The opening reception last night was a great success. We had over 50 artists, teachers, donors, and friends visit the warehouse last night to enjoy the reception and the panel discussion. Prior to the discussion, Director of Education John Kaiser led tours through the warehouse for those coming to MFTA for the first time, and Carolina Peñafiel spun great tunes on her turntables.
The panel discussion was delightfully engaging and offered insight into the world of MFTA. The panel was comprised of Georgia Muenster and Elizabeth Larison of Flux Factory, Carolina Peñafiel and Carla Torres of Local Project, and Joy Suarez and John Kaiser of the Education Center at MFTA. The artists discussed their work and role of reuse in the New York City art world, and answered questions from attendees. When asked what motivates them, Georgia mentioned the championing of the Do-It-Yourself ethic and aesthetic, different from the Chelsea and SoHo art worlds. Carolina stressed that it is the importance of Local Project that keeps her going. New York is improved because of the work by her and those like her. I could not agree more.
The greatest exemplifying anecdote from the evening came from Harry Martinian, a long-time donor to MFTA. A few years ago, he had an item he did not need but wished to donate. He listed the item on Direct Donations and, like many other donors, was quickly linked with a recipient who picked the item up without hassle. A month later, the recipient, New York Neo-Futurists, sent a thank you letter for the item and invited Harry to an upcoming performance. Harry took them up on their offer. Harry not only enjoyed the performance, but was so impressed with the show that he now regularly attends workshops and events they organize.
Materials for the Arts is not just about giving away free stuff. Creative reuse is not just about saving money and helping the environment. All of these are wonderful, but there is so much more to us, to these organization, and to the art world of New York. Flux Factory, Local Project, and MFTA foster a nurturing community in a vastly diverse city. These organizations put on consistently thoughtful, creative, and positive shows and events, and we are honored to have their work adorning our space.
M.F.T.A. Gallery is open to the public Monday through Friday between 10am and 5pm.