NY1's latest Queens People of the Week are playing their part in keeping arts and culture alive in the city. Leisha Majtan introduces us.
As the old saying goes.
"Somebody else's garbage is my treasure! My treasure!" said Queens Person of the Week, Rita Donohue.
Rita Donohue is a costume designer.
For one show, she could craft dozens of costumes.
And she says if it wasn't for "Materials for the Arts," her work wouldn't be possible.
"Saves us a lot of money. And because they have such a large volume of stuff to choose from, I can coordinate a whole outfit or scene!" Donohue added.
Donohue has been getting supplies from "Materials for the Arts" for the last 30 years -- and she's never spent a dime.
To show her gratitude, Donahue volunteers with the organization every week.
"Materials for the Arts" is run by the City.
Everything from fabric to old instruments to books are donated and then are given a second life by artists and teachers.
And it's all for free.
The organization relies on volunteers like Donohue to sort through the thousands of items that fill the shelves of the 35,000 square-foot warehouse.
"They're a critical part of our process. "Materials for the Arts" really thrives on the spirit of generosity and gratitude of giving back,” said Kwame Belle from Materials for the Arts. “And so our volunteers take that one step further by giving up their time and their effort."
Giving back has even sparked some creativity in the volunteers.
"What happens when you volunteer is the big surprise that you learn something! So you learn something going through the books or walk through the other areas and get ideas. I can't wait for Halloween!" added Julia Mucci another volunteer and Queens Person of the Week.
And for others, keeping arts and culture alive is what makes them come back...
"I believe art is everywhere you look. So the fact that everything here is ultimately given out to people who have arts programming or are involved in the arts in the schools just brings art to everybody," said Julia Ladds Clauss, another Queens Person of the Week.
And so for continuing the mission of "bringing art to everyone," the "Materials for the Arts" volunteers are our Queens People of the Week.