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Supplies for the Arts


((PKG)) TRASH TO TREASURE ((Mandarin Service))
((Banner:
Supplies For The Arts))
((Reporter/Camera:
Ye Yuan))
((Adapted by:
Philip Alexiou))
((Map:
New York, New York City))
((HARRIET TAUB, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MATERIAL FOR THE ARTS))

Materials for the Arts is a 40 year old program. And what we do is that we take donations from everywhere, from businesses and individuals and we bring them to this warehouse where we display them. And then, twice a week, we’re open to our members and we give these things away for free. We are part of the Department of Cultural Affairs in New York City, so we’re city government, and we get additional funding from some other agencies, the Department of Education and the Department of Sanitation.
((NATS))
We have dance companies and theatre companies and visual arts organizations. And we also serve the public schools of New York City.
((STEPHANIE IZZO, SCHOOL PROGRAMS MANAGER, NYC METROPOLITAN OPERA GUILD))
We run a workshop over the summer for teachers, and so, we’re always looking for materials. They do a, basically a very short, intense creation process where they make their own operas within five days. And so, they’re creating their own costumes and their own sets and things like that. So, we use this, primarily, the materials that we are looking for today for that.
((ALEXI HO-TAI, ART DIRECTOR, SUPERHERO CLUB HOUSE))

Mostly fabrics of bright colors.

((MICHAEL HERRERA, FOUNDER AND PROGRAM DIRECTOR, HELP OURSELVES - BROOKLYN))

So, we’re doing the lower eastside festival, which is a festival that happens on the lower east side. So, we’re getting a lot of materials to create costumes for the parade.

((HARRIET TAUB, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MATERIAL FOR THE ARTS))
We are not open to individual artists. But an individual artist that is working with a non-profit on a public art work like, a mural project in the neighborhood, or a concert in a neighborhood, if they were sponsored by the member organization, then they could come in and get materials for that project only. In terms of the donors, we actually have more individual donors. So, it could be someone like you or me who’s cleaning out a closet and has some extra bags of yarn or we’re moving and we have some things we want to donate. But in terms of the volume, it’s businesses in New York City.
((JOHN KAISER, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION AND GALLERY MANAGER, MATERIALS FOR THE ARTS))
We take everything. We take things from across a spectrum and we never turn something away because we see those materials as valuable art supplies. We don’t take clothing, we don’t take new objects, because we’d rather those go to other services which help people in various capacities in New York City. So, we do programs with students across New York City. We go to schools. We send teaching artists into schools to create art projects with the teachers, with the students, and then we have students come here for field trips to Materials for the Arts, and then get a tour of the facility, and they work with an artist. They make an art project, and they really learn about how reuse can be part of art making for them.

((HARRIET TAUB, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MATERIAL FOR THE ARTS))
That’s a very sustainable thing because budgets in schools are also very limited. So, if you can use what’s around you and put that in your curriculum, then your students can continue to be creative and make projects without there being a big price tag associated with it.
Back in 1990, the Department of Sanitation realized that this was a program of keeping things out of landfill and they realized that they should support it and that’s when we began getting money from them. So, last year we kept almost two million pounds of materials out of the landfill. And we know that because we weigh items when they come in.
((ALEXI HO-TAI, ART DIRECTOR, SUPERHERO CLUB HOUSE))
I think when I work on projects, I don’t even really imagine buying things because I know that this is a possible resource to use. And it just makes sense to me.

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