Press Release for Upcycle Event at Operation Care July 23rd 11-3

Bree Bodnar

Waddy resident Bree Bodnar was awarded an Arts meets Activism Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women for her project Upcycle: A book, album, workshop and event to benefit the Transitional Housing Program for women and children at Operation Care in Shelbyville, KY. Upcycling is to repurpose or restore materials to create something of greater monetary or environmental value. Bodnar gave the word an additional definition: using music and art-making to break cycles of trauma and create something valuable, and empowering.


Upcycle: Songwriting & Art-Making to Break Cycles of Trauma and Create Something Valuable (Green Panda Press 2022 66 pp.) combines Bree’s (she drops her surname when published or performing) 44 original song lyrics-one for every year of her life-with a personal essay about how she used poetry and songwriting to transcend trauma in her life. Each song includes anecdotes and background info. The book will be available at Operation Care’s Encore Shop beginning June 10th, and may also be ordered at any bookstore or local library, or by emailing The cover price is $15.00. All proceeds go to Operation Care. Bodnar will conduct a workshop with the residents of the Transitional Housing Program to impart skills used in upcycling items which could be sold to supplement their incomes. She wrote her book to illustrate for them ways in which upcycling can be an avenue to simply enjoy the natural therapy of creating art as a means of transcending abuse or any other life trauma, and to encourage them to explore genres and use their voices in whichever medium speaks to them. Bodnar also collaborated with several musicians, including locals Lewis Mathis, Mason Daugherty, and Wes Thompson, to record her album Upcycle, which will be released at on the day of the Upcycle benefit event this July 23rd 11-4 at Operation Care 708 Main Street.


At the Upcycle Benefit Event Sale, attendees can meet local artists and shabby-to-chic artisans to learn about their method and process, browse upcycled art, furniture, and wares to purchase, and watch live upcycling demos. They may bid on items upcycled by residents of the TH program, or buy tickets for various items to be raffled. For a small fee, members of the public can create their own upcycled bird houses, frame art, drink trays and more from rescued materials, to take home. There will be free bruschetta and other refreshments courtesy of The Bell House. For heavier fare, one might opt to purchase tacos from local food truck Taqueria La Nayarita, and top it off with some locally baked goods from our bake sale. Sponsors for the event have paid for ads, provided items to be raffled, and donated supplies to help raise money and awareness for the Transitional Housing Program at Operation Care, which in addition to other things, provides women and children with shelter, and a program that helps them move from homelessness to self-reliance. Sponsors include The Barrel Room, Texas Road House, Nugget & Co., 6th & Main Coffeehouse, JP Wood Designs, Pontrich Floor Covering, Chalk Couture, Sweet Waddy Jane, Gaines Painting, and more TBA.


Bree is a poet, publisher and artist from Cleveland, OH. In 2014 she moved to Pleasureville, and now resides in a former post office in Waddy, KY. In 2001 she founded Green Panda Press which produced hand-made poetry and art chapbooks, anthologies, and ephemera of the independent press. Currently it puts out trade papers in the print-on-demand format. Come What May: Collages from a Single Photograph (Least Bittern Books 2017) selects 300 full-color pages of her collages made with a mouse using the computer program Paint, each from a single photograph. She has several poetry collections and memoirs, including And I am Also Invasive (Birds and Bones 2016), The Dark Junco Morning (Green Panda 2016), Matter Ring (The City 2012), and was chicken trax amid sparrows tread (Temple Books 2009). She co-wrote Akol Atyii Madut’s memoir Sleeping with the Sun In His Eyes, about escaping genocide in Sudan and ultimately working at a Whole Foods in a suburb of Cleveland, OH. She edited and published Valga Krusa, Charles Potts’ 2-volume memoir about Berkeley poets and the COSMEP conventions of the late 1960s. Her drawings and collages appear on the covers of dozens of small press poetry books. Some recent work and an interview may be seen at the international bilingual poetry site  Read Carpet. KFW awarded her an Artist Enrichment grant in 2015 to gauge how nude studies are received in various regions of Kentucky, and an Arts Meets Activism grant in 2021 for her project Upcycle. She enjoys hiking and identifying native plants and birds.

