Three Ways to Give Back Post-Thanksgiving


Now that you’ve eaten your fair share of turkey, delighted in Patti Labelle’s sweet potato pie and expressed gratitude for family and friends, it’s time to give back.

2016 is on pace to be the hottest year on record, and with 16 of the last 17 having happened in the 21st century, the challenges we face are plenty.

Here are 3 easy ways you and your family can contribute to a more sustainable planet.



1. Glass bottles to decorations:

After enjoying some great holiday wine and beverage check out this how-to on making terrariums for glass bottles.

2. Fruit makes the best natural art:11411783_10153522860033092_1836086062970659398_o

Have extra fruit leftover from dessert recipes? Use them as a natural dye and ink for paintings and calligraphy.

3. Compost food scraps:

Let’s face it, everything from the table won’t make it into the coveted Thanksgiving leftovers category.

Bring your unwanted food to the local compost site. If it’s closed for the holidays, store the scraps in plastic bags in the freezer for the next available opportunity. If you in the NYC area, here’s a list of your nearest sites.

Found and Funky Opening Reception


Join us for the opening reception of Found and Funky, a solo exhibition of mixed media and assemblage works produced by artist Michael Kelly Williams during his fall artist residency at MFTA.

Drawing inspiration from the expansive collection of found objects available in the MFTA warehouse, “Found” conveys the sense of affirmation in discovering new objects, while “Funky” pays homage to a popular jazz term used to convey praise of an art piece having achieved its highest form. In Found and Funky, Williams transforms items once deemed unworthy of use to a newly transcendent title of artwork.

MFTA Gallery
Thursday, December 15
6 – 9pm
Open to the Public

Special performance by Pheeroan akLaff.

pheeroan-aklaff Known as a versatile drummer who has mostly been associated with the avant-garde,akLaff is a band leader, American drum-set master, improvisation adept, recording artist and teacher who has traveled all the continents, leading and accompanying ensembles with such musicians as Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, Rashied Ali, Andrew Hill, Ravi Coltrane and more.

art work image: Celia A. Calvo

MFTA Third Thursday: Reuse in Technology



Thursday, November 17
6:30-8:30 pm
MFTA 33-00 Northern Blvd, 3rd FloorJoin us for a reuse in technology workshop with Luis Arana, A.I. engineer and founder of the nonprofit organization Robots Without Borders. Luis will lead a reuse workshop on harvesting components from discarded electronics, troubleshooting hardware repairs, and an introduction to hybrid computers.


Free but first come, first served.

RSVP suggested.



How it Works: Shopping at MFTA


Are you a teacher? An artist? Work with a museum, dance troupe or theater company? These are just a few examples of members who use Materials for the Arts donations to support creativity in New York City nonprofit organizations or public schools. Material donations are made available free-of-charge to members from over 4,700 registered nonprofit organizations and public schools from across the five boroughs.

Shopping Hours:

Shopping at MFTA is by appointment only
Tuesdays 9:30am (arts organizations only) 10am – 2pm all groups
Thursdays 1:30pm (arts organizations only) 2 -5pm all groups.

Q: How can I receive free supplies from Materials for the Arts?

A: You must be an MFTA member. Registered recipients can log into their account to make an appointment via the Member Log-in screen. If your organization is not a registered recipient they can become an MFTA member if it qualifies. All Materials for the Arts recipients must operate in the New York City area and be:

    • Nonprofit arts and cultural groups with at least a one year history of significant arts programming
    • Public schools (Your school’s Principal and any other designated Account Managers are authorized to add new contacts to your school’s MFTA account. Please reach out to your principal and request that they follow this link to login: Hint:  the Email Address will be his/her designated Department of Education email address, and there is a password reset button available as well.
    • Social service, health, and environmental organizations with an ongoing art program
    • Government agencies


Q: How long does an appointment usually last?

A: Your appointment begins promptly at your allotted slot and you are welcome to shop until the warehouse closes that day. Allow time for checking in, shopping, and checking out. If you are early to your appointment, you will need to wait until your designated time slot. If this is your first time at Materials for the Arts or if you haven’t visited us in over one year, please also give yourself time to watch our 4-minute pre-shopping video to acquaint yourself with our policies, procedures, and the shopping worksheet. All new shoppers and shoppers whose last appointment was over one year ago are required to watch the video.

Q: Where can I find parking for my shopping appointment?

A: There are a number of commercial lots in the area, which charge for all-day parking, such as:

ONE PARKING Gotham Center

42-09 28th St (bet. 42nd Rd- Queens Plaza S)

Capacity: 162


Mon – Sun 24HR


27 – 03 42nd RD


Mon – Sun 6AM-12AM

IZ Parking, Inc.

30 -30 Northern Blvd

Long Island City

New York, NY 11101

Mon – Sun 24 hours

Shopping Tips

Bring a photo ID for check-in.

  • Shoppers registered as a Primary, Account Manager or Representative are allowed to bring up to two additional helpers (for a total of three shoppers per organization).
  • Shoppers listed as “Appointment Guest” are not permitted to bring an additional shopper unless provided written consent by.
  • Please arrive on time; your appointment begins promptly at your allotted slot and you are welcome to shop until the warehouse closes. If you are early to your appointment, you will need to wait until your designated time slot.

July Third Thursday: Create Sculptures with Jean Shin

ChanceCity ( Third Thursday Example)

Monumental Sculptures: Jean Shin

July 21, 2016

6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Come see how Artist In Residence Jean Shin has been using leather, broken jewelry, zippers and more to create her fantastically intricate art pieces. Shin creates monumental sculptures from thousands of objects she has collected around the world.  Meet and collaborate with the artist and friends on the construction of a room sized art installation.

