Dante Celeiro Receives 2018 Buffalo Exchange Arts Award

 

By Savy Kroop and header art by Jessica Gonzalez

Every year, the Buffalo Exchange Arts Award honors a member of the local art community in Southern Arizona with $10,000 so that they can continue doing their great work. On January 29, 2019, family, friends and other local artists gathered at the University of Arizona Poetry Center to celebrate as this year’s winner, Dante Celeiro, accepted the award.

Dante Celeiro accepting the 2018 Buffalo Exchange Arts Award from Kerstin Block, Founder of Buffalo Exchange

History of the Arts Award

The Buffalo Exchange Arts Award was established in 1994 by Buffalo Exchange founders Kerstin Block and Spencer Block to highlight emerging artists in the performing and visual arts as well as individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the arts through education, organization and advocacy. Each year, candidates are selected by two separate panels of experts who are familiar with the Southern Arizona Arts scene. Over the years, Buffalo Exchange has worked alongside the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona to award over $200,000 to 24 Southern Arizona artists.

Community Leader Dante Celeiro

Hailing from NYC before heading to the Southwest, Dante has been involved with social activism in the arts community for over 25 years. He started the Tucson AIDS memorial quilt panels at the Southern Arizona Aids Foundation and now manages Boys R Us, Arizona’s first gender performance troupe. Feeling that there needed to be more safe spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community, he also created Fluxx, a non-profit that advocates open dialogue about queer culture. The organization aims to boost visibility and encourage the creation of queer arts and culture through exhibitions, performance art and workshops. Fluxx recently hosted a 10-week “School of Drag” program, for example, that taught 11- to 16-year-olds about the history of drag, makeup, costumes, wigs and dance.

Photo by Rachel Castillo

At Buffalo Exchange, we know that we owe our success to the communities that surround us. “We’ve always believed that art is essential to the well-being of the community,” says Buffalo Exchange Founder Kerstin Block, “and Dante really exemplifies that. He has dedicated himself to mentoring young people in the arts and providing them with safe spaces where they can be themselves. We’re proud to support someone who has done so much for LGBTQ youth.”


Buffalo Exchange Tokens for Bags program

Tokens for Bags® Charities

Every six months, we support new local charities through our Tokens for Bags® program. Instead of giving out bags, we give customers the opportunity to donate five cents (the cost of the bag) to a charity of their choice. Since 1994, we have raised over $778,660 for thousands of local nonprofit organizations through our Tokens for Bags® program, saving 15.5 million bags from polluting the environment.

Find your local Buffalo Exchange below and check out the charities you can give back to.

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Buffalo Exchange, Tokens for Bags, Ocean Defenders Alliance, Charities

Meet Our Charities: Ocean Defender’s Alliance

By Emma, Buffalo Exchange HQ

 

One of the things that makes Buffalo Exchange unique is our stores’ ongoing support of local charities through our Tokens for Bags® program. Instead of giving out plastic bags, we give out charity tokens with each purchase. These give our customers the chance to support a range of local non-profits that help out animals, individuals in the local community and the environment each time they shop. What can we say? Giving back is important to us! Since starting the program in 1994, we’ve kept over 15.4 million plastic bags out of the environment and raised more than $774,365 for thousands of local non-profits.

 

At Buffalo Exchange Costa Mesa, one of the many charities we’re supporting this year is the Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA). Since it was founded in 2000, ODA has worked hard to protect ocean wildlife and their habitats from abandoned fishing gear, pollution and more.

Ocean Defenders Alliance, Tokens For Bags, Charity, DebrisOcean Defenders Alliance, Tokens For Bags, Charity, Debris

A Community Effort

Protecting our oceans takes a village and no one understands that better than the Ocean Defenders Alliance. Not only do they keep an eye on regular commercial fishing locations that tend to accumulate abandoned gear, but they also have a large network of divers and community supporters who notify them when they find cast-off gear and improperly sunken vessels. This allows them to devote more of their time to actually cleaning up debris!

Ocean Defenders Alliance, Tokens For Bags, Charity, DebrisOcean Defenders Alliance, Tokens For Bags, Charity, Debris

Cleaning Up Our Seas

Using their custom-outfitted vessels, ODA regularly heads out into the ocean to take care of business. Their divers work to free sea life and collect debris. They recycle anything they can and properly dispose of everything else. While they’re out on the water, ODA also works with the California Department of Fish and Game, the Coast Guard and many other agencies to maximize their efforts.

