Take Two with the MoMA


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.

As one of the preeminent cultural institutions of New York City, the Museum of Modern Art takes full advantage of the MFTA experience as both a donor and a recipient.  Two branches of MoMA donate to Materials for the Arts: the main museum building in Manhattan on 53rd Street and the Modern Art Library in Long Island City. Each have provided their own unique contributions to the warehouse.

The MoMA has donated to us since 2000. In the last four years alone, they’ve donated to our 29 times, contributing 19,558 pounds of materials valued at $49,856 to our recipients. The items they donate include lamps, printers, posters, paints, and fabric. Just this June, MFTA received 8 boxes of arts and crafts items, and in July, we received boxes of leather post cards. MoMA’s active presence at MFTA is partially credited to MoMA Office Manager Alenia Sammy. After noticing materials no longer needed by her department, Sammy initiated a collection program specifically for MFTA.

Home to a non-circulating collection of 300,000 contemporary and modern art books and exhibition catalogs and 1,000 periodical titles, The Museum of Modern Art Library is a newer donor to us. Recently in May, the library contributed a sizable donation of 109 pounds of art magazines and 326 pounds of office supplies. Since 2010, the library has made 11 donations, weighing in at 7,189 pounds, with a value of $7,378!

Since joining MFTA as a recipient in 1996, the MoMA has helped us divert 8,121 pounds of materials from the landfill by incorporating reusable materials into their free educational programs. Their programs include lectures, workshops, on-site programs, exhibits, and much more. The MoMA Art Lab combines museum visits with learning opportunities by offering hands-on activities and tactile experiences to children. Right now, until August 31, the MoMA Art Lab’s programs are themed around the concept of motion. Children investigate different kinds of movement in art – from visual styles that suggest movement to kinetic sculpture to artistic motions in art-making.


Earlier this year, the Art Lab’s Associate Director Sarah Kennedy stopped by the MFTA warehouse and took books, fabric, and paper for a pop-up learning lounge inspired by the Alibis: Sigmar Polke exhibit.  Through hands-on educator-led activities, the learning lounge enabled visitors of all ages to explore Sigmar Polke’s different uses of materials, processes, and imagery.

“We are grateful for the fabric supplies…the generous donation has greatly enhanced the activities are we are offering at the learning lounge,” writes Sarah.

momaAs well as offering educational opportunities for younger children, the MoMA provides a wide selection of opportunities for teens. Their Community Partnership program, run by Kerry Downey, offers free art-making experiences with nonprofit partners and alongside different communities. This past December, Kerry came to MFTA on behalf of MoMA’s teen programming and sifted through our extensive warehouse. She left with over 100 pounds of arts and crafts supplies, paper, frames, and household items.

Kerry recently collaborated with Abyssinian Development Corporation’s YouthBuild program, a nonprofit organization that partners with young adults working towards obtaining their GEDS and receiving job training.

Teaching artist Hillary Livingston, who is also a recipient member through Silent Barn and the Flux Factory, taught a class at the MoMA this summer and used MFTA donations to create a video game arcade exhibition in the Cullman Education Building. The kids’ collaborative arcade will be on display starting August 15.

“These kinds of gifts are so important to emerging artists, children, museums, and alternative art spaces,” writes Hillary.

The MoMA gets a big THANK YOU from us. They’ve made many notable contributions to the NYC community their educational programs and sharing their wealth of resources.  Organizations like the Bronx Children’s Day Treatment Center, the Academy of Urban Planning, the Harlem YMCA, the Brooklyn Historical Society, the Harbor Lights Theater Company, the A.I.R. Gallery, Families First, and many more have benefited from their donations.

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.