Announcing Upcycle Event Sponsors from the Community

I am very happy that so many members of the community are sponsors of the Upcycle event at Operation Care July 23rd.

Attendees can enjoy refreshments, complements of The Bell House.
Items to raffle & ads paid for by The Barrel Room, Texas Roadhouse, Nugget & Co., Sweet Waddy Jane, KP Wood Designs, 6th & Main Coffeehouse, and more TBA.
Pontrich Floor Covering & Chalk Couture have donated supplies so people can upcycle something to take home.
Taqueria La Nayarita food truck will be onsite for taco treats.
Please join us! Meet local artists and artisans, browse upcycled wares made by the women in Operation Care’s transitional housing program. Watch local craftspeople doing live upcycling demos. Make your own bird house, drink tray, tee-shirt gift bags, and more- from upcycled materials. Get a copy of Upcycle: Songwriting and Art-Making to Break Cycles of Trauma and Create Something Valuable (Green Panda Press 2022). Pick up some locally home made goods from our bake sale. All proceeds to Operation Care. Take advantage of this opportunity to help others and meet new friends, while you are at it!


Seeking Sponsors for Upcycle Event

Seeking Sponsors for Upcycle Event to Benefit the Transitional Housing Program for Women and Mothers with Children at Operation Care in Shelbyville, KY

The July 23rd event promotes UPCYCLING: using art-making to break cycles of trauma and create something valuable and empowering.

Art, furniture, crafts and other items for sale by Local Artists & Artisans, plus Raffles, Bake sale, Food truck, local author Book-signing, Silent Auction & more

Sponsor our ads in the Sentinel-News to help is reach a wide audience that will attend the event (minimum $50). Sponsoring the event will get your logo/company name on the event program (minimum donation of $35). Gifts/baskets to be raffled or auctioned are another option.

Contact Bree Bodnar (616) 216-4715   2982 Waddy Rd. #2 40076  ~pay by cash/check/ppal  ~Checks
made out to Bree Bodnar or paypal to

Seeking Artists & Artisans for Upcycle Event July 23

4.1.22 Bree Upcycle Collage made from a single photograph of a waste bin taken in Graefenburg, KY made on Paint, enhanced with Fotor














Seeking Artists & Artisans to sell (no fee) art & furniture made with rescued, recycled & repurposed materials at an event to benefit the transitional housing program for women & mothers with children escaping violence at Operation Care in Shelbyville, KY this July 23rd

Each artist/artisan chooses which percent of their sales goes to the charity.
The program gives women and children who are escaping violence shelter, business classes, therapy, music lessons and a workshop on Upcycling to supplement their income.

The event is part of a project funded in part by the Kentucky Foundation for Women (KFW) which includes a book, album, workshop and benefit event about Upcycling: using songwriting & art-making to break cycles of trauma and abuse and make something valuable, and empowering.

Please Read the Call for Artists and Artist Contract PDFs below for instructions and the information you need. Inquiries to
(616) 216-4715. Sponsors are needed. Your logo or business card will be on the program or in the newspaper in exchange for donations. Look for a forthcoming post about sponsorship.


UPCYCLE artist contract

Upcycle ~ Arts Meets Activism

i was recently awarded an Art Meets Activism grant by the Kentucky Foundation for Women. with support from the foundation i will spend this year raising awareness and money for Operation Care’s transitional housing program for women and mothers with children in Shelbyville, KY.

i will produce a book, album, workshop and event all called Upcycle. Each aspect of the project promotes Upcycling in the literal sense of using rescued or repurposed materials to make a valuable piece of art or furniture, as well as the more cerebral sense of breaking cycles of abuse and trauma by using one’s own voice for art-making.

