In 1978, Angela Fremont, a young artist working at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation in Central Park, heard that the staff of the Central Park Zoo needed a refrigerator to store medicines for the animals. Angela called a local radio show to make on-air appeal for a working refrigerator. Within minutes, the zoo's office was overwhelmed with phone calls offering them a refrigerator. Materials for the Arts was then born, starting as a one person operation with a desk and a phone, but now has grown into a program with 13 staff members, two trucks, and a 35,000 square foot facility in Long Island City.
The program was founded in 1978 and has formed a unique partnership among New York City's Departments of Cultural Affairs, Department of Education, and Department of Sanitation to provide thousands of NYC's arts and cultural organizations, public schools, and community arts programs with the supplies they need to run and expand their programs.
Fabric Area in the warehouse. Photo credit: Materials for the Arts website
The Materials for the Arts staff gathers materials from companies and individuals that no longer need them and makes them available, for free, to the artists and educators that do.
Every year hundreds of tons of unneeded supplies are removed from the waste stream and kept out of landfills. This process helps sustain our environment, promotes reuse, and reduces waste. While Materials for the Arts serves hundreds of non-profit groups each year, it has become the single largest supplier of art supplies to the New York public schools. So now you know where your children get their art supplies from besides what they ask from you at the beginning of the school year.
The program would not be possible without the material donors throughout the New York City area. If you are interested in donating your unwanted reusable items to Materials for the Arts please visit Materials for the Arts or call 718-729-3001.
Donated frame materials-- Photo credits: Materials for the Arts website
Now it's time to look in your supply closets, attic, basement, storage and pull out supplies you don't need. They can also use office furniture and office supplies, musical instruments, sound and lighting equipment, fabric, paint, construction materials, or even toaster ovens, rugs, theater curtains, yarn, paint and toothbrushes. If you have them and don't need them, they can figure out what to use them. Leave it to those artist; you will be surprised!
Don't have enough to donate? Why not including your relatives, neighbors, your church members, and even your local business and stores. Do it together as a team. Spring cleaning is coming!
If you are interested in becoming a materials recipient please click here to see if you qualify.
Not only that you feel good clearing out clutters in your closets, you will also help the environment, and give supplies to those artists in need. They may come back for your children to use in school. Hey! Sharing is caring after all...