The “Art of Reuse” with City Year volunteers

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Last week we hosted a group of wonderful City Year volunteers for a workshop on reuse. After learning about the resources we offer and a tour, John from MFTA’s Education Center led a discussion on bringing reuse to the classroom through methods such as having a collection bin for scraps, and asking students to bring in leftover materials from home for their next art project. After the brief talk, he led the group in a bookmaking activity using envelopes and other unconventional materials that they can take back to their schools. Each group of volunteers received a box of colored envelopes, tape, glue, buttons, beads, and sticker paper, and let their creativity flow. There was a lot of flowing, as I saw diaries, photo albums, organizers, zines, and more ideas come to fruition through the use of materials found at the warehouse.

After the activity, John from GrowNYC gave a great presentation on the programs his organization offers, as well as tips on recycling, composting, and reusing in New York City. One program that I recommend you check out is the Stop ‘N’ Swap, which is essentially a pop-up MFTA that takes place at different locations throughout the City and is entirely open to the public. They also offer textile recycling and composting stations at various Greenmarkets around the City, which are great alternatives to throwing out usable and needed items.

It was a very nice workshop with a very nice group of people. The folks from City Year learned a lot about recycling and reusing that I know they will take back and apply to their school. For many City Year volunteers it was their first time at Materials for the Arts, and I hope it is not their last.

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