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Materials for the Arts hosts after-school programing at its Long Island City warehouse

Young student paints during Foundation for New American Art’s Paint Brushes Not Guns Festival at The Clemente Cultural and Educational Center. (Courtesy of MFTA)

April 5, 2023 By Bill Parry

Materials for the Arts is hosting a unique after-school program at its Long Island City warehouse each Wednesday through the end of the spring semester on May 3.

The Foundation for New American Art, an arts education nonprofit organization with a mission to support underserved communities, launched the program last month.

“Paintbrushes Not Guns: Multimedia and the Power of Cultural Memory,” supported by the city’s Cultural Development Fund, is a free program for students from grades 8-12 to attend featuring art, music, performance art and dance training sessions with special guest artists to learn about diverse cultures around the globe through art.

Each week, participants will create their own art and share the meaning of their work and how it relates to their lives. The program is accepting enrollment through May 3, at Materials for the Arts, a program of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA).

“We strengthen children’s voices so they can articulate their goals and tell authentic stories about their lived experiences,” Foundation for New American Art Founding Director Phoebe Legere said. “Since 2006, our small grassroots organization has been fueled by the passion of volunteers and small donations from the community. We are overjoyed to have the support from DCLA to continue the FNAA mission: We bring free high-quality arts education to children of low-income BIPOC communities. At our free public programming, we perform our shared vision of a harmonious future for our community. We also give each child a chance to step into the spotlight and shine.”

Master teachers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Native America took are among the special guest artists at a Materials for the Arts after-school program. (Courtesy of MFTA)

FNAA is committed to supporting children to use art as a tool to express their emotions and combat violence. The “Paintbrushes Not Guns” program will continue each Wednesday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at Materials for the Arts (MFTA), located at 33-00 Northern Blvd. in Long Island City.

MFTA is the city’s largest reuse center supporting nonprofits with arts programming, public schools, and city agencies. On average MFTA collects more than 1.5 million pounds of supplies each year which it provides, free of charge, to its member organizations.

“We’re excited to provide our space and supplies at Materials for the Arts for sustainable art making with the Paintbrushes Not Guns program,” Materials for the Arts Director of Education John Cloud Kaiser said. “Through this initiative, students will use donated supplies from the MFTA warehouse, including buttons, beads, paper scraps, fabric, and other everyday items that empower young learners to be resourceful and creative with the materials we have around us.”

In addition to providing materials, MFTA has an Artist-in-Residence program and holds public events every third Thursday of the month which include gallery openings and community workshops. Learn more here.

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