An aspect that makes BICAS more than just a bike shop is our Art program. We try to keep as much as possible out of the waste stream by re-imagining old broken bike bits into all kinds of functional and whimsical art, including innertube wallets, bike part wind chimes, bottle cap magnets, metal art sculptures, bike racks, wall hooks, and more. This culminates each December at our annual Art Auction, which is a showcase of hundreds of bicycle-themed artworks made by the BICAS staff, board and Tucson community.
For metalworks commissions, information on our Annual Art Auction, workshop information, or parts requests, contact the BICAS Art Coordinator at email@example.com or 520.628.7950, or stop by the shop at 2001 N. 7th Ave during our open hours.
BICAS Art merges bike-themed arts, do-it-yourself ethics, and ecological consciousness by providing education, inspiration, salvaged materials, and a socially diverse and inclusive artistic venue. Our program culminates each December at our annual Art Auction, which is a showcase of hundreds of bicycle-themed artworks made by BICAS staff and community.
Social and environmental reimagining through the creation of upcycled bicycle art.
BICAS started in 1989 from a group of like-minded individuals seeking to empower the houseless population to attain work, shelter, food, and transportation. The organization began using the name BICAS as both a ‘Spanglish’ slang term for bicycle and as an acronym for Bicycle Inter-Community Action & Salvage in 1996. Founders like Kathe Padeilla, Kim Young, and Allen Reilley led to increased public participation (particularly youth participation) and thus visibility for BICAS. The original entrance to the BICAS basement shop was through a side window. BICAS was truly “underground”, both figuratively and literally, and its initial art programs were known as “Underground Art”.
Many of the original founders and mechanics of BICAS were working artists who made the best creative use of broken bike parts by turning Schwinn lemon peelers into lemonade. BICAS founder and artist Kim Young felt that public art is a great way to revitalize communities and give them an added sense of identity and well being, a sentiment that still resonates with the collective today. BICAS collective members and art coordinators taught art workshops to the public, organized art auction fundraisers, and worked within the community to make recycled public art installations including youth-built bike racks and sculptures. Today, BICAS diverts 100,000 lbs of material from the waste stream each year due to the hard work of its art and shop programs.
BICAS organized the First Annual Art Auction in 1995 as a way to support BICAS programs as well as provide exposure to local artists. Every December, the BICAS Annual Art Auction brings the Tucson community together for a silent auction of bicycle-themed artwork donated by hundreds of local mixed-media artists. 2021 will mark the 25th annual art auction following a miniature staff auction due to COVID-19 in 2020.
“Many of my students say our workshop at BICAS is the highlight of their year because they discover a community space that is quirky, inclusive and really fun. BICAS provides an unforgettable opportunity for students to make vibrant and offbeat art from reused materials. They leave the workshop with a new enthusiasm for bikes and nontraditional art. Since starting the workshops years ago, the number of students who bike commute at school has increased and the general vibe around our middle school is that bikes are something to love.” –Khalsa Montessori School Assistant Director, 2019
“Three years ago a third component of the non-profit, BICAS Metalworks, started to create unique pieces for the Annual BICAS Art Auction… The group makes functional art out of bicycle parts, strictly on commission.” –Tucson Weekly
“All the world’s old bikes are being…snatched from the gnarly old arms of neglect and placed in the loving hands of Bicycle Inter-Community Action and Salvage, a non-profit bicycle cooperative which uses the bicycle as a basis for creating art, promoting community outreach and advocating urban change.” –Catalyst Arts Magazine of the University of Arizona
“It’s about seeing the beauty in every thing, no matter what its perceived value. It’s about how a piece of metal can become a piece of art. It’s how a thing can become more than what it’s made of. It’s the story of BICAS.” –Catalyst Arts Magazine of the University of Arizona