Manny Lopez | Uptown News
Art FORM receives Earth 8 award
In a community center on Adams Avenue in Normal Heights, local nonprofit, Art FORM San Diego, received recognition to the tune of a $25,000 check for its contributions to public school art education with its creative, environmentally conscious program.
The nonprofit was recently named the winner of the 2014 Earth 8 ECO Ambassador People’s Choice Award, which carries with it a $25,000 first place prize from SDG&E.
Earth 8 is a project of CBS 8, The Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, SDG&E and The San Diego River Foundation. Earth 8’s mission is to build regional environmental awareness and to inspire kids to promote a healthy, sustainable Earth through education, outreach and stewardship.
Art FORM (Found Objects Recycled Materials) began in 2011 and provides arts education with creative reuse workshops to schools and the community for little to no cost using all kinds of recycled and reclaimed materials. Students are then encouraged to use their imagination to transform the different supplies, textures and colors and put them together in new ways.
“It was very thrilling to be nominated as a finalist in the first place, because we’re a newer organization in San Diego and we were selected alongside several established nonprofits,” said Erin Pennell, founder of Art FORM San Diego. “The grant award will allow us to expand our programs and help us further develop Art FORM’s infrastructure.”
Pennell said it was tremendous to be supported by members of the Mid-City community, because it validated Art FORM’s off-color idea of a recyclable-based art program.
Pedro Villegas, director of community relations for SDG&E and Rob Hutsel, executive director of The San Diego River Park Foundation, presented Pennell with the check.
“We are thrilled that the community came together to recognize the great work that Art Form is doing by selecting them as this year’s People’s Choice Award recipient,” Villegas said. “At SDG&E, we share the commitment of local non-profit organizations to promote environmental sustainability in the San Diego region. Their work is fundamental to ours and the next generation’s stewardship of the region’s natural resources and we proudly support them.”
News 8 recently aired a weeklong series of Eco-Ambassador reports that highlighted eight non-profit organizations that exemplified environmental stewardship, innovation and responsibility.
Winners were selected by an online public voting campaign that ran from June 13 until July 1. Out of more than 41,000 votes cast, Art FORM won with 10,661 votes.
Sarah Hutmacher, development and programs manager for the San Diego River Park Foundation, said that the campaign was a great opportunity for people to learn about the work being done in the community by environmental organizations. Hutmacher added that she hopes people will find an opportunity through this campaign to volunteer, get involved or donate to an organization that they would otherwise not have already heard about.
“Art FORM is a great example of an organization that should be highlighted since reuse is a critical part of their mission,” Hutmacher said. “We really love being able to highlight programs for youth and getting to see all of the little smiling faces of the kids who knew that their vote made a difference really made the event special.”
Other 2014 Earth 8 ECO Ambassador finalists included Anza Borrego Foundation, Friends of Balboa Park, Humane Smarts, Ocean Connectors, San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, The Earth Discovery Institute and The Water Conservation Garden.
Art FORM also sells reclaimed materials and project ideas through their Creative Re-use Store, which opens on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at 3316 Adams Ave. in Normal Heights.
More information on Art FORM San Diego can be found at artformsandiego.org or by calling 619-795-0013.