Recycle Art Fair And Fashion Show Wednesday At Chamisa Elementary School

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The annual Recycle Art Fair and Fashion Show is Wednesday at Chamisa Elementary School. Photo Courtesy LAPS


The public is invited to the annual Recycle Art Fair and Fashion Show on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at Chamisa Elementary School from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. This event is co-sponsored by Los Alamos Public Schools and Los Alamos County.

This collaborative event engages students, teachers, parents and community members to promote the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. The Green Schools Task Force is encouraging participation at all levels in this event. Led by Susan Hettinga, the GSTF is comprised of representatives from the schools, Chartwells, Environmental Sustainability Board, Zero Waste Team, and school board president, Ellen Ben-Naim. The community is invited to participate by helping students prepare a recycled art activity, creating a make and take activity station using trash items or entering the fashion show.

 All ages are encouraged to join in learning the benefits of recycling as well as inspire others to recycle and reuse discarded materials and turn them into beautiful creations.

The first Recycle Fashion Show at the school was organized through the passion of Andrea Lynch for fashion design. As the YMCA Director at Chamisa, she inspired her students for about 10 years to create outfits from recycled trash items during “TV Turn-off Week” in recognition of Earth Day. Los Alamos County started hosting an annual Recycle Trash Fashion Show about seven years ago. 

Lynch continued to have her YMCA students create outfits using recycled trash. One year, the county contracted Nancy Judd, a well-known recycle artist, to host a one-day seminar with local community members.  Lynch attended this event and took what she learned to assist Los Alamos High School students with their outfits for the county’s fashion show. 

 It wasn’t until 2015 that Renee Mitsunaga, Art Teacher at Chamisa Elementary School, expressed her desire to put on a recycle art show modeled after the “Recycle Santa Fe Art Show” now in its 21st year. In addition to assisting Lynch in her efforts to create outfits from trash items, they initiated make and take activities in the gym for everyone to participate in before the fashion show. “I wanted them to experience creating art with trash items and not just gluing random things together,” said Mitsunaga. “Although, that is still a favorite activity for many of the children who come.”

 Three years ago, the school began collaborating with Los Alamos County when Angelica Gurule, Environmental Services Manager, invited them to bring their student entries to the county’s annual fashion show. Since then, they decided to join forces to encourage more participation from the community.

“Our message is to inspire others to find creative uses for their waste,” noted Gurule. “All materials have value until they are thrown away.”

The Recycle Art Fair and Fashion Show is in its 5th year of implementation and has proven to be successful with informing students and the public about building awareness for helping our environment through the Zero Waste initiatives and recycling efforts in the community. At the show, students lead presentations to inform others about what everyone can do to help. “We hope to inspire other schools to host this event around the district in the future,” Mitsunaga said.

To register an entry for the fashion show, go to

For more information, contact Renee Mitsunaga at or Angelica Gurule at