Art From Scrap

It all began with the unique vision of collecting scrap materials to combine art discovery and environmental education: Promoting a greater understanding of environmental issues and encouraging creative expression in the arts!

Explore Ecology began it’s life in 1990 as Art From Scrap, with its roots in a ReUse retail store, an Arts Center, and a Reduce, Reuse, Recycle environmental education program.

Over time, as AFS environmental education lessons grew to serve over 26,000 students each year throughout Santa Barbara County, our array of lesson topics expanded - focusing on waste reduction, water quality, and gardening – and the Watershed Resource Center was added as an additional education center.

At this point Art From Scrap’s program activities had outgrown their name.

Today Art From Scrap operates under Explore Ecology, an environmental education and art discovery organization, continuing to deliver all of the well known and much loved ReUse store and art programs that the community has come to rely on.

Art From Scrap ReUse Store

Practice Reuse, support the environment, and have fun while selecting from an amazing array of items.

Art From Scrap’s ReUse Store keeps thousands of pounds of clean, reusable materials from ending up in the Santa Barbara County landfill each year. All kinds of treasures donated by local businesses and individuals – from tiles and tape, to paper and picture frames, to fabric and film reels, to beads and burlap bags - are available as the perfect low-cost option for theater & art projects, Halloween costumes, Solstice floats, party decorations, and other creative endeavors.

Come Shopping! Art From Scrap is open to the public. Fill up a grocery bag of materials from our bulk section or select many items priced individually, by the pound and by the yard. New materials arrive daily. Drop by often to see what’s new!

Art From Scrap Community Art

Encouraging and supporting creative exploration for children and adults

Art Workshops

Art From Scrap holds art workshops at the AFS Art Center almost every Saturday from 10:00 to 12:00. Join an Art From Scrap staff member or a visiting Guest Artist to make a different project each week – or complete any work of art inspired by the variety of unique items you will find in the art workshop.

Children 5 years and up can stay and have fun while their parents go shopping at the Saturday Farmer's Market – just one block away.

This is a perfect way to spend a morning – for artists of all ages! Check our calendar for these and other programs.

Birthday Party, Special Occasions and Space Rentals

The AFS Art Center is the perfect party place – for both children and adults. An AFS staff person will assist your guests as they create art projects of their choice, using hundreds of different art materials.

To schedule a party or for more information on rental opportunities for seminars, art classes, or other facility uses, download our reservation form below or call Tara at 805 884-0459 x 11 or email us

Download Art From Scrap Birthday Party Reservation and Information Form PDF