Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Creating Art on the Cheap


Contributed by Guest Blogger of the Week, Stephanie Barton-Farcas.
We all are continually looking for ways to make great sets, costumes, etc. without going broke. Or at least save some money in a city where a shirt can cost thousands of dollars! We all know, or should know, the old reliables - (Materials for the Arts, Salvation Army, Goodwill) but there are tons of other resources in the city and I want to let you in on some.  

  • Sign up online for freecycle, a daily or weekly email list of stuff for free in any borough in the city. You pick it up yourself; clothes, props, furniture, paint.
  • NY Waste Match materials exchange provides paint for free to non-profits - its online, check it out.
  • Craigslist free classified - you'd be surprised what you can get.
  • The Free Store at 99 Nassau street has - you guessed it- free stuff.
We have produced shows where the entire set and paint was free - granted sometimes you have to haul it, lug it, transport it- and that well, is not free- but still you save a bundle. And the aforementioned Materials for The Arts- if you are a non-profit and you are not a member- SIGN UP- you won't regret it. Warehoused in Queens they have everything under the sun and all free to non-profit arts groups. We save an average of a few thousand a year just because of them!

Also, we are in mid-town around the garment district so we keep our eye on what they toss- sheets of mylar? Hey! its a backdrop! Fabric?- Costumes! We are not proud - just thrifty and we will absolutely nab something someone has tossed. Local restaurants also can provide food and/or beverages for a simple thank you in the program - just ask them! Ready-made concessions!

And the mentioned two reliables - Salvation Army and Goodwill. They are not out of business, they are still running and have locations in every borough. Everything from furniture to clothes to props to scripts- all on the cheap - and sometimes you can have the guys who work there deliver your stuff for a few bucks after they get off duty.
I'd love to hear any other good standbys in the city which you all use- there are millions of people throughout the boroughs and the amount of stuff people toss or give away is unbelievable.  

Where do you save your bucks?

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