MFTA Turns Trash into Art

Now in its 28th year, Materials for the Arts is one of the most venerable materials exchange programs out there. Complementing New York Wa$teMatch, which works mostly with for-profit businesses, MFTA is funded by the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Board of Education as well as the NYC Department of Sanitation and provides materials for artists and teachers. Donations of goods and funds are tax-deductible and can usually be housed in MFTA's warehouse, though there's also a direct donations program for large pieces of furniture or equipment and large or hazardous quantities of smaller items. They got their start when the Parks Department needed a refrigerator for storing temperature-sensitive medications for animals in the zoo, so they've never been afraid to think big. Now they funnel over $3.5 million worth of landfill-destined materials to schools, art centers, and community groups every year. Time Out New York has called them "the invisible glue between those who create trash and those who create art." ::Materials for the Arts. See also: ::Hudson Valley Materials Exchange