Materials for the Arts in Long Island City has been providing art supplies to the city’s arts organizations and non-profits since 1978. With a mission of reducing waste, reusing, and upcycling, MFTA receives donations from New York’s leading businesses to pass on the art organizations in need, free of charge. Their Long Island City warehouse is a virtual treasure trove of art supplies, props, and furniture.
A bevy of materials are found and given away through MFTA. The warehouse includes aisles of craft supplies, a fabric center, a paint room, lumber, furniture, paper, and props donated by designer fashion houses, offices, lumber yards, retail stores and leading companies around New York City. With these donations, not only are hundreds of tons kept out of our landfills each year, but fledgling organizations are able to flourish and realize their creative projects.
Although private individuals may not receive donations, many organizations easily qualify, free of charge. Schools and educators may use craft supplies to supplement arts budget funding, independent theater groups can furnish their sets, and artists can gain supplies and installation materials through exhibiting non-profits.
Throughout the warehouse, MFTA offers arty project suggestions for their materials, from making puppets out of old shirts to Christmas ornaments and origami. Each is described step by step, to encourage educators to get creative with the materials at hand. The materials change from day to day, but can inspire new projects and creativity themselves.
What’s more, MFTA offers special classes and events in the warehouse and off site, including community crafting classes, composting, recycling, and other creative green living practices. New organizations are encouraged to apply and reap the benefits of upcycling the great materials at the center.