Independent Living Association Receives Mask Donation from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

May 15, 2020

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has made a most generous unsolicited donation of 100 hand sewn masks to ILA in appreciation of the care and dedication of the ILA staff during the challenging pandemic.

The materials used for the masks, according to Julia Carlson, Associate Conservator in the Department of Textile Conservation, and Melina Plottu, Associate Conservator in the Costume Institute, are high quality conservation materials: Pima cotton, acid free polyester Pellon and 100% cotton muslin. The masks are water repellent, washable, and the 300 thread count cotton outer layer and Pellon inner layer helps block out most particles.

The Met mask making project was undertaken by 21 volunteers and staff from six museum departments and has been spearheaded by Janina Poskrobko, Conservator in Charge in the Department of Textile Conservation and Minsun Hwang, Conservator in Textile Conservation.  Smart Local 28 of the sheet metal workers union donated the metal strips for the masks .…  a true collaboration of New Yorkers caring for each other.

Besides ILA, other recipients of the masks have been three hospitals, four other non-profits, women’s shelters, veteran’s housing and essential workers in various departments in the Museum. Over 1700 masks have been donated thus far.

ILA employs over 700 people, operates 35 group homes (Individual Residential Alternatives) across New York City with a total of 247 beds and has a day habilitation center that many of the developmentally and intellectually disabled men and women attend. Like many similar organizations, COVID-19 has dramatically affected the daily structure and routines of these individuals. Direct Support Professionals staff the homes 24/7 and are responsible for the care and safety of the residents, no easy task especially during these times. Arthur Palevsky, the Executive Director of ILA, is extremely appreciative for the Met donation as well as other contributions of both money and Personal Protective Equipment

Even though a number of individuals have been affected by the virus, the entire staff of ILA is committed to the continuous care of all its individuals and “our staff”, says Mr. Palevsky, “continues to be nothing short of amazing”.  

Cover image from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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