As a child, Mary Elizabeth Cantú dreamt of being Indiana Jones. Cantú is a native San Antonian and has worked in the fields of arts, education and culture in San Antonio for 20+ years. She earned her BA in Museum Education with a focus on Cultural Anthropology and Elementary Education from Mount Holyoke College then received a MA in Art Education, with a focus on Community-Based Art from the University of Texas at Austin.
Community engagement, art, education and green living have always been important to Cantú. All of these values amalgamated in 2011 when she founded Spare Parts, a project dedicated to advancing reuse education through the arts. Spare Parts’ philosophy of art education is rooted in sustainable practices and motivated by the discarded.
In 2013 she became a national Reuse Institute Master Reuser—the first and only in San Antonio. The St. Mary’s University (San Antonio, TX) Art of Peace Award was presented to Cantú in 2016. From 2017-18 she served as artist-in-residence for a public arts project funded by the City of San Antonio and National Endowment for the Arts.