Depot for Creative Use in Santa Ana puts leftover items to new purpose

Orange County Register 

By Jessica Kwong, Staff Writer

October 28, 2015


SANTA ANA – Inside suite 906 of a sprawling beige and brown business complex at East Wilshire Avenue within walking distance of train tracks, an oasis of creativity has surfaced.

The new Depot for Creative Use is stocked with colorful fabrics, leftover decoration pieces, clean manufacturing scraps and other reclaimed and reusable materials procured from businesses and individuals across Orange County. The items, which would otherwise go to landfills, have been collected in bins there by the nonprofit Child Creativity Lab, which seeks to nurture creativity among local youth.

While about a dozen reuse centers that provide free or low-cost recycled goods already exist in California, the Depot for Creative Use – which held its grand opening last week – is the only one operating in Orange County, according to executive director Peter Chang.

“Teachers have been driving all the way to Long Beach or Gardena,” he said. “We’re all about providing these resources. We have a community maker space in the back.”

Since its soft opening last month, the depot has held one class per week at no or a low cost to youth encouraging them to channel their creativity toward something functional. Many projects are STEM-based, like a kit that challenges children and teens to make a floating boat, for example.

Community members can also purchase the array of materials by the unit. 

The depot is one of its kind in the old industrial area of eastern Santa Ana, said Tony Napoli, an ambassador for the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce. 

“There’s a number of charities but not a lot of art,” Napoli said. “And I’m so impressed they’re introducing this to kids.”

Open Monday through Saturday, the Depot plans to have classes twice a week, Chang said.

Brea resident Avery Yerkish, 11, who attended the grand opening with her sister and mother, was busy at work selecting materials from jars to make a wind chime.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” she said. “I could easily spend hours here.”

Contact the writer: 714-796-7762, or Twitter: @JessicaGKwong