Generous support is provided by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation for public programming.







Creative Reuse in the Classroom: Short Documentary


Creative Reuse in the Classroom, provides an in-depth look at how MFTA’s in-school residencies have helped to transform three schools in Bed-Stuy through creative reuse, lessons in sustainability and access to an unlimited supply of free traditional and nontraditional school supplies.


This year’s residencies are generously funded by the Lulu and Leo Fund and individual donors.

Lulu & Leo Fund logoFOMA Logo

Tattly Does Good

We teamed up with Tattly and artist Lotta Jansdotter to create a unique Tattly for Materials for the Arts.
tattly_lotta_jansdotter_bunke_IG_02Temporary fashion, permanent impact! Designed by Lotta Jansdotter, the golden frond-like Tattly, Bunke, is the latest in the Tattly Does Good Campaign. Best of all 80% of the purchase price of each pair of Bunke will go toward Friends of Materials for the Arts to continue our support of the MFTA Gallery, free Third Thursday artists led workshops and in-school residencies.
Tattly is more than a temporary tattoo. With a belief that great design and art can make people happy, Tattly offers designs by more than 50 artists that seek to put a smile on your face.
Pick up a pair of Bunke Tattly, and check out our recent Q & A with Tattly on the creation of our unique collaboration.

From STEM to STEAM: jetBlue + MFTA

JetBlue Edu Center sign

Thanks to jetBlue Airways, we are able to provide free field trips for NYC public schools

Over the past few months, hundreds of students from all five boroughs have been afforded the opportunity to come to MFTA for a free field trip. After arrival, the students are led on a tour of The Warehouse and are then seated in the Education Classrooms to create art projects that are linked to their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum. Art projects made with reusable materials like those found at MFTA can serve as the backbone for project-based instruction in schools. The workshops serve as a learning model, giving schools new ideas for projects to incorporate into their lesson plans.

Participating students have used measuring, balance, planning, sketching and lots of teamwork to construct bird houses from plastic binders, character masks from sheet music and file folders, animal puppets from cardboard tubes and scrap paper, and math mosaics from buttons and hardware. They learn how to repurpose materials in their own homes and classrooms and become inspired to learn STE(A)M concepts in unique hands-on ways.

    bird houses                New Image

Teachers from participating schools have overwhelmingly agreed that the field trips have made their students better artists and that they themselves have been given new ideas for teaching hands-on instruction in their classrooms. Danielle Davis of PS 58 in Queens stated, “Students love hands on activities and this directly correlated to our Science Unit.”

Fifth-grade teacher, Victoria Podella said, “The trip gave us ideas for how we can use materials from home in the classroom  to create projects and activities.”

Second-grade teacher Michele Sedlmaier stated, “I loved seeing my students so excited about art! We don’t have an art teacher. Thank you for this opportunity.”

     Bird Houses 1     bird houses group

Thank you jetBlue for allowing the next generation to express their creativity in a hugely meaningful way.

Danspace Draftwork

danspaceDanspace Project is updating their space with donations of  furniture and equipment from the MFTA warehouse.  Many of their fall artists’ projects are benefiting from MFTA supplies as well.

“Our mission at Danspace Project is to present new work in dance, support a diverse range of choreographers in developing their work, encourage experimentation and connect artists to audiences,” writes Development and Communications Associate Michael DiPietro. “Support from generous donors  is so essential to the work that we do, and to the greater arts and cultural sector of New York City.”

Founded by artists in 1974, Danspace Project has supported a vital community of contemporary dance artists for nearly four decades from its historic home at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery. Danspace’s 40th Anniversary season launched on September 27, and includes a wide range of emerging and mid-career dance artists.  There’s an underlying ballet theme, and the opening featured Suzanne Bocanegra’s “Little Dot,” a 12-hour installation that involves dancers en pointe.

At MFTA, we’re all about the creative process and also love free programs! One of Danspace Project’s programs is Draftwork, a free public performance series on Saturday afternoons. Curated by Ishmael Houston-Jones, the DraftWork series offers choreographers an opportunity to showcase their work in various stages of development. Performances are followed by discussion and a reception during which artists and audiences share perspectives about the works-in-progress. The first Draftwork performance is Saturday, October 18.

Residencies with Arts@Renaissance


Image from In the Basement

Arts@Renaissance is a program founded by St. Nicks Alliance housed in a 4,500 square foot space in the restored outpatient building of the Greenpoint Hospital. The program supports new multi-disciplinary work and hosts residencies, workshops, and collaborative neighborhood art projects. As a recipient of Materials for the Arts, artists participating in the program can visit our warehouse for supplies.

Program Manager Chris Henderson shares, “The site-specific residency [at Arts@Renaissance] empowers multi-disciplinary artists and arts organizations to transform the former hospital space by creating innovative new work that is relevant to the broader North Brooklyn community and includes public events. The studio residency provides 9 North Brooklyn artists with free workspace for four months, professional development classes, and access to a wide range of unique public exhibition and installation spaces.  We are very excited to be able to provide enriching experiences around the arts to the St. Nicks local community using materials you donated. We could not do this work without [MFTA].”

Artists-in-residence have included In the Basement, a collaborative dance-theater company. Their project The Lady in Red Converses with Diablo (pictured above) offered an immersive, intimate theater experience for an exclusive audience of 10. The play drew inspiration from Jorge Luis Borges’ short stories and the diablo folklore tradition of Mexico and the Caribbean.  The story follows a woman who has fallen in love with a reclusive fisherman, who she later finds out is actually the devil. Along the way, both she and the audience meet different characters who offer many paths to choose from as they make their way through the tale. Other residents have included Jody Oberfelder Projects 4Chambers, who created a sensorial journey into the human heart.