weeks said.

The event, hosted downtown at the Hive, included four different stations. Each was curated to a specific need: a card-making station, ornament crafting, knitting help, and their popular beeswax wraps workshop. It also included vegan baked goods made by Devonly Bakes, a student-run catering service.

Materials used at the workshop were all reused or recycled. “I’m hoping it can make people rethink how they approach gift making, gift-giving, and just trying to reduce people’s consumption at the end of the day,” Weeks said.

The Wednesday evening crowd consisted of a mix of Concordia students, alumni and other event-goers who had never even been to the campus before. Abigail Lalonde, an avid knitter who volunteered for the event said, “The skills that we share with each other are useful. It supports a really good state of mind, which is self-sufficiency. I hope that people can come and learn something. That they can feel included. That they can share with someone.”

Kate Evoy, a student at Concordia, brought her friend Lexi Benware along to the event. The pair was eager to try different arts and crafts. When asked about the workshops’ value, Evoy said “Obviously the sustainability is a huge part of it. Mixed with a community atmosphere, I think that’s such a good way to introduce people to sustainability and the effects of consumerism and all that.”

Events like this one help build a culture around sustainability efforts,” said Benware. “It’s not just one person doing it – people are coming together and making it more normal and natural for people to do.”

The two friends believe that presenting alternatives to the materialistic holiday we all love can educate people on the negative effects of consumerism. Evoy said instead of the typical dooms-day rhetoric she’s used to, she was warmly welcomed.

“It’s more like, come to partake in this, and it’s fun, and we’re doing good things,” she said.

Ivan Chamberland, a Concordia alumna, was inspired by the ingenuity of beeswax wraps. In today’s throw-away society, Chamberland finds herself excited to learn new ways of consuming alternatives to disposable items.


Photo by Laurence B.D.



CUCCR opens a brand-new space after seven months

“It’s really wonderful to be back and have our doors open, see a bunch of familiar faces, and a bunch of new people discovering CUCCR”

Concordia University’s Centre for Creative Reuse reopened last week in a new location after seven months of renovations. The new centre is located in the Grey Nuns Residence, and the bigger space allows for more room for CUCCR to grow.

CUCCR is an organization that takes material – like school binders and fabrics – that would usually be thrown out by Concordia, and offers it for free to Concordia students and anyone that is a member of the organization.

“It’s really wonderful to be back and have our doors open, see a bunch of familiar faces, and a bunch of new people discovering CUCCR,” said Anna Timm-Bottos, the creator of the organization. “People really were waiting very patiently, and we felt so bad not being open because we know this is such a valuable resource.”

The new space in Grey Nuns, open Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, mainly focuses on being a place where people can create things. It currently has sewing machines, cutting and book binding stations, and Timm-Bottos plans to expand this in the future.

She explained that in May, CUCCR’s original space in the basement of the Hall Building closed to allow for renovations in the new space. She had planned to open in September, but because of strict security at the Grey Nuns Residence – as it has to be secure for students – there were delays.

With a new and bigger space, Timm-Bottos is excited to see an influx of people, but because they reopened in a quiet time of the year – with exams and holidays – it’s hard to say how popular the new space will be.

Yet, the traffic is still increasingly higher than what it was last year. Timm-Bottos explains that according to their records from last year, around this time of year they would have 20 to 30 people a day, and in the busy times of the year, 70 people a day.

According to Timm-Bottos, with the new space, they are having around 50 to 60 people a day, and in the first week since reopening, they had over 250 visitors.

One of the plans for 2020 is to have a tool library, where people pay either a monthly, yearly, or by-the-semester membership fee, to rent out simple tools like power drills and wrenches, to take home. Timm-Bottos explained that she wants people to have more tool literacy, so that people understand how and when to use them.

She started off as a high school art teacher, where she witnessed teachers being afraid of lacking the budget to buy art supplies and being forced to use their own money to buy them. When she came to Concordia to do her Masters, she saw the same fears in the teachers she was training.

Two years ago, Timm-Bottos got involved with Concordia’s sustainability community, and realized the huge amount of material that an institution like Concordia throws out. The project she then proposed was originally waste diversion, but now it has become a complex organization with around 3,000 members.

There was just a missing link, which was CUCCR.

“There was a lot of fear of what it could look like,” said Timm-Bottos. “But what we found is we have diverted over 19 tons of material in the two years we were open. Concordia discards over 60 tons a year, so we are barely scratching the surface, but at least it’s something.”

