Helen Dolas and David Jewell

Yamaha Cares Upcycle Program Provides Musical Instruments to Not for Profits

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To many, musical instruments are works of art in and of themselves. But what if they could be used as a medium to create an entirely new art form and raise money for Orange County not-for-profit organizations at the same time? The Yamaha Cares Upcycle Program does just that, and the first results of this initiative will be on display at the Able ARTS Work Gallery in Long Beach, beginning March 12.

Upcycling is a creative reuse of products into new materials or products of better quality and environmental value. Buena Park, California-based Yamaha Corporation of America donated more than 200 “upcycled” musical instruments—slightly blemished guitars, cellos and violins—to four Orange County not-for-profit organizations, which then collaborated with local artists and students to transform them into new works of art.

The organizations—Able ARTS Work, Anaheim Elementary School District, Boys & Girls Club of Buena Park and KatrinaKures/CHOC —are now putting their creations on full display at the Able ARTS Work Gallery, encouraging their supporters to purchase them, which raises funds for the organizations in new, innovative ways.

Upcycled guitars sent by Yamaha to the Anaheim Elementary School District were turned into new pieces of art by families, the Muzeo Art group, as well as teachers and employees. Some chose to paint scenes on the guitars, while others chose to transform and repurpose their guitars into other useful or decorative items.

One such Muzeo artist, Robert Holton, not only stepped up to create a beautiful Disney-themed guitar for the Anaheim Elementary School District, but he also crafted a commemorative Dodger-themed guitar for KatrinaKures/CHOC, which will be on display at the Able Arts Work Gallery.

“Instead of crushing these instruments, the Yamaha Cares Upcycle Program provides an innovative way for organizations to raise funds for their art and music programs,” says David Jewell, partnerships and alliances manager, Yamaha Corporation of America. “In addition to promoting and funding the arts and music education, part of our corporate social responsibility mission is to reduce the amount of waste that Yamaha sends to a landfill.”

Able ARTS Work artists will receive a 50 percent commission on any work they sell, with the other half supporting the organization’s “A Home of our Own” capital campaign, which plans to purchase a permanent building and gallery for its adult day program for adults with disabilities. The other three organizations will receive 100 percent of the proceeds from the sales.

“Through this generous partnership with the Yamaha Cares UpCycle Program, we have been able to provide our Boys & Girls Club members with an opportunity to be creative individually, while involving their families in a collective art project,” said Todd Trout, CEO, Boys & Girls Club of Buena Park. “Whether new to fine arts or steeped with artistic talent, these members have been brought into the endless world of art through UpCycle.”

“This program came at a time during the pandemic when parents and students really needed a creative outlet and allowed them to put their feelings and ideas into a meaningful project,” said Mark Anderson, curriculum specialist for Music, Anaheim Elementary School District. “We are always excited when there are opportunities for parents to engage in the student learning and this project brought so much joy from start to finish.”

“The medium of making art on a guitar allows people to identify a new and accessible experience in their journey of creative and personal expression,” says Able ARTS Work Founder and CEO Helen G. Dolas. “It’s a dynamic force. The pieces on display are created by students of our day programs. The Upcycle project gives them a productive purpose to create artwork for our gallery while promoting and empowering marginalized artists.”

The Able ARTS Work Gallery is located in Suite 150 at 6420 E. Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach beginning March 12. The exhibit will be open to the public Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through the end of April. For more information about the Yamaha Cares Upcycle Program, please email David Jewell at yamahacares@yamaha.com

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