Learning art projects for Earth Day at MFTA

Maya Lin. "Storm King Wavefield." Opened at Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, NY, in May 2009.

Humankind has always looked to the Earth to provide inspiration and materials for its artistic and cultural pursuits. From some of the first tools created by humans, like this

"Olduvai handaxe." Lower Palaeolithic, about 1.2 million years old, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. British Museum, London.

hand axe (1.2 million years old!) from the British Museum’s collection, to Maya Lin’s 2009 “Storm King Wavefield,” artists have always interpreted, refined and enhanced the world around them.

Now more than ever artists focus on the interplay of their art and the environment, both natural and man-made. Today’s artists create art that is beautiful, responsible and provocative, like Algernon Miller and Sanaa Gateja’s “Change,” which is featured in the Museum of Arts and Design‘s current exhibition The Global Africa Project. The beads that make up this work were made from recycled

Change. Algernon Miller, Sanaa Gateja and Kwetu Afrika Women's Association Angels. Beads fabricated from recycled Barack Obama presidential campaign literature 8 x 10 ft. Courtesy of Algernon Miller and MAD Museum.

Obama campaign literature by Kwetu Afrika Women’s Association Angels. Miller then took the beads and composed “Change,” an alluring art work that invites closer examination of itself and our relationship to the Earth.

Materials for the Arts has been considering the Earth as well as the man-made environment (what we throw away) since 1978. We aim to infuse this perspective into all forms of art-making and cultural expression. The MFTA program removes hundreds of tons from New York City’s waste stream each year and distributes free materials to NYC’s leading visual arts groups, dance ensembles, theater troupes and music makers.


At MFTA educators learn how to make handmade paper from old scrap paper

We are experts in making art that is both beautiful and responsible to our environment. Come to MFTA’s studios in Long Island City for our Art Projects for Earth Day class (THURSDAY 4/7/11 5:00-7:00 pm) to learn some of our favorite techniques for making art from things you’d normally throw away, like bottles, cereal boxes and coat hangers.

This typical MFTA project is a mask made from a milk jug


The class will meet at Materials for the Arts: 33-00 Northern Boulevard, 3rd Floor, Long Island City, NY 11101.

Click here or follow the link above to sign up for this class. For more information classes at MFTA or to sign up over the phone please call 718-729-2165. To find about the array of environmentally-sustainable art programming we offer visit the Education homepage.

Click here for more information on hands-on PD at Materials for the Arts.

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