Install Theme

Behind the scenes of Materials for the Arts (MFTA)


Materials for the Arts is New York’s premiere reuse center, providing a way for companies and individuals to donate unneeded supplies to thousands of nonprofit organizations with arts programming and public schools. They offer a wide variety of events, workshops, and classes to help people see and experience creative reuse up close.

Two weeks ago, Rachel Kuo, the Communications Coordinator of MFTA invited us to their LIC warehouse. Here is an inside look at their magnificent space! We were there to witness some shopping going on by MFTA recipients.

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53 hours to go…

Taken by Ahria Bakharia Ifill. A high school student from East Side Community High School (ESCHS). On assignment for QNSMADE and a part of the Five Boroughs Foundation of Photography program

This photoset was taken by High School students from East Side Community High School (ESCHS). Winnie Cheung (our first interviewee of QNSMADE) volunteers her Saturday mornings at the school, for the Five Boroughs Foundation of Photography program

This past March 15th, the students came to Queens, specifically Austin Street, Forest Hills and took photos of people in Queens for our photography section.

Leigh Klonsky heads the program and is a teacher at the school. 

Big thank you to Winnie, Leigh, and of course the students, Lonnie Hancock, Ahria Bakharia Ifill, Cheyenne Richardson, and Tiffany Ng!

View full photoset.

QNSMADE interview #1: Winnie Cheung


I think growing up in such a diverse neighborhood, I was never afraid to submerge myself, I think that is the one reason I love traveling so much I get to see so many cultures and this is something you do in Queens all the time with your friends. Forest Hills was cool like that, I had all kinds of friends under the sun.

I don’t think I’ve fully formed this idea yet, but I’ll just say it and see if it comes to something cohesive. Living in Brooklyn, there are a lot of people that come from different places and there is this Brooklyn identity that people can really latch on to, but for me since I grew up in Queens, I don’t feel comfortable with that, or it’s that I just don’t identify myself as “Oh, I’m Brooklyn”, so I feel a little removed from that community, but I am still able to interact with them and it gives me, not like an extra up, but I can see through some of the bullshit.

I feel so lucky to come from a different culture and now finding my way in this Brooklyn artist community. I had another identity before that. I feel like for other people, it’s kind of their first identity as an adult. Like Oh, Brooklyn, I can see myself here. And for me, before Brooklyn, I was from Queens, that was it for me, and to be able to understand that, and to be able to step back from the Brooklyn artist community, and understand there is so much more to New York than Brooklyn. I feel like a lot of people hardly go outside of the world they know.

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Today marks the 4th day of the QNSMADE Kickstarter campaign. 11 days in counting… If you like what we are doing, what we are about, please consider donating and helping us spread the word about the project. Thank you! Best, Amy

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.—H. Keller

We see ourselves in the people of Queens. Literally.