Yamaha Cares Upcycles Instruments Into Art

Elizabeth Dale

Often considered works of art themselves, Yamaha is taking instruments that are no longer fit for playing and turning them into canvases for creative expression. Upcycling is a trend that sees the creative reuse of products or materials as something entirely new, and the new initiative, Yamaha Cares Upcycle, is part of the employee-led Yamaha Cares project and debuted its first evolution of the program last month."

Then The Yamaha Cares Upcycle Program transforms instruments into mediums for creative works displayed in art installations. The first installment is now on display at the Able ARTS Work gallery in Long Beach, California.

Yamaha Cares is an employee-based initiative and is “dedicated to charitable works to promote education, arts, health and human services, and community development in the areas where its employees live and work." The initiative also aims to spread the gift of music to people throughout the United States. Previous activities included participation in marathons to raise funds for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), instrument donation as part of the Make-A-Wish program, and instrument donations to schools throughout Southern California. The instrument upcycle program is just the latest charitable installment of the longstanding program.

In addition to Able ARTS Work, three other organizations received instruments to upcycle as part of the initiative, the Anaheim Elementary School District, Boys & Girls Club of Buena Park, and KatrinaKures/Children’s Hospital of Orange County. The groups received over 200 slightly blemished guitars, cellos, and violins as part of the upcycle program. The instruments were reused as a medium for students and local artists who collaborated to transform them into works of art, now on display and for sale at the Able ARTS Work gallery. Able ARTS Work artist will receive a 50 percent commission on any pieces they sell, with the other 50 percent supporting the organization's “A Home of our Own” campaign. The campaign’s goal is to purchase a permanent building and gallery for its adult day program for adults with disabilities. Artwork from the other three organizations will receive 100 percent of the sale proceeds, with funds destined for new and engaging programs.

STEM Series: Yamaha Cares Upcycle

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Upcycled guitars sent to the Anaheim Elementary School District were turned into art by families within the district, teachers, employees, and the Muzeo Art group. The artwork took shape in the form of painted scenes on guitars and transformed into functional and decorative items. “This program came at a time during the pandemic when parents and students needed a creative outlet and allowed them to put their feelings and ideas into a meaningful project,” said Mark Anderson, curriculum specialist for Music, Anaheim Elementary School District. “We are always excited when there are opportunities for parents to engage in the student learning, and this project brought so much joy from start to finish.” 

"Through this generous partnership with the Yamaha Cares Upcycle program, we have been able to provide our Boys & Girls Club members with an opportunity to be creative individually, while involving their families in a collective art project,” said Todd Trout, CEO, Boys & Girls Club of Buena Park. “The medium of making art on a guitar allows people to identify a new and accessible experience in their journey of creative and personal expression,” says Able ARTS Work Founder and CEO Helen G. Dolas. “It's a dynamic force. The pieces on display are created by students of our day programs. The Upcycle project gives them a productive purpose to create artwork for our gallery while promoting and empowering marginalized artists.”

“Instead of crushing these instruments, the Yamaha Cares Upcycle Program provides an innovative way for organizations to raise funds for their art and music programs,” says David Jewell, partnerships and alliances manager, Yamaha Corporation of America. “In addition to promoting and funding the arts and music education, part of our corporate social responsibility mission is to reduce the amount of waste that Yamaha sends to a landfill.”

For more information about Yamaha Cares, Yamaha asks you to email them at yamahacares@yamaha.com. To learn more about the organizations involved, please visit:
Able ARTS Work Gallery: https://www.ableartswork.org/
Anaheim Elementary School District: https://anaheimelementary.org/
Boys & Girls Club of Buena Park: https://theplaceforkids.org/
KatrinaKures: https://for.choc.org/KatrinaKures2021