Materials for the Arts (MFTA) which is operated by the Department of Cultural Affairs, with support from the Department of Sanitation and Department of Education (DOE), provides free materials to teachers — from binders to paper and computer chairs.
The organizers are hosting a Back-to-School Shopping Spree starting Aug. 29 and ending on Sept. 30. New York City public school teachers can also visit the warehouse to pick up supplies all year round. The 35,000-square-foot facility, located at 33-00 Northern Blvd., has 40 aisles filled with calculators, binders, reams of paper, highlighters, pens and pencils and more.
In addition to more traditional items, public school teachers can pick up rolls of fabric, board games, holiday ornaments, instrument cases and gallons of paint. There is no limit on how many supplies educators can pick up.
To take advantage of the free supplies, teachers must make an appointment and can pick up items on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (last appointment is noon) and Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. (last appointment is 4:30 p.m.).
A limited supply of MFTA project starter kits will also be handed out to help “inspire teachers to create projects with less,” according to MFTA spokesperson Kwame Belle.
“Materials for the Arts transforms schools by giving teachers truckloads of free materials they can use to make hands-on learning possible for their students,” said MFTA Director of Education John Cloud Kaiser. “These reusable materials help the environment, invigorate classrooms, and offer a sustainable source of supplies. Schools that utilize these free supplies have halls decorated with science displays, rainforest models, Aztec masks, accordion books, and many more brightly colored, sophisticated projects made by their students through their studies and research in the classroom.”
The organization collects about 1.5 million pounds of materials each year and is the largest provider of art supplies to New York City public schools. Materials are donated by an eclectic mix of sources including Poppin Office Supplies, fashion companies like Marc Jacobs and Eileen Fisher, law firms, cultural institutions such as Queens Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Broadway shows.
MFTA also hosts field trips, in-school residencies and public programs and curates an art gallery.
If a teacher is looking to be added to their school’s member account, they can go through their principal or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.