As part of the Nashville community, at Nashville Moms Blog we feel strongly that we are part of something bigger than the small worlds we operate in daily. Nashville is a city rich with incredible not-for-profit organizations and resources that support the many and varied different needs of Nashville families, mothers, and children. Once a month, we will be spotlighting a not-for-profit agency that we feel it is important to share with the NMB readers.
SMART art supplies is located in a tucked-away corner of the Berry Hill neighborhood. Although the location is unassuming, it has the potential to make a big impact on this city of ours. The eclectic stock of art supplies is made up of donations and includes everything from bottle caps to fabric to jewelry making supplies. (I don’t want to sell them short – here is a list of things you can find there!)
SMART is a social enterprise of Progress, Inc. which was founded in 1971 as the result of two families who wanted more for their adult sons with disabilities than an institutional life could offer them. That dream resulted in what has become “one of the largest providers of residential supports to adults with intellectual disabilities in Middle Tennessee.” Their services have since expanded and now include efforts to employ adults with intellectual disabilities as well as an “aging in place” initiative that allows seniors to remain in their homes. SMART was born as a way to provide an affordable art supply option to the public as well as help fund Progress, Inc. 100% of profits that SMART brings in go to Progress, Inc. and to adults with intellectual disabilities.
All inventory is made up of tax deductible donations. According to Laurel Sprague, the retail manager, things they are always on the hunt for include cigar boxes, bed springs, cases of all sizes and kinds, music related items, art canvases, baskets, and yarn. Fabric is their best seller—and rightfully so as most of it is $2 a yard! Before you clean out your craft closet to donate unused items, keep in mind that they DO NOT accept furniture, magazines, and old blue jeans. They don’t have the space for large items such as furniture and do not accept clothing. When making a donation, any day they are open is acceptable. If it is a fairly small amount of goods, any time during business hours is fine. If it’s a larger donation, they have more staff Wednesday-Friday to help with unloading and sorting. It is not required to call ahead for large donations, but it does help to give them a heads up.
Laurel herself is a mixed media artist (photography, clay, fiber, and wood). She is fascinated with medical imagery and the natural world. (She also loves to make holiday gift items—something I can very much relate to!) Kelli Monday, who heads up community outreach and project management, creates beautiful stained glass pieces. SMART also employs several adults with intellectual deficits, all of whom have interests of their own which are highlighted on the website.
This place is truly a crafter’s dream. 95% of their inventory is less than $5 which makes it perfect for toddler projects and people like me who have a chronic problem with buying craft supplies for projects that sound better in theory than in practice. Next time you want to buy some supplies for your latest Pinterest inspired craft or toddler survival kit, head to SMART to see what you can find. Be creative and help a good cause all at the same time!