Upcycle the book will collect my complete lyrics and a personal narrative of how i found my voice and used it to break cycles.

Upcycle the album will kick off the project of recording my songs, beginning with some of the ones that steered me in my life.

Upcycle the workshop will be on-going, and will impart to the women in the program skills they can use to supplement their income as they grow as independent beings, fortified by the support of Operation Care and this community.

Upcycle the event will take place July 23, 2022 at Operation Care Resale Shop 708 Main St., Shelbyville, KY.  It will feature upcycled art and furniture for sale by local artists and artisans to benefit the transitional housing program. The women currently in housing will auction a group piece they make together at the inaugural workshop. Meet the artists and maybe they will share some of their secrets. Buy fresh baked goods at our bake sale. Buy local art. Get to know the mission of Operation Care. Upcycle!

If you would like to upcycle work for the benefit, sponsor, bake or volunteer in another way email Bree at with Upcycle as subject.

The Water Tower – a chapter from my forthcoming memoir Looking for Chickens In the Dark


for a long time i was enamored with the water tower i looked out at from my window in the Old Hotel in Pleasureville, KY. when i wrote or drew i might turn my head away from the screen to finish a thought, my eyes went to the window, and straight to the tower from there. or, i would catch it as i came back inside from my big front porch. i looked back at it when i latched the screen door shut again. sometimes the water tower looked awful white to me. other times it was a hospital blue. it seemed to pulsate. it glowed. it radiated.

i often thought about this. what destined the tower to be which color. what made it white now, blue later on? was it how blue the sky was? was it on account of there being no clouds or many clouds and what type of cloud? what about a gray day compared with a bright one? and time of day, too, may factor in. could it be the humidity?

one day i was leaning down to take off a boot when i turned my head, and inadvertently glanced out the window. today the water tower was white. it was a cloudy day with medium sun. mid to late afternoon. made sense to me. i got off the other boot and climbed in bed.

my bed was also my office, dining car, art studio and home theatre. i leaned back on a sheave of down pillows. looked out the window again; this time the water tower was blue.

i got up for a closer examination; standing close to the window i saw two water towers. a white one directly north, which i could see without leaving the bed, and a blue one just out of the frame. you had to be looking north-east to see the blue one. which i had, many times, standing on the front porch to photograph a sunrise. or talking to Shane who had the other side of the front porch. when he and i talked we did so from each our own side of the porch, sitting in a chair facing out, as opposed to facing each other. how many times did i look out at the blue tower, listening to Shanes life-story? telling him mine. we were probably the only people who would listen to us.

from my front porch chair i could not see the white water tower, only the blue. if i was on my bed i could only see the white one. she stood gleaming like a blank sheet of paper i could do anything i liked with: write, draw, collage, de coupage, design a book, make spitballs, paper aeroplanes, origami. i could make everything in the world (except money) with this white tower. for 17 months i thought she was my one and only.

the thrill was gone with the mystery solved. the towers were a constant that changed colors only according to what light and which shadows, like anything else. the white tower was a muse. she taught me to hold on to awe and wonder as though they were twins id given birth to.


Right to Remain Salient: Self-Portraits as Amendments

Right to Bear Arms 5.13.18 Drawn on Paint, enhanced with Polarr

Right to Peacefully Assemble 4.25.19 Drawn on Paint, enhanced with Adobe Photoshop Express

Right to Be Secure Against Unreasonable Searches 4.26.19 Drawn on Paint, enhanced with Adobe Photoshop Express

No Soldier Shall Be Quartered Without Consent 4.26.19 Drawn on Paint, enhanced with Adobe Photoshop Express
Right to a Fair Trial 7.15.19 Bree Drawn on Paint, enhanced with Adobe Photoshop Express
No Double Jeopardy 7.15.19 Bree Drawn on Paint, enhanced with Adobe Photoshop Express
Right to Be Tried By a Jury of Peers 7.15.18 Bree Drawn on Paint, enhanced with Adobe Photoshop Express