Started from the bottom...


I was sitting in a ghost town overcome by coffee cups, RedBulls and take-out food. A place where sleep was for the weak and all we needed was inspiration to get through the night. A hip community where F n' the D meant let's get some sandwiches from Farmer in the Deli. I'd like to welcome you to the Pratt Studios after finals are over. As soon as that sweet smell of summer air hits Brooklyn the whole campus gets hyped. Students are rushing to catch their flights with nothing on their minds but friends, family and beaches. Just try to ask them about school. Hmm, never heard of it...

The supplies found me...


When the taxis were gone and the clouds of dust started to settle, I discovered mountains of used art supplies left behind. I couldn't believe it, most of the stuff was still brand new and all of it was headed for the trash. I couldn't let all these awesome supplies go to waste when I know plenty of students who need them. So I gathered every single art supply I could find, hauled it all out to my car and packed it till pencils were falling out the windows. For two weeks straight I drove everything out to my parents' house on Long Island. My Mother wasn't too thrilled about this whole thing to say the least, her sunroom was now repurposed into a storage facility. Nonetheless she allowed it based upon my plan to donate all of it to local schools.

Project Breaker...


I was in the midst of a rapid 14 day think tank, for young entrepreneurs called Project Breaker. It was awesome, I met so many brilliant people with brilliant ideas in such a short period of time. This is what introduced me to the startup world, a place where nothing was impossible. With enough passion, dedication and hard work you can make anything you can dream up. So for the next two weeks we worked together in a hot and sweaty Brooklyn warehouse that had no air conditioning, learning how to develop an idea from concept to pitch and everything in between. It was like an entrepreneur bootcamp and I loved it!

PrattCity...


After Project Breaker ended my Mother was really putting the heat on me to get this stuff out of her house, summer was over and the sunroom was still a mess. I just got a full time job so there was no time for me to even drop this stuff off somewhere. I remember driving to work asking myself, how long is my Mother going to put up with this? And why don't colleges do something about this? That's when everything seemed to click...PrattCity. A community engagement project that upcycled art supplies for donation.

Pratt Design Incubator...


Now I had a name and a mission so I figured I should talk to the President of Pratt and share my idea with him. Little did I know how difficult that would be, apparently you have to write him a letter? But thanks to some really awesome faculty members pointing me in the right direction I was able to pitch PrattCity to Deb Johnson, the Founder of the Pratt Design Incubator. She loved it! And asked me if I would be interested in joining the incubator to further develop it. I was shocked, of course I said yes but I did just take on a full time job and now I had the first ever startup on Pratt Institutes campus. This was getting real, real fast.

Not PrattCity...


So I spent the entire winter on my laptop in my parents freezing cold sunroom trying to develop an inventory system. With that I'd be able to start building an online store and sell some of the supplies that were too advanced for kids to use. I figured college kids would love to buy upcycled art supplies for half the price, I know I would have. But then, two days before my birthday I had a meeting with the school administration. They loved the idea of PrattCity, but not so much the name. As much as it hurt I understood their concerns and I agreed to use a different name. It was the right thing to do, but damn. What the hell was I going to do now? I had no brand, no logos, nothing but a nameless online store nobody knew about.

Turn Up Art Launch...


I had one month to figure everything out and there was only one option, TURN UP! And just like that Turn Up Art was born. We donate almost all of the supplies we get to educational organizations and sell what's left to students for half the cost. Everyday we learn how to improve our services through our community and we love it. Our mission is to rescue every single art supply headed for the trash and find a loving home for it. We are super excited to see where this takes us and I hope you join us for the journey. Together we grow. -Gunner TiernoFounder