Big Moves at the Whitney Museum

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By Alexandra Ruiz and Alissa Valeri
Part of a mini-series highlighting New York City museums as materials donors and recipients of MFTA. We deeply appreciate these cultural institutions’ generosity and contributions towards the sustainability of the city’s arts and education community.

Next spring, the Whitney Museum will be opening a new building in downtown Manhattan near the High Line. During their big move, they have continued donating to Materials for the Arts and supported programs like the Hudson Guild and Regent Family Residence. Over the last 10 years, the Whitney has donated a substantial 20,078 pounds of materials to MFTA worth a total of $36,524!

The Whitney has provided the warehouse with many items that have found their way into schools and organizations such as Forest Hills High School and the Brooklyn Arts Council. This March, we received our biggest donation ever from the Whitney, weighing in at 5,240 pounds. Then, in May, Director of Retail Operations Jennifer Heslin kindly dropped off 50 bins of arts and crafts supplies, 20 household items, 5 bags of fabric, and 5 bags of office supplies. In the past, they’ve also donated unique items like their gift store bags and cameras.

Also, the Whitney Museum is one of our recipients. This spring, MFTA served as a materials resource for producer Alexandra Rosenberg and performer and designer Elisa Santiago during the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Alexandra stocked up on materials for the upcoming performances of three different operas. They incorporated picture frames, household items, and also nearly 300 pounds of fabric and trim for costuming.

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The Whitney is now displaying a special exhibition of Jeff Koons’ work until October 19.  The exhibition is the artist’s first ever retrospective and will be the final exhibition in the museum’s current Upper East Side home before the re-opening of the new space in the Meatpacking District. Jeff Koons’ work draws attention to mass production and consumption and highlights our infatuation with inessential objects. The Whitney’s Family Programs Coordinator Billie Rae Vinson recently visited us to find supplies.

On the weekends, the Whitney Museum offers families a wide variety of events and programming for children of all ages. Drawing inspiration from the Jeff Koons’ retrospective, the Whitney is providing pop-up activity stations in the museum galleries on select Saturdays. Inspired by Koon’s material experimentation, like a giant Play-doh sculpture, the stations encourage visitors to explore different art materials.

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Thank you to the Whitney Museum for their partnership as donors and recipients. We wish them the best of luck in relocating to their new space and look forward to exploring it ourselves in the near future!

Alexandra Ruiz is the Donations and Development Intern and will be starting her first semester at Brown University this coming fall. Alissa Valeri is the Communications Intern. She is a rising junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Art History and History.