Timm-Bottos hopes the new CUCCR will be more active in making things, rather then the Basement Shed, which refers to the old space in the Hall Building and was seen as more of a free store.

The Basement Shed is currently open Tuesdays and Fridays as a material depot. In January, it will focus more on being a space where people can make things with reused material.

“It still functions that way, but hopefully there are more opportunities [with the new space] for skill shares, workshops, more educational opportunities, where people can learn some skills,” said Timm-Bottos.


Photo by Maya Jain

Student Life

Minimize waste to maximize impact understanding

The Dish Project challenges Concordia students and faculty to live waste-free for five days

From March 11 to 15, several Concordia organizations are encouraging students to partake in the Zero Waste Challenge 2019. Part of the event series Sustain’alive, the Dish Project, Concordia University Center for Creative Reuse (CUCCR), and Zero Waste Concordia organized this challenge to encourage Concordia students, faculty and staff to try living “zero waste” for five days.

“The objective of the challenge is to really start a conversation about waste and unsustainable waste management on and off campus, and to create a strong community around the zero waste movement at Concordia,” said Maya Provencal, the external coordinator of The Dish Project. Participants are challenged to refrain from creating any landfill waste, and instead use products that are recyclable, reusable, or able to be repurposed.

Adopting a completely zero waste lifestyle may sound difficult at first, which is precisely why the Zero Waste Challenge was created. Since it is a community effort, participants are encouraged to share tips and tricks for living a more sustainable lifestyle. This way, the challenge won’t seem as intimidating. “It can be really scary to try and move away from that dependency, especially alone, so The Dish Project started the Zero Waste Challenge in an attempt to make this a community affair rather than an individual one,” said Provencal.

Those wishing to partake in the challenge can sign up through email and receive tips from The Dish Project. Participants are also encouraged to tailor the challenge to meet their own lifestyle if they feel they cannot commit to living completely zero waste. For example, changing one aspect of their daily routine, such as packing a reusable water bottle instead of a plastic one, is an excellent start. Taking small steps towards being more eco-conscious contributes to larger change.

Taking steps to create a waste-conscious community both on and off campus is pertinent since sustainability is an issue that affects everyone, albeit disproportionately. Many think it is simply an environmental issue, yet it is also a social and economic issue.

Provencal explained that our current extraction-based economic system wastes valuable resources, contributes to landfills and other waste management sites, and that this system affects marginalized communities at an extremely disproportionate level. “We want students to understand that by reducing their waste production, they are rejecting this destructing system and creating a better world,” said Provencal.  

Feature graphic by @sundaemorningcoffee


Happening in and around the White Cube this week…

Happening in and around the White Cube this week…

Studio 7 artist call-out

Studio 7 is an experimental platform for young artists to show their work offered by the Department of Contemporary Dance at Concordia and is located on the seventh floor of the MB building. This “plurydisciplinary” space encourages students working in all mediums to apply to present and rediscover their work through the lens of movement and interaction with an audience.

For more information, visit
Applications are due Nov. 14.

The VAV gallery is now accepting submissions for their winter 2019 general programming and special exhibitions. Special exhibitions include the VAVxCUCCR Reuse Residency as well as one strictly featuring performance art. The gallery is open to any type of performance with any materials or tools, and encourages artists working in any media to apply.

To submit artwork for the general programming, fill out the application form online at
Applications are due Dec. 7 by 11:59 p.m.


To apply for the VAVxCUCCR Reuse Residency, fill out the application form online at,
Applications are due Nov. 30 by 11:59 p.m.


Art Matters artist call-out

This year, Art Matters is seeking artists for 10 exhibitions taking place during the festival in March 2019. Curatorial themes range from the unconventional, communication, duality, text, sovereignty, materiality, interactivity, “arte-utile,” dreams, silence and embodiment. Artists can submit up to two applications, solo or in small groups of five members at most.

To apply, fill out the application form online at
Applications are due Dec. 7 by 11:59 p.m.


InARTE Journal call for submissions

The InARTE Journal is a student-run online publication dedicated to promoting visual art and culture in art education. For issue 09, students from all fine arts departments are encouraged to submit visual and written work (creative, academic or pedagogical) surrounding ideas of how emotions resonate in art-making in and outside of the classroom. The submission deadline is Dec. 14 at 5 p.m.

