December Third Thursday with Sol’Sax: Material Poetry

Sol'Sax - Robert Johnson editedWe’re bringing our favorite songs and poems to life with artist-in-residence Sol’Sax. Think about the lines and verses you’ve dedicated to memory. What images come to mind? During our December 21, Third Thursday workshop we’ll take a look through MFTA’s collection for visual analogies to create sculptures, figures and material poetry that bring our favorite lines to life!

Third Thursday with Sol’Sax: Material Poetry
Thursday, December 21
6:30 – 8:30PM

Grab Your Tickets to Masked Marvelous Cocktail Party

Invitation Email Draft 5 Border KWAME copy

Purchase your tickets before September 29 to take advantage of the $75 Early Bird special to the Masked Marvelous Cocktail Party, a fun filled evening of food, drink, and entertainment at our fabulous warehouse in Long Island City. Tickets available for purchase here.

Join the Masked Marvelous 2017 Benefit Committee or make a donation.

If you would like to pay by check please contact: Antonio Coppola, Director of Development – | 718.729.2028

Check out the Masked Marvelous 2016 album. Photo credit: Janelle Jones

Registration for Fall P-Credit Courses is now open:


Project Based Learning: Reuse in ELA
Saturdays 9:30 am – 5pm
11/11 – 1/6

Engage students in meaningful investigations, promote informal academic conversations, and encourage deeper comprehension of texts in ELA and across the curriculum. From bookmaking and game invention to oral presentation and theatrical performance, our approach will provide you with the skills and materials to create a dynamic learning environment that addresses all learning levels.

Course registration
Course cost: $240


To complete registration you must also register on the ASPDP website.

Professional Development Courses for teachers are through ASPDP (After School Professional Development Program). “P” In-Service courses offer pedagogues’ high-quality, convenient, low-cost alternatives to college courses that may be applied to salary differential requirements and to the NYS 175 hour professional development requirement to maintain Professional Certification. Courses are designed to impact student achievement through the professional development of teachers.

Third Thursday Workshop: Weave Found Objects with Dianne Smith

 Inspired by the long line of basket weavers in her family that kept that African tradition alive in Belize artist-in-residence Dianne Smith leads our free workshop on weaving with found materials.

We’ll also take a tour of Dianne’s solo exhibition Twisted Woven Tied on view now in the MFTA Gallery. Twisted Woven Tied features 51 works created from found objects, textiles and personal items. Addressing issues of sustainability, Smith’s use of textile creates a dialogue around resourcefulness and alternative methods while also encouraging viewers to explore topics of identity found in the works.

July 20, 2017
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

photo credit: Laura S. Fuchs

Institutional Memory: Marco Castro Cosio

Prior to the March 16th, opening of Institutional Memory: 35mm Slides from the Met’s Collection Reimagined, Marco Castro Cosio formerly of the Met Media Lab sat down with MFTA’s Curatorial Team to talk about the changes that led to donating the Met’s slide collection, the shifting landscapes in archival technology and how it impacts art history.

original slide image

MFTA: How did the Met end up moving away from the 35mm slides? What made them suddenly disposable?

MARCO: It wasn’t that they were disposable. It was more like how do we make sure that people have more access to them. Before archives were digitized art history teachers would come to the Image Library, select slides that he or she needed for the class, bring them to their class, show them to their students and then bring them back.

Once they were digitized people could go online, download the images they needed and then show them to their students.The process as far as I know has shortened. I noticed that the projectors and light boxes were being rented less as well. We had better technology come along.

picture of dancing figurines with quote "I was not worried at all - it had not even occured to me to be worried, because a man who would be intimitaed by me is exactly the kind of man I would have no interest in. " inscribed

(image credit: Andrea Wolf)

They were the original JPEGs if you will

MFTA: When did it come to mind that the slides should be given away to artists or others to create their own projects with?

MARCO: The Met has 5,000 years of art history. It became, how do we look at the future of culture and museums? With the slides, it was like- we cannot let this slide go– we need to reinvent them, reimagine them in a new way to create new stories; because this was an integral story of the Met and of art history per se. Even just the fact people learned their history with this piece of technology. They were the original jpegs if you will. It was always a matter of how the Media Lab could be a hybrid place where both past and future could be. How do we make this project happen, it was a larger project than we could handle just as the Media Lab. So it was great partnering with MFTA and the Met Education Department to create this project.

Teens peer at 35mm slides on light box to make translucent image appear

(image credit: Jean Shin)

MFTA: We’ve been talking a lot about access, and an interesting thought that comes to mind is that before slides existed, people had to read reviews from writers to learn about a particular artwork or exhibition.

MARCO: It’s was very interesting to see that when people came to the Met Image Library sometimes, they would find something that they wanted and sometimes they wouldn’t, or sometimes they would find things that they never knew they wanted. I think that’s the beauty of going to a library, culture center or any kind of place with a collection. It’s that randomness and serendipity that we haven’t been able to recreate, or I don’t think we will ever be able to recreate online. The I didn’t know I wanted that but now I want that, to me, that’s the beauty of MFTA. I could go shopping all over New York for things, but I would never have known I wanted that particular randomness.




