Meet the girls of Trash Mash-Up! Bridget and Jessica McCracken are the brains behind this eco-friendly operation. They reduce waste by taking refuse and transforming it into art and they love working with the community hands-on by creating theatrical productions that are based in the San Francisco area. I had the opportunity to ask them a few questions recently and here is what they had to say about Trash Mash-Up, working together, and how they celebrate a Green Halloween every year!
How did the Trash Mash-Up idea and name come to be?
Both Jessie and I have been interested in theater and puppets since we were kids growing up in Michigan. Our parents have always supported our creativity and encouraged us to give back to our community. When Jessie moved to San Francisco in 2004 (I had been here since 2001), we wanted to establish a community based art project that built creative connections in neighborhood of need. We saw a need for public space and parks to be fostered for children and families in the Western Addition. Jessie and I both wanted to work with trash to discuss issues of consumption and environmental justice but in a way that was fun, creative and not didactic. Trash Mash-Up brings all of these aspects together in a collaborative community art project.
How do you like working together?
It is amazing to collaborate with my sister. TMU is a family affair. Our youngest sister, Kate and our parents, Bill and Louise are on our advisory board. But it is Jessie and myself who are the teaching artists and Managing and Artistic Directors. Being sisters we are able to communicate ideas easily and come for a similar art background, both having studied and worked for The Dell’Arte Company. Although we share similar training, we each bring our own style and ideas to the table.
What is your favorite aspect of the business?
My favorite aspect is leading the workshops. Theater and art improves students’ self-confidence, communication skills and builds empathy for others. They transform the learning process. It is amazing the dramatic changes and positive effects of students collaborating in creative ways. I am always surprised by their solutions and their ability to describe their process.
What is Your future vision of the Trash Mash-Up idea?
We are hoping to bring Trash Mash-Up to communities across the United States and world. We are working on revising our study guide in order to better assist the spread of creative reuse. TMU has had the opportunity to mash it up in Costa Rica, New York, Portland, and even our hometown of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Jessie and I look forward to additional community partnerships from around the world.
How do you plan on celebrating a Green Halloween this year?
Trash Mash-Up is thrilled to be apart of the Yerba Buena Garden Festival’s Halloween Hoopla : Dance & Parade for Kids. This is the 11th annual YBGF Halloween program and will featuring interactive performances and games for kids. The Unique Derique hosts, The Venezuelan Music Project plays live music, Preston folds origami and Trash Mash-Up will be creating masks, eco-warrior medallions, noise makers and a Trash Monster for the costume parade. Just before the hoopla ends, children under ten accompanied by adults are invited to parade in their Halloween finery!
Get in on the fun of Trash Mash-Up! Here are the best ways to contact Bridget and Jesse: