Assorted curios grow from The Sharing Tree’s ceiling and adorn the wall — curtain strands made with vintage ‘60s flashcards and boxes, a dream catcher fashioned out of an old bicycle wheel. It’s clear to see from the center’s decor that artist and Executive Director Carly Sinnadurai is a colorist who enjoys exaggerated hues, contrasting colors, and bright images.
She looks out for the quirkiest items that are donated to the reuse center to repurpose them. Florida State’s science department donated files that were quickly remade into Sinnadurai’s collection along with numerous other artifacts.
“I love the weird and the wacky,” says Sinnadurai. “I also like to work big because I think that big is bold and that it can speak volumes.”
With her store newly relocated to midtown at 218 East Third Ave., and in its seventh year, Sinnadurai says she’s more excited than ever to expand the definition of what The Sharing Tree stands for by introducing more entry points for community involvement. In the New Year, the business will hone in on more experience-based activities. The superintendent, mayor, and county commissioners will kick off the facility’s Reinvention Party on Thursday, Jan. 12, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and Sinnadurai will release a brand new class and workshop schedule.
Offerings will range from classes for preschoolers to seniors, more summer, spring and winter camps will be made available, and new opportunities with a work enrichment program would allow state agencies and departments to think of The Sharing Tree for their next team development activity. Additionally, more higher-end items will be available in the “Junktion” gallery, where six reuse artists have work for sale. Most importantly, Sinnadurai wants to dispel misconceptions that purchasing items in the center will take away from teachers. Opening the door to The Sharing Tree’s storage warehouse, there’s an endless array of overflowing bins, holding everything from wrapping paper to shelving units and no end of supplies in sight.
Sinnadurai attended the Academy of Art in San Francisco where she gravitated towards sculpture and dumpster diving, always seeking ways to repurpose the discarded. One of her biggest contributions to the city’s landscape was a giant lizard mural that can still be seen on Mission Street.
Following the sunshine to Florida State University, she earned a degree in Art Education. Sinnadurai has worked on murals around town like the Centre of Tallahassee’s Urban Food Market and Milano’s restaurant, taught classes at the LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts and made sets for Pyramid Studios’ productions. Her greatest art assemblage has been Tallahassee’s only nonprofit reuse center, The Sharing Tree.
“The Sharing Tree in itself is my favorite piece of art to work on,” smiles Sinnadurai. “You look around and can see art examples everywhere adorning the walls. I love that you can share a positive environmental message through art.”
Her dream began in 2009 in a 400square-foot space in Railroad Square. Earning the attention of the community, the local government and the school board joined with Sinnadurai to establish The Sharing Tree’s education-focused mission — collecting supplies to donate to teacher’s classrooms, giving workshops, and being an artistic resource for the community all while diverting materials from landfills.
Inside The Sharing Tree, Sinnadurai uses functional art to inspire costumers with the store’s materials. She says out of the many items she sorts through each day, she has an equally high amount of project ideas, but must be selective about what she can accomplish in a week. Her multi-faceted process has Sinnadurai thinking of what she wants to convey to the Tallahassee community that might be eye-catching or insightful.
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