Ocean Defenders Alliance, Tokens For Bags, Charity, DebrisOcean Defenders Alliance, Tokens For Bags, Charity, Debris

Education and Outreach

ODA’s job isn’t over when they make it back to land, though. When the organization isn’t out actively cleaning up the ocean, they’re reaching out in any way possible to educate people on the repercussions that man-made pollution has on our oceans and the ways we can make a positive difference. They go to schools, clubs, conferences and anywhere they think they can make an impact.

 

Since they started, the Ocean Defenders Alliance has removed tens of thousands of pounds of man-made debris from the ocean, all while doing whatever they can to prevent it from winding up there in the first place. We are proud to support ODA in their efforts to take care of our oceans. When you shop at Buffalo Exchange Costa Mesa through the end of the year, you can help make a difference for the Ocean Defenders Alliance just by placing your token in their charity box. Stop in to shop for a cause!


Buffalo Exchange Tokens for Bags program

Tokens For Bags® Charities Fall 2018

Every six months, we support new local charities through our Tokens for Bags® program. Instead of giving out bags, we give customers the opportunity to donate five cents (the cost of the bag) to a charity of their choice. Since 1994, we have raised over $774,365 for thousands of local nonprofit organizations through our Tokens for Bags® program, saving 15.4 million bags from polluting the environment.

Find your local Buffalo Exchange below and check out the charities you can give back to.

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Thank You for Shopping Our Earth Day $1 Day Sale!

By Jessica Pruitt, Buffalo Exchange HQ

Attention all Earth Day $1 Day shoppers! If you stopped by to score some $1 finds last Saturday, April 21, you ought to give yourself a huge high five. Thanks to everyone who came out, we raised $51,471 for The 5 Gyres Institute, a non-profit doing great work in the area of ocean plastic pollution. That’s a whole lot of happy turtles – and we couldn’t have done it without you! In the four months leading up to Earth Day, we also collected over 1,464 furs through our Coats for Cubs Drive, which are shipping out to animal rehabilitators across the nation as we speak.

A Little Bit About Our Earth Day $1 Day Sale

Buffalo Exchange, Las Vegas, Earth Day Dollar Sale, Empty Racks

On Saturday, April 21, customers lined up around the block at 47 Buffalo Exchange stores nationwide to shop a special selection of clothing for $1 apiece. For these shoppers, brunch could wait – they knew that $1 items go quickly, so it’s best to get to the store early! Whether it was pouring rain (we’re looking at you, Texas) or hedging on 90 degrees (ahem, Tucson), the sale went on!

Buffalo Exchange, Las Vegas, Earth Day Dollar Sale, Happy Customer

Over the past 20 years, Buffalo Exchange’s Earth Day $1 Day Sales have raised more than $665,000 for a variety of charities and environmental causes. Last year, all funds raised went to the Humane Society of the United States and their efforts to promote pet adoption. Other charities we’ve supported include Center for Biological Diversity and their water conservation efforts.

And Don’t Forget Coats for Cubs!

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Coats For Cubs, Fox Kit

From January 1 until Earth Day every year, we invite customers to donate their unwanted furs in any condition to our Coats for Cubs Drive. We then ship these off to wildlife rehabilitators across the country, who repurpose them into bedding to provide warmth and comfort to recovering animals. Since taking this initiative over from The Humane Society in 2006, we have collected over 15,108 furs for animals in need. This year, we collected over 1,464 furs, all thanks to you guys.

But it doesn’t stop there – we give back to the community all year round! At every one of our 47 Buffalo Exchange stores, we support three local non-profits at a time through our Tokens for Bags program. Instead of giving out plastic bags, we give out 5 cent charity tokens – the result is over $728,595 raised for thousands of local nonprofits and almost 14.5 million plastic bags kept out of the environment. Want to give back just by shopping? Stop by your local Buffalo Exchange to recycle your closet cleanout and shop fun spring finds!

 

 


Buffalo Exchange, Headquarters, 5 Gyres, Plastic Pollution

More Ocean, Less Plastic: Meet Our Earth Day $1 Day Sale Beneficiary

By Danielle Hargett, Buffalo Exchange HQ

Every year, we choose a different environmental charity to support through our Earth Day $1 Day Sale. For 2018, we’re thrilled to announce that all proceeds from the sale will go to The 5 Gyres Institute! 5 Gyres is an organization dedicated to using science, art, education and adventure to understand and reduce plastic pollution.

