Spare Parts Instagram Challenge: Art in 5 Project

A few days ago, in a small Mexican restaurant in the heart of Beacon Hill (great corn tortillas btw) I met Mary Cantu for tacos.  We first met some (many, shhh!) years ago at Artpace and we connected as like minded women navigating through life in San Antonio sometimes do. I was inspired by her energy and dedication to arts education. It was not surprising that by 2010 she was making waves and breaking barriers with her own concept and founded Spare Parts, as an innovative, action based response to a noted lack of creativity in K-12 classroom.

The objective of Spare Parts?

Spare Parts’ purpose is unprecedented in San Antonio. It is the leader in reuse education through the arts. Spare Parts inspires & supports the growing San Antonio creative community & our PreK-12 schools through environmental accountability. Spare Parts believes partnerships/programs centered on creative reuse practice builds smart, lasting & win/win initiatives. This will increase the creative & cultural energy of our city & beyond. As a result, Spare Parts reduces landfill tonnage.

Through lots of hard work, sacrifice and help from family, friends and the community, she is making art happen everyday and educating our community on ways to be creative, using a sustainable green approach, reusing materials that would otherwise be discarded, connecting educators to those resources and inspiring, inspiring, inspiring. I could go on and on about what Mary is doing but I do not think I could do it justice, she is a force that will change our perception that art making is expensive and dare I say elitist; it is neither, art making is about creativity and innovation and should be accessible to all.  

The reality is that there are NOT enough funds for ALL of our children in public schools to have an art teacher on campus, some do not have access to any kind of art program, so we make lemonade when we get lemons. Art education is a need not a want in my opinion, so I approached Mary and asked her, “what I could do to help?” 

The Spare Parts Instagram Challenge

After catching up, some brain storming and finishing a very delicious nopalito taco, Mary proposed I challenge myself to post an image daily for the month of September to document an art project that incorporates the reuse materials approach. My brain went on overdrive with ideas and decided I would work on this project with my daughter, Mia. This is a perfect opportunity to bond, talk art and explore a newish forum for documenting the process of making art that I have not tapped into but one that is being used more and more.

The objective of the Art in 5 Project is to re-explore the readymade reality by finding beauty in trash, sustainability in the remade and the creativity to reuse and retell stories born in the imagination of a mother and daughter living in San Antonio.

Our mother and daughter art project on Instagram will explore creativity and imagination by posting daily images of 5 random pieces of “trash” or artifacts that serve no practical purpose and are discarded that are collected throughout the day, at work, at school, at home and everywhere in between to tell mini art story with 5 things and 5 words and spend $0 dollars on the project. This contemporary art project was inspired by ideals developed during the Dada movement and later the Surrealist movement which challenged conventional ideals of the presentation and definition of art by combining ready made objects in new and exciting ways, challenging the way people see, talk and think about art.

Participants will have to follow along to see how this story develops, launch date is September 1st: follow sparepartsSA on Instagram! 

Follow Spare Parts on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter (sparepartsSA). Join the Spare Parts email list via


One thought on “Spare Parts Instagram Challenge: Art in 5 Project

  1. Pingback: Art in 5: An artistic lesson in San Antonio’s discarded | Spare Parts

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