Materials For The Arts

Check out some enchanting spaces and discover the wisdom in the age-old adage that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

The Long Island City Cultural Alliance’s next LIC Art Stroll will explore the Materials for the Arts headquarters, Flux Factory, and Windmill Community Garden on Saturday, July 22.

The fun will begin at MFTA’s 35,000-square-foot warehouse at 33-00 Northern Blvd. at 2 p.m. Operated by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs with support from the Dept. of Sanitation and the Dept. of Education, MFTA stores about 2 million pounds of art supplies – everything from clothes to books to jewelry to cell phones to furniture — collected from businesses and individuals. The agency lends the merchandise to public schools and arts nonprofits, thus keeping more than 1 million pounds of elements from going to landfills a year.

In addition to the props, participants will peruse “Twisted Woven Tied” by MFTA Artist-in-Residence Dianne Smith. Descended from a long line of basket weavers in Belize, Smith added twists, knots, ties, textures, and colors to discarded items to create her 51 works, which provoke viewers to ponder sustainability, identity, race, gender, religion, inequality, and power.

The group will then head a few blocks west to Flux Factory at 39-31 29th St., where curators Christina Freeman and Emireth Herrera Valdes will expound on “Tongue Tide,” a group show that explores the ways in which humans experience, use, and understand words. Pieces include photography, installation, neon sign, nomadic library, opera, and karaoke booth.

Then participants will wander to Windmill Community Garden at 39-22 29th St. for snacks and refreshments. About two years ago, Flux Factory teamed up with the restaurant Dutch Kills Centraal and Growing Up Green Charter School to turn this 2,500-square-foot, city-owned lot with a crumbling building into a public green space.

Tickets are $12 each, but students and senior citizens pay only $7. Plus, those who RSVP receive a free LongIsCity tee shirt.

An umbrella group for nonprofit entities, the Long Island City Cultural Alliance is currently spearheading Art Strolls on a monthly basis. Upcoming ones will explore the Museum of the Moving Image and the Brooklyn Grange’s LIC branch on Sept. 16 and the Folk Art Annex and Falchi Building on Oct. 21.


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