This September, BICAS Collective members had the opportunity to attend the national convening of the Worker Coop Conference. Representatives of BICAS have been in attendance of the past two out of state conferences. This year more staff than ever before were able to attend due to the virtual format of the conference. The Worker Co-op Conference is a gathering of worker owners, cooperative developers, policymakers, funders, and other allies dedicated to worker ownership and workplace democracy coming together to make space for connection, education, skill-building, and sharing to improve the lives of workers and their families.
Maurice Mitchell, Key Organizer with Movement for Black Lives and National Director of the Working Families Party stressed in his keynote speech that to fully participate in a democratic society we must have full participation in our workplace. For those unfamiliar with the BICAS governance structure, we are a Collectively run, worker self-directed nonprofit organization. The Collective is composed of our staff and board members who meet bimonthly to address all matters related to the organization, using a consensus decision making model to thoroughly address all concerns of our members and gather the most input and collective buy-in for policies and new endeavors. The bulk of our administrative and programmatic work is carried out in a committee structure, with each committee tackling specific areas such as fundraising, art programing, educational classes, etc.
In this unprecedented moment in time, as we simultaneously struggle through a global pandemic, a commitment to racial justice and equity, and an election year, the conference offered a variety of workshops that provided tools for tackling these times and motivation to stay the course working together collectively. Staff attended sessions including Worker Self-Directed Non-Profits, Reparations and the Cooperative Movement, Hacking the US Healthcare System, Financial accounting for Cooperatives, and Anti Racist Hiring Practices. We are eager to integrate what we learned from the conference into our goals and practices, and we look forward to the next conference. For more information check out https://www.conference.coop/home/.
Bicycle part lamp by BICAS Collective Member Carlyn Arteaga, 2019
Due to safety concerns, as well as limited resources and capacity during COVID times, our staff and board have collectively decided to push back this year’s auction to a date to be announced in early 2021. We will notify the public of a final date in early January with at least three months notice given to artists. In the meantime, stay tuned for at least one COVID-safe event to be held by BICAS this December, and hold onto your incredible art for next year!
If you are looking for salvage parts to create next year’s pieces, BICAS is now selling on Etsy. Visit our shop for art parts, gifts or merchandise to support us through our partial closure. We are also working on a series of online art workshops and invite you to check out our archived classes here. We miss you, Tucson- Keep the light on!
Love, peace & bicycle grease,
“Martha, what is the most exciting part to you about making recycled art with parts from BICAS?”
For me, the most exciting part about making recycled art is the treasure hunt. I never know what’s going into the finished piece because I’m still looking for the parts.
“What are your favorite parts to use in salvage projects?”
My favorite bike parts to use are disc brake rotors, chainrings, and freewheel cogs.
“What do you hope to make next?”
My next project will be incorporating a chainring into a house number sculpture for my gate. I have other ideas too but haven’t designed or built anything yet.
“How are you nurturing your everyday creativity during the pandemic?”
I’m upping my culinary and home brewing games. In the past few weeks, I’ve been learning how to make mesquite biscuits, pizza, and apple soft drink. I’ve also added beer to my fermentation repertoire.
Awesome photos above are from Martha’s incredible salvage creation made from BICAS parts and other found objects! Check out Martha’s newly-launched website at http://www.westernskycommunications.com, then visit the BICAS Etsy Shop to purchase some salvage parts of your own. Parts are available for shipping or at-store pickup during the COVID-19 pandemic.
BICAS is always seeking talented, committed candidates. If you think you could thrive in a job that is meaningful, community-driven, challenging, and creative, please see www.bicas.org/jobs for job descriptions and further application instructions. We look forward to hearing from you!
Click the link for details:
Bicas mechanic in bicycle-themed protective facemask holds onto handlebars