Materials for the Arts, which was founded in 1978, is New York City’s premier municipal reuse program supporting the local arts and cultural community. The organization collects donations and unneeded items from businesses, donors, volunteers and individuals, and provides them for free to not-for-profit art organizations, social organizations with arts programming and public schools that cannot afford to purchase art supplies for their respective organizations.
Donors include big name companies and brands such as Google, JetBlue, American Express, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Estee Lauder, Marc Jacobs, John Varvatos and Target, just to name a few.
According to statistics from last year, the Materials for the Arts program, which is operated by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs with additional support from the City’s Departments of Sanitation and of Education, donated to over 2,000 organizations, including non-profits and NYC public schools all across the 5 boroughs. The amount of reusable goods collected was totaled at about $6.8 million, and reached over 17,000 students, as well as over 5,000 teachers. The MFTA continues to be the largest provider of art supplies for New York City schools.
In addition, the MFTA has recently invited over 65 Department of Education schools to participate in their Back to School shopping day, which is taking place tomorrow, August 27th, at their warehouse in Long Island City. Teachers and school members are invited to be a part of the MFTA initiative to increase the number of NYC DOE schools who have access to art supplies, as well as to help teachers prepare for the upcoming school year. The Peck Slip School in lower Manhattan will be participating in Back to School day, along with many other schools in the area.
If interested in donating to the MFTA, donors can drop off donations at the warehouse, send items via mail and list donations on the online Direct Donations service, which matches donors with recipients directly. MFTA provides a pickup service for donations valued at over $1000 and/or weighing over 250 pounds.
The MFTA has been an active member within the New York City community by promoting the need of art programs within schools and organizations for kids. The MFTA also welcomes volunteers at their warehouse and throughout the community, so if interested, please visit their website to learn more.
-by Jackie Hart