Mark Your Calendars

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, 5 Gyres, Prince Leopold Islands

Clear your schedule – our 21st annual Earth Day $1 Day Sale is coming up on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at all locations, excluding outlets. A special selection of men’s and women’s fashion will be available for just $1 apiece. All proceeds of the sale will be donated to The 5 Gyres Institute in support of their efforts to research ocean plastic pollution and engage communities in the responsible use, design and disposal of plastic materials.

So, What’s a Gyre?

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, 5 Gyres, Beach

A gyre, pronounced jy-yure, is a ring-like oceanic current system. There are 5 subtropical gyres in the ocean (hence the non-profit’s name!) and, in 2011, 5 Gyres discovered evidence of plastic in all of them. Since then, they have been studying how plastic travels to these gyres and the effects it has on marine ecosystems, wildlife and human health.

#BeadFree

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, 5 Gyres, Broken plastic on beach

5 Gyres may be relatively new, beginning in 2009, but they’ve been at the forefront of major environmental challenges and accomplishments. A notable example is the 2015 U.S. ban on plastic microbeads – tiny pieces of plastic found in cosmetics that you can’t see or filter out. Thanks to their research on plastic pollution and their #BeadFree campaign, the sale and manufacturing of these plastic microbeads are now banned in the United States.

Moving Towards a Plastic Pollution Solution

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, 5 Gyres, Plastic trawl

Current 5 Gyres programs include their TrawlShare, Plastics BAN (Better Alternatives Now) List and Mi Mar educational initiative, just to name a few. Through their Trawlshare program, they engage citizen scientists and are able to broaden their data collection on marine plastic pollution. Their Plastics BAN List gives consumers the chance to learn about the materials they regularly use and provides options for better alternatives to plastic.

One of their newest initiatives, Mi Mar, or My Sea in Spanish, is a program that encourages underserved high school students to learn about plastic pollution through one-day research expeditions off the coast of L.A. Through their programming, they work to spread awareness about the issue, create community engagement and spark ideas for long-term solutions.

BYOB!

Buffalo Exchange, HQ, 5 Gyres, Reusable bags

Like what you hear? Support 5 Gyres and their mission to reduce plastic pollution by shopping our Earth Day $1 Day Sale this April! To minimize plastic use and maximize your clothing carrying capacity, be sure to bring your own reusable bag to the sale (or buy one of ours, made from 70% recycled bottles)! Don’t forget that the sale is cash only and that $1 items go quickly, so plan to arrive at the store early! For opening hours, check your local Buffalo Exchange. To learn more about 5 Gyres and find out other ways to get involved with this year’s Earth Day $1 Day Sale beneficiary, visit 5gyres.org.


Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Plastic Pollution in the Ocean , Collage

5 Easy Ways to Reduce Plastic Pollution in the Ocean

By Danielle Hargett, Buffalo Exchange HQ

 

For our annual Earth Day $1 Day Sale, we’re teaming up with The 5 Gyres Institute to help turn the tide on plastic pollution in the ocean! At the sale, we will offer a selection of clothing for just $1 apiece. All proceeds from the sale of $1 items will be donated to 5 Gyres in support of their efforts to research ocean plastic pollution and engage communities in the responsible use, design and disposal of plastic materials. Fortunately, it’s easy to be a part of the solution! Here are a few simple things you can do at home to reduce your plastic use:

1. Carry a reusable water bottle. Not only does a refillable bottle make good environmental sense, it’s good for your bank account. Three cheers for staying hydrated without contributing to plastic pollution in the ocean! Buffalo Exchange, HQ, Plastic Pollution in the Ocean, Holding water bottles Full Story


Buffalo Exchange, Tucson, Arts Award, Nathanael, Performance

Nathanael Gregory Myers Receives Buffalo Exchange Arts Award

By Danielle Hargett, Buffalo Exchange HQ

“Art is not something that humans do when they have nothing else to do. Art is an essential part of the human condition. It happens everywhere and in all circumstances.” – Spencer Block, Co-founder of Buffalo Exchange

Every year, the Buffalo Exchange Arts Award honors an emerging artist in Southern Arizona with $10,000 so that they can continue doing great work for the local community. This year, the award went to Nathanael Gregory Myers. On January 24, 2018, family, friends and other local artists gathered at the University of Arizona Poetry Center to celebrate as Nathanael accepted the award. Luckily for everyone in attendance, he also offered up a very cool performance!

