Materials for the Arts

is a program of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, with support from the Departments of Sanitation and Education. We collect a wide variety of reusable materials from businesses and individuals and make them available for free to nonprofits and civic organizations with arts programming and public schools. By providing a way for people to donate their unneeded supplies to thousands of creative and educational activities across the five boroughs, MFTA diverts over 1 million pounds of materials from the landfill each year. Friends of Materials for the Arts is our official nonprofit partner.

What is creative reuse?

It is so much more than recycling. If you have more than you need, it’s passing those items on to those who can reuse them. If you are an artist or teacher, it’s seeing possibilities in those donations. Creative reuse is rethinking our relationship to “waste” and repurposing materials unnecessarily bound for a landfill. It’s when sustainability and creativity come together for the betterment of our communities and our planet.

What people are Saying

“As far as I am concerned, Materials for the Arts has played a vital role in both the success of my career and in the overall fulfillment of my visions. As I think back to many times when my collaborating costume designers and I were attempting to build creations with just the right look but the budgets to achieve them have been sparse, a quick trip to MFTA has often saved the day. It is a place where many hidden gems, large or small, are often to be found. A place where one woman’s trash is another man’s treasure.” – Christopher Williams, Christopher Williams Dance

Christopher Williams Dance photo collageThe costumes pictured above contain materials from the MFTA warehouse. Photos courtesy of Andrew Jordan.