For questions, inquiries and submissions, email

Transcending the realms of reality

Corrupted Portal reshapes interdisciplinary points of view

Navigating the conceptual realms of reality and the otherworldly, the VAV Gallery’s current exhibition, Corrupted Portal, explores the spaces and complexities between the everyday and the mystical, the exhibition features a diverse mix of interdisciplinary works, ranging from painting to sculpture and performance art. Within each work, there is a distinctive style and form in how each artist interprets the exhibition’s theme. Each one creates a complex, diverse space for exploration and, by extension, new ideas are brought forth.

When first entering the gallery, the viewer’s eyes go directly to the collection of large paintings and prints on the walls. There is a visual theme in Corrupted Portal of bright, unnatural neon colours, which contributes to the overall concepts of the untraditional and the spaces between reality and the surreal. Sculptures showcased in the exhibition also use materials that explore the untraditional, and question otherworldly realms through their forms.

Juliana Delgado’s olfactory sculpture references recent events in Brazil, where a fire at the National Museum destroyed many invaluable items and works. The sculpture uses a mixture of scents to recreate the smell of the fire and the burning of these special artifacts and artworks.Taking a conceptual approach and including various sensory components, the reference of the very real fire is considered in a new, conceptual form.

Through the works, it is apparent how each artist personally interpreted the connections between the everyday and the otherworldly, and how that translates into their art. Themes and focuses explored by the respective artists include witchcraft, technology, institutions and structure in conjunction with the sublime. Themes of nature and the environment are also prominent in the varied artworks. The exhibition creates a space for viewers to explore all of these different realms and ideas, developing diverse and complex understandings of the relationship between reality and the mystical.

Zachary Potvin William’s painting, Crack of Dawn, uses bright, eye-catching colours, fluid forms and detailing. According to the artist’s statement, Williams is inspired by mythical aspects of botany and nature. As the statement shares, although Crack of Dawn explores “the subject of obscenity and perversity in a humoristic manner, formally it is a search for radiant light.”

IV Phases of the Salt Moon (I – IV) by Xan Shian is a quadriptych (four-piece series)made from digital collage and photo manipulation. The works focus on the moon and its phases, and create intricate textures through the digital work. As Shian explains in their artist statement, “the images query the nature of perceived reality, truthfulness in the digital epoch, and the reliability of memory.”

Corrupted Portal also includes a weaving performance by Scarlet Fountain as part of her ongoing work, Rope Project. Fountain is a Concordia theatre student exploring the boundaries between different disciplines, including performance art, visual art and theatre, which Rope Project considers through its form.

According to Fountain, the project began last year and was inspired by her volunteer work at the Concordia University Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR). The project considers the life cycle of materials and how communities can be represented through the waste they create and the materials they throw away. Fountain’s project also connects to concepts and allegories of diversity. By incorporating various mediums and binding them together to create a unified structure, Fountain mirrors the diversity of our communities.

Corrupted Portal will be at Concordia’s VAV Gallery until Nov. 9. Scarlet Fountain’s Rope Project weaving performances will take place every Monday from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the gallery, for the duration of the exhibition.


The Art Hive is a safe space for all

The Art Hive is dedicated to students’ creative expression, without judgement

Creation, self-care, and skill-sharing—Concordia’s Art Hive provides a serene environment where everyone can create. Run by the school’s creative art therapy students, this space provides students and the university’s community with a place to relax, decompress and work with a variety of creative materials. The Art Hive works to provide an inclusive space for the community, with the intention to connect, share skills and create.

There are a variety of Art Hives located across Montreal, which provide community connection and artistic resources to varied neighbourhoods throughout the city. Concordia’s very own Hive is free, open to all, and wheelchair accessible. It also works with the university’s Centre For Creative Reuse (CUCCR) to provide recycled and reused materials, creating a sustainable foundation for art-making.

This space is dedicated to students’ creative expression, without judgement, whether they have previous experience with the arts or not. Students use it for self care in periods of academic stress, to work on creative school or community projects, or to meet other people from diverse backgrounds around a constructive activity.” – Rachel Chainey, Art Hive Network national coordinator.

Its location within a university arguably heightens the significance and value of the Art Hive’s mandates and resources. In an academic environment that generates a lot of stress, intensity and focus on productivity, the Art Hive provides a space for people to remove themselves from that environment and take time to relax, be creative and work without an agenda or a deadline.

