Serving the chicago Creative and educational communities with a passion for Art and reuse


Our Mission

The WasteShed provides Chicago with an organized, affordable, and reliable resource for repurposed art, craft, and school materials, and with a dynamic center for activities related to sustainability, art, craft, education, and material culture. We connect Chicagoans who are interested in: 

  • living more sustainably 
  • seeking inspiration in unconventional materials
  • getting the most out of the resources they have on hand
  • or just making projects at a low cost. 

While sustainability is the ultimate goal, creative reuse foregrounds practical, economical, and fun hands-on activities as points of entry into larger discussions about the things we own, and the way we live. 

If this sounds like something you’d like to get mixed up in, please get in touch! 

As of December 10th, 2015, The WasteShed is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit!
— The IRS

The WasteShed is supported in part by grants from the Chicago Community Trusts' Young Leaders Fund, the Lagunitas Community Fund, the Lumpkin Family Foundation, and the Illinois Art Council Agency.

Our People

Eleanor Ray is the Executive Director of The WasteShed. She discovered creative
reuse as an installation and costume artist, and developed her ideas in the nurturing environment of SCRAP PDX. She was also General Manager of the Creative Reuse Warehouse, and spearheaded their collaboration with the ReBuilding Exchange before founding The WasteShed in 2014. She has a BA in Art History from Reed College.

Liz Gomez is the Education Coordinator of The WasteShed. She is a practicing multidisciplinary artist and art teacher of five years, with youth aged 2 to 25 and adults of all ages, most recently 2 years working in Chicago Public Schools. She is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Liz Olney, our Store Assistant, is a sustainability professional with a masters degree in sustainable landscape architecture. They also have a reuse-oriented art practice, and have been a longtime volunteer at The WasteShed


Thanks also to Anna Jo Beck for creating The WasteShed's website and print materials.

And big thanks to Jessi Meliza for the video and it's animations above!

Click here for our brochure. Note that the most up-to-date list of materials that we accept is always on our website, under the "Donate" tab. Stay tuned for an up-to-date brochure.

Eleanor Ray, Executive Director

Eleanor Ray, Executive Director

Liz Gomez, Education Coordinator

Liz Gomez, Education Coordinator

Liz Olney, Store Assistant

Liz Olney, Store Assistant