What is the

Launched in June 2015, the FrankenToyMobile is a pedal-powered maker space that encourages imagination and curiosity by providing free, hands-on workshops where youth and adults reuse toys as raw material for original creations. By inviting youth to modify “junk” toys into objects that they feel express their identity and personality, we encourage them to experiment, challenge dominant ideas about gendered toys, and see the world as being full of possibility. To date, we have served 4700 people through more than 90 workshops in public spaces around Chicago.

The FrankenToyMobile was created by artists Andrés Lemus-Spont, Marya Spont-Lemus, Louis Fernandez, and Michael Pecirno. Learn more about the team and other contributors.


How does it work?

Through our workshops, the FrankenToyMobile turns public spaces into opportunities for community-based creative experiences. Our custom-designed tricycle is a traveling studio with counter-style workspace, the mobility of which enables us to go to people, lowering barriers to access. At each FrankenToyMobile event, participants are provided with minimal directions: grab a tray, select toy parts, and decide what they want to make. A FrankenToy can be anything you imagine! Teen workshop facilitators support participants’ creative process as needed, teaching sewing and other fastening skills and serving as technical assistants to help make participants’ visions reality. 

Our project is as much about bringing people together to share creative experiences and discover new talents as it is about the toys that are made.

Learn more about why this work matters.

Where will the FrankenToyMobile be next?

Come see the FrankenToyMobile at the following free, public events! You'll find us at parks, libraries, and public spaces across Chicago doing stand-alone workshops as well as events with neighborhood partners.

For a third year, the FrankenToyMobile is joining forces with the Mobile Street Art Cart and the Mobile Music Box to create the Mobilize Creative Collaborative! The Mobilize Creative Collaborative events will feature all three of our workshops in the same space so you can make a toy, create a button or screen print on a t-shirt, or make a homemade musical instrument.


Get in touch!

We hope you join us at a workshop and share your own FrankenToy creations (#FrankenToy)!

Use the form below to:

  • Invite us to your community

  • Give your old toys a second life by donating them

  • Provide financial support to make more workshops happen

  • Get in touch for another reason

Name *