The Scrap Exchange Grand Opening is Sunday

This Sunday, October 5th long-time Durham community fave and stalwart, the Scrap Exchange, will host a Grand Opening celebration at their new home at #2050 Chapel Hill Road in Durham from 12pm-7pm. The new spot is in the Lakewood Shopping Center. It is a neighborhood that may soon undergo the kind of rapid turnaround that Fullsteam and MotorCo brought to Durham’s DIY district, there are historic roots.

The Lakewood Shopping Plaza was once the home of the Lakewood Amusement Park at the end of the Durham Street Car (trolley) line.

The Lakewood Park roller coaster. (Courtesy Myers Sugg) via Open Durham

The Lakewood Park roller coaster.
(Courtesy Myers Sugg) via Open Durham

Durham Street Car (trolley) Courtesy Myers Sugg ia Open Duhram.

Durham Street Car (trolley) Courtesy Myers Sugg via Open Durham.


More recent incarnations for the space the Scrap Exchange will occupy include a movie theater and the Duke Surplus Store.

courtesy Robby Delius via Open Durham

courtesy Robby Delius via Open Durham

Sunday’s celebration will be emceed by Emmy award-winning children’s TV personality Willa Brigham. It will include a ribbon cutting ceremony with State Senator Mike Woodard, a parade through the facility led by the Bulltown Strutters, artist demos in the Design Center, free art-making in the Make-n-Take Room, Don’t Waste Durham’s first trash-free food truck rodeo, Junk Jams, live music  from local bands and a fund-raising raffle to win a Naked Elf car.

As long time Durham residents know, the Scrap Exchange is not just a Durham treasure, but rather a national-model creative reuse and arts center. It was founded in 1991 and has many Durham homes.

The Scrap Exchange is a gypsy no more. It has spent two decades of occupying subsidized and/or leased spaces throughout Durham, including a space at the then burgeoning Northgate Mall, that is a happy, hazy memory for so many Durham late-twenty and early thirty-somethings, and later a spot at the recently demolished Liberty Warehouse, before moving to the Cordoba Center for the Arts when Liberty’s roof collapsed.

scrap at liberty

The Liberty Warehouse incarnation

The Scrap Exchange has spent nine months repairing and upfitting the building for occupancy. They moved into the facility in August 2014. Since the move, the staff, the board and other volunteers have been creating unique reuse-centric spaces within the property to embody the organization’s reuse mission and to support specific programming needs like a retail store, art gallery, outreach events, and open studio community spaces stocked with materials and equipment for onsite use.

During Sunday’s Grand Opening, visitors will be able to explore and use the community spaces for free. Art-making will be available in the Make-n-Take Room,  a traditional Scrap Exchange space that hosts Open Studio programs daily for groups, families, and individuals.

Visitors can also view the inaugural Cameron Gallery exhibit, “Faces and Spaces” featuring works by Eric Kelly. The Cameron Gallery is a new exhibition space in the reuse arts center, named after long-time supporter Danny Cameron. In their press release, Scrap Exchange’s long-time Executive Director, Ann Wooodward, explains, “Danny Cameron has supported the organization in so many ways—from volunteering his time and expertise to the organization in the early 1990s, to donating amazing store and studio materials, to offering operational and building support from the Dan Cameron Family Foundation, to investing in a future that embodies creative reuse in communities, and a place to exhibit the work.”

Cameron, an artist, talked about why he has supported the nonprofit’s mission for so many years.  “The list of reasons why The ScrapExchange excites me is long:  Helping our environment, not only by educating us about the reuse of materials, but by making that process a fun adventure. Providing an abundance of activities to bring out the creativity lurking in all of us. And maybe most important, contributing to world peace by bringing diverse people together and thereby building a spirit of community.”

Artists will be on hand during the Grand Opening to demonstrate how to use the assorted equipment available in the Design Center.  The Design Center has expanded to 1200 square feet in the new space. It includes a huge variety of machines and tools available to the public for sewing, crafting, and other art and crafting projects.  Their equipment includes sewing machines, sergers, die-cut machines, a hot-iron press, paper cutters, mat cutters, and work tables. The center also includes a library of art and craft books. The Design Center is used for creative reuse programs that include classes, free community meet-ups and drop-in open studios.

Other parts of the center continue to evolve within the facility.  The retail store now includes a Free Zone where materials are offered to the public for free. In another space in the new building, a Wood and Metal Shop is under construction. It will eventually provide a community work space with equipment for artists and makers who work with reclaimed wood and metal materials.

shot outside the new location when the building was by Jessica Arden Photography

shot outside the new location when the building was closed…photo by Jessica Arden Photography

The grounds outside The Scrap Exchange are also getting a makeover, reuse style. Long  neglected parking lot landscaping is slowly getting cleaned up and existing plants are being dressed with layers of burlap coffee sacks and tumbled glass and ceramic “mulch” that was salvaged from previous Smashfest events hosted by The Scrap Exchange.  A proposed sculpture garden is emerging with the first sculptures already set in place by artist Jonathan Bowling.

Again the Grand Opening celebration begins Sunday at noon, October 5th and runs through 7pm in the Lakewood Shopping Center.

You can find a full schedule of events on their website at

The Grand Opening  is free and open to the public.

They are having a big raffle. Tickets are currently on sale at the new Scrap Exchange. Grand Prize is an win an Organic Transit Naked Elf car valued at $4000. The Naked Elf car raffle is sponsored by Shoeboxed and the Durham Chamber of Commerce. Raffle ticket proceeds benefit The Scrap Exchange.

An Organic Transit vehicle under construction

An Organic Transit vehicle under construction

So after you wake up at the Jamnesia camp site or recover from whatever your Durham Saturday night fun was, grab some brunch at Geer Street Garden or Dame’s Chicken and Waffles or Parker & Otis or Foster’s Market or any one of our bevy of good choices, head on over to Lakewood to celebrate the GRAND OPENING of the new Scrap Exchange.

Clarion Content

Clarion Content is a Durham-based online magazine that curates and creates the thriving culture that gives our city its identity. Our community building is only as strong as our collective contributions. Our team of curators welcomes your comments, suggestions, and concerns. We are open to all points of view, especially those that challenge and therefore stimulate our own. We also encourage reader submitted material as well as guest columnists. See something cool, outrageous, outlandish, or important? Have a great cause? Send us a note or stop by our offices at the Mothership, 401 West Geer Street inside the MotorCo complex.

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