The Art Hive is for people of all disciplines, whether fine arts or any other department of study. Artistic spaces can often be intimidating and may appear or act as an exclusive environment, deterring some from becoming involved. The Art Hive is a resource specifically for the community, and its mandates work to make sure it is inclusive, accessible and comfortable for all.

For those who are experienced in fine arts, the Art Hive provides a more relaxed space to create and practice a craft, contrasting with the typical academic format of deadlines, critiques and specific criteria. Instead, students can create without these pressures and perhaps find further inspiration for their other work. In studying fine arts and creating work exclusively for a curriculum to be graded, the magic and joy in art can be lost, to a certain extent. By providing an environment specifically for the wellbeing of the community, with no structure or need for a specific finished product, fine arts students can once again find their passion and inspiration, or just create artwork in a space focused on providing peacefulness and freedom for all.

With ties to art therapy, the Art Hive uses creation as a therapeutic practice. Along with its regular scheduling and space, the Art Hive also offers a Pop Up Art Hive at the Zen Den in the university’s Counselling and Psychological Services department space. The space works to give visitors a calm, comfortable environment to decompress and practice mindfulness, while also having support and staff on-hand for those who are struggling or simply need some support.
The mental wellness aspect of the Art Hive is another major component of the organization and what it can provide to the community. As students, mental health—which can be affected by stress, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed—can be a prominent concern. It’s not always easy or accessible for students to reach out or receive help for these concerns. It is also often difficult to acknowledge the need for extra support. This space has direct ties to therapeutic practices and removes some of the potentially daunting aspects of reaching out for help, while still working to provide a form of relief or aid through its format. The accessibility of the Hive comes into play here-everyone is welcome.

The Art Hive is also just an enjoyable place to be. While there plenty of benefits tied to wellbeing, mental health and student life, the space also provides an environment to create, experiment and connect with others. With its inclusivity, accessibility and flexibility, the Art Hive truly provides a great space for the community. It can be a wonderful resource for students, addressing and acknowledging a variety of needs and working to provide a comfortable space for all.

The Art Hive is open on Mondays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the 5th floor of the EV building. The Pop Up Art Hive at the Zen Den is open from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. every other Tuesday.

There’s a fine line between art and trash

Introducing three final artists from the first annual VAVxCUCCR residency

In celebration of the Concordia University Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR)’s first year of operation, the centre will host their first annual residency in collaboration with the VAV Gallery. Together, the VAV and CUCCR have selected seven undergraduate fine arts student-artists who will exhibit their work on March 22. The artists have been tasked with creating zero-waste artworks using CUCCR’s material.


Gabrielle Mulholland is a Toronto native and began her studies in illustration at OCAD University. She left OCAD to move to Montreal in 2014, and is now in her last year of print media at Concordia. This summer, Mulholland will be opening her own printmaking studio in the Plateau. Inspired by CUCCR’s focus on creative reuse, Mulholland began to consider the original saying, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” and how the emphasis was originally placed on reducing and recycling, not reusing.

Gabrielle Mulholland’s installation, x 11, consists of a papier-mâché screen print sculpture, a “snow pile” of found materials and an 8.5 x 11 inch tapestry. Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Mulholland.

The artist’s experience of constantly being in the city forms the basis of her current work, which aims to challenge the idea that art and design create waste. Mulholland is particularly interested in producing work from garbage found on Montreal’s snowy, frozen streets. For the residency, she has created an installation called x 11. It consists of a papier-mâché screen print sculpture, a “snow pile” of found materials and an 8.5 x 11 inch tapestry. The exact composition of her piece will be revealed at the exhibition.

The tapestry was created from material sourced at a Renaissance thrift store and hand-dyed using a salt resist. “In the imagery on the tapestry, you can slightly see the original illustration student in me who was obsessed with human communication and symbols,” the artist said.

Mulholland is thrilled to be part of the first annual VAVxCUCCR residency. She said she hopes the exhibition will inspire artists and students alike to be more involved in creative reuse.


Laura Douglas has a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in environmental studies from McGill University, and is currently in her third year of studio arts at Concordia.