Buffalo Exchange, Headquarters, Arts Award, Kerstin Block, Nathanael Myers

Nathanael Myers accepting the 2017 Buffalo Exchange Arts Award from Kerstin Block, Founder of Buffalo Exchange

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Buffalo Exchange and Bug's Bikes Charity

A Little Goes a Long Way: Buffalo Exchange Boston and Bug’s Bikes

By Savannah Timpani, Buffalo Exchange HQ

If you’ve ever shopped in one of our stores, you’re probably familiar with our Tokens for Bags program – you know, the one that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside because you have the chance to donate to a local charity every time you shop. If you’re not familiar, here’s the way it works: instead of supplying plastic bags that cost about a nickel apiece, we offer shoppers a token worth 5 cents to put towards a good cause. Every six months, we give three new charities the chance to participate. Recently, Buffalo Exchange Boston in Somerville teamed up with Bug’s Bikes to help children with special needs. Read on to find out why we’re proud to be supporting this awesome non-profit!

How did it all begin?

The idea for Bug’s Bikes came from 5-year-old ‘Bug’, a visually impaired kid with High-Functioning Autism who really loves to ride his bicycle! After finishing his second day of Adaptive Bike Camp, which helps children of all ability levels to ride, he decided that all kids should have the chance to ride their bike home every day. Unfortunately, with price tags for basic adaptive trikes running from $600 to $1,000 on average, many families can’t afford them. Every bike is a little different depending on the kid. Bug’s bike, for example, has three wheels, a seat belt and a seatback.

Buffalo Exchange and Bug's Bikes

“Bikes Like Me for Kids Like Me”

Determined to help his friend Sienna get a bike, Bug set up a lemonade stand with the help of his parents. Who would have figured that they’d raise over $2,000 in just three days? On October 2, 2013, Bug’s Bikes gave their first bicycle to 5-year-old Sienna. Since then, Bug’s Bikes has run an annual lemonade stand, along with other fundraising efforts, to support Bug’s vision of “Bikes like mine for kids like me!” The adaptive bikes that Bug raises money for often give families their first chance to ride bikes together and are great therapeutic tools for helping kids with special needs to build strength. Eventually, Bug’s Bikes hopes to expand the program and give out several bikes a month!

Buffalo Exchange and Bug's Bikes Lemonade Stand

To find out more about Bug’s Bikes and volunteer with them, visit BugsBikes.org. Or, if you’re in the Boston area, stop by Buffalo Exchange Boston Somerville to donate a token and help Bug keep the wheels turning!


Austin Nonprofits

Spotlight on Austin Nonprofits: TreeFolks

By Amelia Gotobed, Buffalo Exchange HQ

We all know that money doesn’t grow on trees. Instead, it takes an outpouring of community support to run Texas non-profit TreeFolks. Trees are essential to our environment, cleaning our air and water and providing habitat for wildlife. That’s why TreeFolks works so hard to plant trees in Texas. And that’s why Buffalo Exchange Austin is proud to sponsor TreeFolks as one of the three Austin nonprofits in our Tokens for Bags® program.

What is TreeFolks?

Austin Nonprofit TreeFolks

Established in 1989, TreeFolks has planted 1 million trees in the urban Austin area, cultivating better air quality and shelter from the hot Texas sun. TreeFolks engages thousands of volunteers to help plant trees in community areas like parks, preserves and schoolyards. TreeFolks also helps with reforestation efforts in the wake of natural disasters. This is one of the only Austin nonprofits that promotes comprehensive urban forestry.

Tree Teachings: Why TreeFolks is One of the Top Austin Nonprofits

TreeFolks also provides comprehensive, research-based tree education. These educational opportunities, which use the urban forest as a classroom, are available to the public all year round, free of charge. TreeFolks’ educational programs serve the diverse population of Central Texas, allowing them to connect with and learn about the trees that are to vital to our lives. From Tree Adventures, which involves bike rides and tree climbs, to Sapling Days, during which thousands of baby trees are planted, this Austin nonprofit’s programs include something for everyone.

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