“it doesn’t matter what the media is. Humans have been telling stories in different ways, whichever way is available to them. Technology can change, and media can change, but the content or whatever humans and artist can do using these tools will always be what connects us with different civilizations and societies”

MFTA: Jean Shin did a workshop for Teens Take The Met, and it was fascinating to watch. She introduced them to the slides and rolled out the projectors and light boxes for them to play with. It was interesting to see how seamlessly they transitioned into creating physical versions of Instagram.

MARCO: It was like ok, all these stories were captured on the slides and this format, but when people saw them and saw what they were, they would start curating it or selecting and putting them together to tell a story. So one thing that we were thinking was it doesn’t matter what the media is. Humans have been telling stories in different ways, whichever way is available to them. Technology can change, and media can change, but the content or whatever humans and artist can do using these tools will always be what connects us with different civilizations and societies. It was very interesting to be at the Met and say oh I can connect with this person who had been in the middle of New Zealand or many years ago even though we’ve never met but we have something in common and how do we find commonalities across time periods and geographies.

I think that humans are great at finding subtleties or shapes of anything, we can actually say oh this relates to this, and this relates to that, we can find patterns. We’re good at finding surprising patterns.  Machines can be good at finding the opposite like very broad strokes. I think we’re in need of both probably, it’s just that we’re learning to deal with machines and understanding our humanity.  And artists have understood their humanity before anyone else.

Institutional Memory: 35mm Slides from the Met’s Collection

image of Met's File Cabinets of Slides
While advances in technology have made physical photographic slides obsolete, this exhibition, created entirely from the recently digitized slide collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, reinvents the format as a new artistic medium.

Materials for the Arts, the creative re-use center of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art have teamed up to showcase new artwork created and inspired by the Met’s slide collection.

Participating artists include Martina Mrongovius, Michael Kelly Williams, Andrea Wolf, and Dustin Yellin, as well as work produced in the Teens Take the Met workshop with Jean Shin. With 5,000 years of art history at their disposal, these artists’ interpretations provide an opportunity to explore and imagine the future of institutional archives and their role in how we experience museums and culture at large.


UpCycle Game Night: Textile Hackathon

Bunny Yan of Squirrelz leads our UpCycle Game Night

Thursday, February 23rd
5:30 – 9 p.m.

Inspired by our extensive collection of fabric, trim & notion and other fashionable donations the game night theme is a Textile Hackathon. Whether you are a fashion designer, an arts & crafts fan, or simply brimming with ideas, all are welcome! Feel free to bring your own excess materials & craft tools. We highly encourage sharing. We will also surprise you with the design materials we’ve been collecting to throw into the mix. So come out and play, have some drinks, some snacks and let’s make something cool!

MFTA has an accessible front entrance and accessible restrooms. If you would like to utilize wheelchair seating or ASL, or additional accessibility accommodations at the event, please contact Sara Cobb as soon as possible at / (212) 513-9376.

February Third Thursday: UrbanGlass and Amanda Patenaude

Amanda EcoIcons _Rascle
UrbanGlass and featured artist Amanda Patenaude lead our February Third Thursday Workshop. We’ll explore sculptures and mosaics made from reused glass followed by a hands-on workshop making art with supplies from our reusable glass section.

Established in New York City in 1977, UrbanGlass fosters experimentation and advances the use and critical understanding of glass as a creative medium.

February 16, 2017
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.


MFTA has an accessible front entrance and accessible restrooms. If you would like to utilize wheelchair seating or ASL, or additional accessibility accommodations at the event, please contact Sara Cobb as soon as possible at / (212) 513-9376.

Attendance is free thanks to our generous Friends of Materials for the Arts funders, including the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

Rubin and Shelley FoundationFOMA Logo

MFTA Third Thursday: Printmaking with Michael Kelly Williams

Our artist-in-residence Michael Kelly Williams leads our first Third Thursday Artist Workshop of the new year!

Last Set Before Noon, 1979, 25 x 25 inches, woodcut litho colors on B.F.K. Rives

 January 19, 2017
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
During our free workshop, Williams will show us how to make prints with creative reuse methods. We’ll have an opportunity to make our own unique prints to take home. People of all ages and art making skill levels are invited. Start the new year with a healthy dose of inspiration and creativity!

Check out NY1’s feature on Michael Kelly William’s current exhibition “Found and Funky”.

Free but first come, first served. RSVP suggested. 


Get Ready to Party Masked Marvelous is Here!



Hosted by
BD Wong

Special guests:

Harold Moeller from the Bindlestiff Family Cirkis • Red Carpet by Calling All Parties • Colby Cannon • Coney Island Circus Sideshow • Dzieci Theatre • Krena Dean • Mama Tabia

Join us on Thursday, October 27th for an evening of dancing, mask making and celebrating the incredible artistry of the MFTA community.


Can’t attend?



Special Thanks