She works in a variety of mediums, including paint, textile and installation. Most, if not all, of Douglas’ work grapples with themes related to the environment. Her recent project was exhibited as part of the Art Matters Festival at Mainline Gallery’s Tender Teeth exhibit. She hand made a biodegradable quilt using organic fibres and placed seeds in the fibres that will grow upon long-term contact with soil. Her work will also be featured in Bright Lights / Blurred Vision, opening March 19 at 6 p.m. at La Récréation – Jeux de société et activités culturelles (404 Ontario St. E).

Laura Douglas built small hanging planters and larger self-watering planters out of recycled containers. Photo courtesy of Laura Douglas.

For the residency, Douglas created an installation of small hanging planters and large self-watering planters, using soil from public spaces and reused containers of varied sizes from CUCCR. She painted these containers to suit her desired aesthetic.

Douglas is particularly interested in the fact that cities are often built on the most fertile soil, yet lack large areas dedicated to gardening. As an artist and environmental activist, Douglas wants to use her work as a means of teaching others about how easy urban gardening can be. Self-watering planters can be made with two containers and mesh or burlap. The bottom of one container must be removed and replaced by the mesh or burlap, allowing water from a second container to be absorbed when needed.


Mikaela Kautzky is currently in her second year majoring in studio art and minoring in diversity and the contemporary world. She said she believes art is a valuable personal, social and cultural tool, but it lacks consideration in how it impacts the environment. Like Mulholland, Kautzky aims to deconstruct the wasteful nature of art-making.

In addition to waste, Kautzky’s work shines a spotlight on social and environmental degradation. She strives to lead a completely zero-waste lifestyle, meaning she only consumes unpackaged food items and commits to purchasing biodegradable products. Kautzky uses art as a tool to commit to no-garbage living.

“For one whole school year, I challenged myself to do a painting of every piece of trash I threw out, and I learned a lot about the issue through this creative research,” Kautzky revealed. “Now, going forward, I try to create with the least environmental harm as possible by using reused materials and less toxic paints in my art practice.”

“Rest In Peace Phil Folderino” is an ode to manual means of storing data. Mikaela Kautzky urges viewers to think about the impact art-making has on the environment. Photo courtesy of Mikaela Kautzky.

Kautzky volunteered with CUCCR during the fall semester, and she is quite familiar with the abundance of file folders kept in the depot. Her project for the residency, “Rest In Peace Phil Folderino” is an ode to manual means of storing data and questions whether or not online storage is truly the greener alternative. “It is ultimately just out of mind, out of sight,” Kautzky said.

The artist also dabbles in photography and fashion in Less_n, a larger project that demands a dialogue on contemporary consumption. Kautzky will be selling upcycled, second-hand shirts at September Surf Cafe and Pop-Up Shop on March 24 at 4123 St-Denis St. Details will be released on Instagram @mik00k and @less_n.

The Concordian has profiled the artists-in-residence each week leading up to CUCCR’s birthday event on March 22. Past issues have featured Bianca Arroyo-Kreimes, Gabrielle Desrosiers, Roxane Fiore and Saba Heravi.


Illustrating new worlds with old objects

Introducing two artists from the first annual VAVxCUCCR residency

In celebration of the Concordia University Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR)’s first year of operation, the centre will host their first annual residency in collaboration with the VAV Gallery. Together, the VAV and CUCCR have selected seven undergraduate fine art student-artists who will be featured in an exhibition on March 22. The artists have been tasked with creating zero-waste artworks using CUCCR’s materials.

The Concordian will profile the artists-in-residence each week leading up to the birthday event. Last week’s issue featured Bianca Arroyo-Kreimes’ animation, Ballad for the Spirits, and Gabrielle Desrosiers’ sunset studies.


Roxane Fiore has a DEC in graphic design from Ahuntsic College, and is now in her last year of painting and drawing at Concordia. She works primarily in drawing, but relies heavily on collage for inspiration and compositional components. Collage allows her to create new perspectives by enabling her to “access things that are beyond what I can invent,” Fiore explained.

Roxane Fiore sifted through magazines to find images suited to her vision.
Photo courtesy of Roxane Fiore.

While searching for images, Fiore looks for textures, colours and unrecognizable shapes among figurative imagery. She flips through magazines, tearing out and cutting up pieces that intrigue her. Then, she scans all she has collected in order to work with the images digitally.

“I have a large digital collection of random pieces that I can use and gather together, and there is a lot of chance happening in my work,” the artist revealed.

Fiore enjoys the element of surprise that comes with juxtaposing random images with each other. Once satisfied with the juxtaposition, the artist will add, remove and play with different features until she creates something balanced that catches her eye.

