$20 Budget. Two Stores.
It’s Time to Get Creative.

What: Downtown Upcycle ThrowDown
When: Friday, August 7th, 6-10pm
Where: 1302 Commercial Street, Bellingham, in the new HATCH space!
Why: See amazingly creative art creations. Enjoy refreshing beverages from Kulshan Brewery and Kombucha Town. Hear great music. Support local nonprofits and the artist community. Rub elbows with Bellebrities. Have a blast.


For two months, over twenty art upcyclers have sewed, glued, spackled and glittered recycled and donated fabric, clothing and household goods to create their original art submission for The Downtown Upcycle ThrowDown, an art and sustainability challenge event created by Ragfinery and Wise Buys Community Thrift Store of Lydia Place. This creative and original art contest, sponsored by Northwest Recycling, Inc and The Downtown Bellingham Partnership marks the first annual cooperative “Upcycle Challenge” of these two local nonprofits. The culminating group show-off exhibition and ThrowDown takes place during the Bellingham Art Walk on Friday, August 7th from 6PM-10PM at the new HATCH retail storefront located at 1302 Commercial Street in downtown Bellingham. Artist meet and greet, People’s Choice contest, live music provided by DJ Birdman of GMB Entertainment, cold beverages from Kulshan Brewery and Kombucha Town, and lots of sweet surprises top off this original art challenge featuring 100% recycled materials and 100% creativity.

From June 1st through July 31st, artists were invited to participate in the first annual ThrowDown designed to challenge stereotypical paint and canvas and fabric fashion creations and push individuals to use materials that were once discarded and donated to create original works of art. A $20 contest entry fee afforded each participant two $10 vouchers to spend at each store for materials. From plates to t-shirts, to discarded kimonos and linens – contestants were challenged to see beyond the garment or the spoon – and stretch the limitations of what they could create. These and unseen fasteners (thread, tape, glue) were the only sanctioned materials for their pieces of work. Artists then chose to enter their piece in one of two categories –  “Wearable” or “Non-wearable” for a chance to win two $100 cash prizes courtesy of Northwest Recycling Inc.

A jury of art lovers and Belle-brities will make the tough and exciting selection for both category winners. Jurors include Emily O’Connor – Lydia Place Executive Director, Shan Sparling – Ragfinery Manager, Nick Hartrich – Downtown Bellingham Partnership Executive Director, Kelly Hart – Allied Arts Executive Director, and Kelli Linville – Mayor Of Bellingham. An additional “People’s Choice Selection” will be orchestrated in real time by art walk participants during the opening from 6-8:30PM, with the winner being crowned at 9PM.

For details on the contest, submission stories and images,  or to request graphics please see information below or email Lydia Place Development and Outreach Director Shultzie Willows at shultziew@lydiaplace.org.


Lydia Place has been a key partner in our community’s effort to end homelessness for individuals and families here in Whatcom County for over 25 years. Essential Lydia Place services and programs help to provide housing, case management, life skills, parent support programs, positive childhood outcomes and advocacy for over 250 families annually. Wise Buys Thrift Store provides essential outreach, financial support and client resources to our community. The purchase of and donation of products and goods help eliminate waste, create community involvement opportunities and contribute to awareness of the Lydia Place mission and issues facing homeless residents in Bellingham. 

Ragfinery is a nonprofit training business and textile reuse center. Ragfinery collects unwanted garments and textiles and determine creative reuse value to keep them out of landfills. The community’s involvement and purchases of fabric, supplies, and products from The Ragfinery retail shop help protect the environment, support local jobs, and promote a sustainable local economy.

A program of The Downtown Bellingham Partnership, the HATCH vacancy to vitality retail project aims to inspire entrepreneurs through creative community programming to lease formerly dormant retail spaces in downtown Bellingham.



Ragfinery                                                                Wise Buys
1421 N. Forest Street                    -OR-               1224 N. State Street
Downtown Bellingham                                         Downtown Bellingham

Your registration entitles you to $10 of merchandise at each of the above businesses. You must visit and select from both locations and then use only this merchandise to create your work of art, function, or fashion. Submissions can be wearable or for display, but 100% of the item must be constructed from the merchandise collected at registration (with the exception of thread or other non-visible fasteners).

Awards will be given in the following categories: Best Wearable; Best Non-Wearable; Best Youth Entry, and People’s Choice.

Entries can be submitted any time after the contest begins and should be dropped off between 10am-5pm, Tuesday-Saturday at Ragfinery: 1421 N. Forest Street, Bellingham, WA 98225.


  • Monday, June 1 – CONTEST BEGINS.  Entry forms can be obtained at either Ragfinery or Wise Buys any time after this date.
  • Friday, July 31 @5pm – DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES
  • Friday, August 7 – ThrowDown during Bellingham Art Walk. 6pm–10pm @1302 Commercial Street (between the Bellingham Railway Museum and Gary’s Clothing). Event will include:
    • Cash Awards & Prizes
    • Music & Refreshments
    • Music by DJ Birdman of GMB Entertainment


Note: Alternately, the submission form can be picked up at Ragfinery or Wise Buys.

All entries must be collected by Friday, August 14th. They may be taken from the venue at 10pm the night of the show, or from Ragfinery thereafter. Works not collected by August 14 will become the property of Ragfinery.

For questions about the event, please email Lydia Place Development and Outreach Director Shultzie Willows at shultziew@lydiaplace.org.