One piece of yarn at a time, Maricela Reyes is winding opportunities for city artists — and maybe some of her own.

“Whatever I see, I think, ‘Oh. That may be good for my group,’” Reyes said.

Reyes is the executive director of Pluma Poetica del Arte, a creative education nonprofit in East Harlem.

What You Need To Know

  • Maricela Reyes has been volunteering at Materials for the Arts for seven years. The Long Island City warehouse provides supplies to community organizations and schools

  • Reyes heads an arts nonprofit organization in East Harlem. She first came to Materials for the Arts seeking pieces for her work there

  • Reyes has also brought her staff and artsy friends to volunteer in Long Island City

It’s her work there that brought her to Materials for the Arts, the city’s free supply warehouse for schools and community organizations.

“There’s a lot of artists that need materials and they don’t have money,” Reyes said. “So this is the place, the right place. Instead of putting the things in the garbage, they bring the things here and we can benefit from that.”

Her volunteer work at Materials for the Arts started seven years ago.

Reyes was looking for supplies for Pluma Poetica. She says the Long Island City warehouse helped her out a lot.

“Materials for the Arts is the first. We can say the only organization that benefits us all the time,” she added.

So when Reyes learned the warehouse needed extra hands, it was a simple decision.

She’s currently one of the organization’s dozens of volunteers, emptying donations and shelving supplies.

“When you see that you empty a box and organize a shelf, you feel like you organize your house,” Reyes said. “Like okay, everything is done. It looks clean and organized. And there’s a feeling, ‘Okay. I’m doing something good for others.’”

Reyes has also brought her own staff and other artists to volunteer.

“Me, myself is not enough,” Reyes said. “You know they need a lot of people to come. That’s why I talk to my people and let them know the importance of coming here to help.”

For stringing together a more helpful city for artists, Maricela Reyes is our New Yorker of the Week.