Sometimes, Fiore will take the individual collage pieces and make a manual assemblage to photograph. That process allows her to obtain shadows and create an interesting “trompe-l’oeil,” or illusion.

Usually Fiore creates large works, but for the CUCCR residency, she has adapted her process. “This time around, I was scanning through the material found at CUCCR with an idea of the type of imagery I was looking for,” Fiore said.

This project, titled Places I Have Never Been to; Things I Have Never Seen, is a series of small, square drawings measuring 7.5 inches, drawn in pastel and charcoal. “Their small size invites the viewer to search for details and experience the world through my eyes,” she said. This series illustrates her perception of the world. She is in a constant search for form, shapes, texture and colour. The pieces also exemplify how she crops images in her mind, focusing on the beauty within the everyday and the mundane.


Saba Heravi was born in Iran and moved to Canada five years ago to continue her studies in architecture. Heravi has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Azad University of Mashhad in Iran, and received her master’s in architecture here at Concordia. However, she always wanted to study fine arts and become a “career artist.” Heravi is currently finishing her third year in studio arts at Concordia, with a major in drawing.

Her work revolves around the ideas of home, identity and memory. As an immigrant, the collision of cultures and identity is the artist’s daily reality. Heravi’s work approaches this broad subject in fragments, so she can make sense of what is going on.

“I try to tell intimate stories by utilizing objects, stories and photographs,” Heravi explained. “In my work, objects and belongings become as important as the subject to expose the narrative. They are an integral part of my narrative.”

Heravi creates pocket worlds for the many different versions of herself. Photo courtesy of Saba Heravi.

Recently, she has been working on drawings of little worlds. The population of these worlds consist of women and young girls, all representative of herself. The artist’s characters are calmly engaged in strange activities and poses in relation to their surroundings. For example, some may be doing yoga, and some may be dropping or breaking things on purpose.
Initially, Heravi planned to use drawing as the main medium for the residency project. However, after exploring CUCCR’s depot, she realized drawing alone wouldn’t convey the message she was aiming for. “I decided to mainly use objects from CUCCR, and drawing as a secondary tool. This way, CUCCR’s recycled material would play the leading role in my project,” Heravi said.

The artist used a lot of stationary materials, fabric and string to accompany her drawings, as well as some hardware, like screws and bolts, to assist with the installation process.

“The objects vary, which I think is whats makes this projects challenging. You don’t necessarily find the objects you had in mind, and you will end up using something you had never thought of,” Heravi explained. At CUCCR, this very moment Heravi describes is referred to as “CUCCR magic.

Mark your calendars for CUCCR’s birthday at the VAV Gallery on March 22 at 6 p.m. Stay tuned for next week’s profiles of student-artists Gabrielle Mulholland, Laura Douglas and Mikaela Kautzky.

Feature photo courtesy of Saba Heravi


Cycles, transitions and reanimating materiality

Introducing two artists from the first annual VAVxCUCCR residency

In celebration of the Concordia University Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR)’s first year of operation, the centre will host their first annual residency in collaboration with the VAV Gallery. Together, the VAV and CUCCR have selected seven undergraduate fine art student-artists who will be featured in an exhibition on March 22. The artists have been tasked with creating zero-waste artworks using CUCCR’s material.

The Concordian will profile the artists-in-residence each week leading up to the birthday event.


Bianca Arroyo-Kreimes moved to Montreal from Toronto three years ago to pursue her studies in animation. Arroyo-Kreimes is an experienced digital artist and is currently in her third year in animation.

“I try to see my art as a way to explore the many ideas I have going on in my head,” she said. “It’s a way of resolving them, I guess.” Most of her past work focuses on mythology, humanity and identity. Arroyo-Kreimes enjoys experimenting with under-camera animation methods, such as stop-motion.

Her work, Ballad for the Spirits, is a collection of one-minute video loops that address ideas of karma, the afterlife and recycling. Using a great mass of odds and ends like buttons, metal knobs and string from CUCCR, Arroyo-Kreimes has given these seemingly random objects a new purpose, a new shape, body and voice.

“The objects are now awakened and alive again in the bardo [a state between death and rebirth], as objects pass from one hand to another similarly to the way karma works,” she said.

The way she sees it, karma, rejuvenation and the recycling of objects are linked and belong within the same imaginary venn-diagram.

