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Industry Star of the Month

Harriet Taub, Material for the Arts

Harriet Taub December 1, 2010 - Where else but Material for the Arts could a red hot tub find a second life? Now in its 32nd year, MFTA, part of the Department of Cultural Affairs, is a creative reuse center, which accepts donated items that can be reused by art-based organizations. Executive director Harriet Taub and her staff work with numerous organizations to ensure that thousands of items stay out of the dumpsters and end up in an art class instead.

���Film, TV, theatre, commercial productions have supported us for years,��� said Taub. Productions often know about MFTA through word of mouth, from people who move from show to show or prop masters who hate to throw things away. Last year, MFTA collected 650 tons of materials, worth $7 million dollars, that were then reused by its members.

Those members range from not-for-profit dance and theatre companies to art therapy departments at hospitals and senior centers. Public school teachers and government agencies can also be members. Members are able to come to the warehouse on ���shopping days��� and pick up what they need for their not-for-profit productions or classrooms. ���We call it a shopping day, even though everything is free,��� said Taub. With 4,300 active members, some of which come in every other week for materials, a steady supply from donors is always needed.

���We���re so happy to work with film and TV productions,��� said Taub, adding that it���s helpful for MFTA to be part of the planning process. With a little forethought, productions are able to schedule pick-ups or drop-off times with Materials for the Arts, and if there���s something MFTA can���t take because it���s too small or too big, they���ll work with their members to see if they can find someone who can use the items.

���It���s cheaper for productions to drop off their items with us than to hire a dumpster,��� she said.

New items are always coming in. ���We pretty much take everything, things that are in good condition, reusable,��� said Taub. The only items they won���t take accept are dangerous chemicals and weapons. They blog about what they���ve gotten in and post news to Facebook and Twitter, using technology to advance their outreach.

Taub���s favorite part of her job is seeing ���the match,��� when a teacher or someone from one of the not-for-profit theatres finds just the item they need. Taub is often invited to see productions that make use of items from MFTA���s warehouse. At times, she���ll attend a production where 90% of the items on stage are from the warehouse.

���Some organizations tell us they would not be able to open their doors without our stuff,��� she said. As part of the process, members also send thank-you notes to donors, letting them how their items were put to use.

A former art teacher, Taub is also proud of MFTA���s education programs that have started during her tenure, such as workshops that help art teachers learn how to turn these alternative items into art supplies.

���We���re a small and dedicated staff, and it works because we have a good team,��� said Taub. ���It���s all about supporting the arts.���

Industry Star


Margarita Acevedo, Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting
John Battista, Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting
Tom Reidy, Madison Square Park
Steven Holtzman, Canal Creatures Productions

2012
Jennifer Lenihan, Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting
Lynne Meadow, Manhattan Theatre Club
Thomas O'Donnell, Local 817
Katy Finch, Brooklyn Workforce Innovations
Meredith Conti, Grand Central Terminal


2011
Gino Lucci, Picture Cars East
Habibah Ali-Love, OFTB
McCord Fitzsimmons, Former OFTB Intern
Lis Pearson, New York Public Library
Veronica Miles, EcoSet
Lisa Rubin, Hudson River Park Trust
Mari Jo Winkler, PGA Green
Michael Super, Coney Island, Parks and Recreational Manager
Caroline Stephenson, NYC Economic Development Corporation
Lisa Lucas, Tribeca Film Institute


2010
Harriet Taub, Material for the Arts
David Moy, OFTB
Fred Cerullo, Grand Central Partnership
Marge Feinberg, DOE
Nate Grove, Marinas
Frank Gribbon, FDNY
Jeffrey Sangrund, Brooklyn Bridge Park
Javonne Parker, Staten Island Ferry
Justin Green, Build It Green! NYC
Tom Ross, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"
Eric Peterson, Randall's Island
Connie Fitzgerald, Department of Environmental Protection


2009
Joey Violante, Technicolor
Stephanie Argamaso, OFTB
Vito Turso, DSNY
Elizabeth Rapuano, Governor's Island
Estelle Cooper, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Alvah Holmes, Former MOFTB Intern
Dana Kuznetzkoff, Line Producer
Eva Radke, Film Biz Recycling
Karen Meyerhoff, Guggenheim
Meredith Rothstein, Roseland Ballroom
Charlotte St. Martin, The Broadway League


2008
The Artists Company
Celina Sze, OFTB
Sharon Jensen, The Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts
Terence Gray, New York Television Festival
Sam Levy, Summer Play Festival
Wes French, General Services Administration
Tom Maiorano, Brooklyn Navy Yard
Joan Cooney, South Street Seaport
Jeannine Marotta, Staten Island Economic Development Corporation
Brooke Smy, Tishman Speyer
Elliott Kerman, Tax Credit Accountant


2007
Matthew Kania, Assistant Location Manager
Lieutenant Joe Lassen, Movie/TV Unit
In Memoriam - Nancy Littlefield
Ivory Henderson-Robb, Department of Transportation
Jack Powers, New York City Economic Development Corporation
Robin Forst, Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center
Kitty Preston, CUNY Locations
Liz Carollo, Greenmarket
Donna Masly, Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation
Sean Jones, New York City Department of Corrections
Sheila Greene, NYCHA


2006
Ralph Musolino, Parks and Recreation
Rick Cotton, NBC Universal
Joe Fontao, Location Manager
Gretchen McGowan, HDNet Films/Open City Films
Tim Tompkins, Times Square Alliance
Erika Feldman, Theatre Row
Vin Lenza, Staten Island Development Corporation
Tristan Assent, "Made in NY" PA
Denise Motta, New York City Economic Development Corporation
Terry Lawler, New York Women in Film and Television
Monty Ross, 40 Acres and a Mule


2005
Pat White, Local 764
Michelle Byrd, Independent Feature Project
Matt Miller, AICP
Kyle McCarthy, MTA Metro-North
Jeannette Pinero, Department of Correction
Bambi Brook, Dawn Animal Agency
Andy Nagy, NYCHA
Juan Rosario, HPD
James J. Claffey, Jr., IATSE Local One
Mac Brown, Producer
Cheryl Hodge, VTU
Llewellyn Wells, Executive Producer
Lawrence Major, Parks and Recreation


2004
Ken Konfong, Economic Development Corporation
Whoopi Goldberg, Actress/Producer
Caroline Baron, FilmAid International
Thomas O'Donnell Sr., Local 817
Drew Jiritano, Special Effects Coordinator
Carla Rajj, Location Manager
Al Cerullo, Film Pilot
James Lauer, FDNY
Dan Mercado, Parks and Recreation
Rebecca Seale, DCAS
Alberteen Anderson, MTA
Joseph Ellis, NYPD
Peter Basich, DOT
Richie Silverman, NYPD