By BECKY HATTERSLEY/Montana State News

HEAP Bozeman, a non-profit that focuses on environmental awareness and the community arts, will be showcasing its pilot program at the Gallatin Earth Celebration on Saturday, April 21. It was founded by Anna Hernandez as what she describes as the “culmination of my professions and passions.”

Hernandez, an adjunct instructor in the College of Business at Montana State University, has a background rich in art, design, marketing, and successful upstarts with young companies. Her first start-up was a cosmetics company that she and a friend created fresh out of college at age 22.

“We came up with the idea and in six months we had a product.” The company is still going today.

She also moonlighted with an advertising company during that time. Advertising was a field she wanted to be in, and part of the reason that she majored in psychology while studying at UC Berkeley.

HEAP, her second start-up company, builds off of those experiences. Based loosely off of a similar program in San Francisco called SCRAP, HEAP is supported financially by the Good for Kids foundation and geared towards the local needs of Bozeman.

“Bozeman has 20 thrift and consignment shops, in addition to 10 antique shops. We already have a community that believes in re-using,” said Hernandez.

HEAP supports that community, creating a cooperative with them and a map of the town that points out what kind of things can be found at each location. In return, it hopes for some project-by-project support for its art and community outreach projects. Ultimately, a store front of its own for an art and art-supply “thrift store” is its goal.

Hernandez hopes that HEAP can contribute to the Bozeman classrooms too. “We will offer free upcylce instruction in the classroom and contribute items for the project.”

It’s a way to contribute not only to art in schools, but also create enthusiasm for the whole idea behind upcycling. Instead of saying “don’t use this or do that,” they want to encourage “do repurpose or upcylce what you already have.”

MSU students from many different majors are also benefiting from the program, which was one of Hernandez’s goals for it from the beginning. She wanted it to be a community-minded non-profit that is “intern run and managed by an instructor that utilizes business start up experience, organization, marketing and a love for do-it-yourself and low impact learning.”

Edited by Mary Koppy.

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