Ballad for the Spirits is a collection of one-minute video loops that address ideas of karma, the afterlife and recycling. Photo courtesy of Bianca Arroyo-Kreimes.


Gabrielle Desrosiers completed a DEC in set and costume design at the École de théâtre de St-Hyacinthe in 2007, and began her BFA in studio arts at Concordia in 2014.
The foundation of Desrosiers’ work lies in her travel experiences. Last year, she spent a semester abroad at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, Israel.
Desrosiers is a multidisciplinary artist, focusing on performance art and installation, combining various elements and mediums. For the residency, she is presenting part of a research-based project. She is fascinated by the gradient colours of the sunset and twilight period right before nightfall. Currently untitled, Desrosiers’ installation questions the metaphysical and psychological effects, reactions and suggestions of this

Desrosiers’ piece is based on the gradient of colours found in the sky during sunsets and twilight. Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Desrosiers.

natural, observable phenomenon.

“I paint gradient colours of the sky and sunset on a flat surface, which is similar to the frontal position our body takes to look at it,” Desrosiers said. “But, in fact, the sky is all around. The sky is not a surface; it is an intangible, three-dimensional thing.”

She explained that her goal is to recreate the gradie

nt motif on a structure by reconstructing the two-dimensional surface and transforming it into an engaging, three-dimensional experience.
“I think that the verb ‘to experience’ is really important here,” Desrosiers said. She reflects on the twilight period as a symbol of ending and beginning. “It’s a transition,” she said. “A moment of time sort of suspended […] It is the end of something, and the beginning of something else. It’s a cycle.”

Desrosiers selected material from CUCCR that seemed interesting in connection with her research. She recalled spending large amounts of time in the depot, which led her to be inspired by the textures and patterns, or materiality of the objects. Desrosiers’ installation uses large sheets of paper, found objects, latex paint and a kiosque tent, all courtesy of CUCCR.
The artist said she is glad to be part of the CUCCR residency, as its zero-waste goals are similar to her own. She reuses her own material and often re-integrates them into different projects. “I feel like there is no complete finality in each of my projects,” Desrosiers said. “They can continue to evolve or merge [with others].”

Mark your calendars for CUCCR’s birthday at the VAV Gallery on March 22 at 5 p.m. Stay tuned for next week’s profiles on student-artists Roxane Fiore and Saba Heravi. Follow the Concordia University Centre for Creative Reuse on Facebook and Instagram @cuccr.

Photos courtesy of the artists.

Student Life

Redefining waste for a cleaner tomorrow

In pursuit of waste justice: student groups launch Concordia’s first Zero Waste Week

How many times a day do you throw something in the trash? Do you give it much thought when you do? New research published by the Worldwatch Institute suggests that the amount of waste produced worldwide could double by 2025—from today’s 1.3 billion tons per year to a whopping 2.6 billion.

In an effort to promote sustainable waste management practices, Concordia student groups such as the Dish Project, Concordia’s Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR) and Waste Not Want Not are kicking off the university’s first edition of Zero Waste Week on Oct. 23.

The principal organizer of Zero Waste Week is the Dish Project. This student-run, zero-waste resource organization will be hosting multiple workshops from Oct. 23 to 27 that offer creative solutions for reducing waste. The Dish Project aims to reduce the volume of disposable items sent to landfills by storing and lending out reusable dishes to Concordia students hosting events. The service is available at little-to-no cost, making it accessible and economical.

The Dish Project offers a variety of reusable dishes for events on campus. Photo courtesy of the Dish Project.

“Up until recently, the Dish Project was mostly just focused on our operations of lending out reusable dishes to help reduce waste in and around Concordia,” said Vanessa Macri, the organization’s general coordinator. “However, after reevaluating ourselves internally, we thought that there was a gap with waste justice education on campus. So now we’ve started engaging with students a lot more. One thing that we thought would be a great vehicle to help us do that was Quebec’s Waste Reduction Week [from Oct. 21 to 29].”

Maya Spring, the Dish Project’s outreach and engagement coordinator, will be co-hosting four workshops over the course of Zero Waste Week. “I find that, in today’s society, there’s such a disconnect between us and the waste that we produce,” Spring said. “I think the first step towards breaking that disconnect is talking about waste, which is a huge part of Zero Waste Week and the workshops we’re putting on.”

CUCCR will also be participating in Zero Waste Week with a “Do It Yourshelf” shelf-making workshop on Oct. 27. For those who have yet to discover its hidden location in the Hall building basement, CUCCR is an initiative that collects used art materials and supplies from around campus and makes them available for repurpose by the general public.

Rather than solely focusing on waste reduction, CUCCR looks at how unwanted materials can actually be useful to people. Recent Concordia MA graduate Anna Timm-Bottos spearheaded this project with the help of funding won in Concordia’s Big Hairy Ideas competition. “I saw so much material being thrown out that I knew someone else could use if only we could capture it,” she said, adding that CUCCR plays a key role in Concordia’s sustainability efforts and in changing the larger culture around waste.

Waste-sorting games will be hosted in the downtown library cafeteria on Oct. 25 and 27 by Concordia’s composting advocacy group, Waste Not Want Not. Another beneficiary of the Big Hairy Ideas competition, Waste Not Want Not works to strengthen Concordia’s infrastructure in pursuit of zero-waste goals. Anyone conscious of their trash output is likely already aware of the many benefits of composting—not only does separating organics from other trash decrease the amount of waste sent to landfills, it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and creates fertilizer for plants. Waste Not Want Not’s mandate includes providing access to on-site composting facilities, increasing the number of composting bins around campus and educating students on why composting is integral to building a more sustainable future, according to the organization’s website.

“We’re hoping this week will open people’s eyes to the impacts of waste. It’s one thing to recycle and compost, but it’s another thing to understand where your waste actually goes,” Macri said. “We want Zero Waste Week to show that waste reduction doesn’t just stop at recycling and composting—you can also reduce, upcycle, reuse materials and get creative with how you’re repurposing waste. Hopefully folks will take that away along with how many opportunities there are at Concordia to get involved in the waste justice movement.”

For additional information about the Dish Project, visit To find out more about CUCCR, drop by H013-7, open Tuesdays to Thursdays between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. or visit For details about the Waste Not Want Not composting advocacy group, visit


Help save the environment and your wallet

One of Concordia’s newest initiatives makes art production more affordable for students

Concordia’s newest, underground fine arts initiative (it is literally located in the basement) deserves some recognition. The CUCCR, nicknamed “sucker” by its creators and members, is both environmentally friendly and financially accessible to students.

It works by collecting excess supplies and used art materials from places around campus (studio classrooms, the Visual Arts building storage rooms, and the Grey Nuns residence) and making them readily available to the Concordia community and members of the public in one location. According to the initiative’s depot coordinator, Arrien Weeks, CUCCR’s members are people of all ages, spanning from ages “four to eighty.” Membership is required to utilize the centre, but both it and the use of the materials are completely free.

The centre is located in the Hall building and can be tricky to find. However, starting on the ground floor of the building, there are signs and stickers that help lead the way.

The CUCCR space was also built entirely from waste materials found on campus. The wooden signs, shelving, tables and organizers were repurposed to create a warm, welcoming and store-like room where materials are categorized and displayed in an organized way. The types of materials can vary depending on what is collected and donated, but what is currently available varies from wooden boards to rubber bands and even miniature sand buckets. Used canvases are also a “hot seller,” said Weeks.

Additionally, the centre also accepts material donations to be re-used by fellow Concordians. However, be sure to check CUCCR’s website before bringing something in, as the organization doesn’t accept certain materials such as used textbooks, oil paints and articles of clothing.

According to Weeks, since the centre’s opening in March, they have had an influx of memberships but hope to increase membership even more over the school year. Recently, they’ve gained more exposure through studio arts class presentations and trips to the centre. In the future, Weeks said, CUCCR hopes to expand their initiative to a larger and more accessible space on a ground floor, “to increase our visibility even more, but also to have more space to collect more materials.”

CUCCR’s main goal is to largely reduce Concordia’s waste. According to Weeks, “up to today, CUCCR has collected over four tonnes of Concordia’s waste, and members have checked out over two tonnes of that waste.” In the years to come, Weeks said, they hope to exponentially increase both of these numbers—which are recorded through the centre’s checkout system.

“We have pretty much everything, so just come by and take a look,” Weeks added.

CUCCR is open Tuesday to Thursday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and is located at H013-7 in the Hall building. For more information on materials available, becoming a member, donating and more, check out CUCCR’s website.

Photo by Kirubel Mehari

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