Philly Dumpster Divers recycles trash into masterful works of art

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WPVI) – “In 1992 a group of us who made art out of found objects or junk, or whatever you want to call it, decided that we would meet , have lunch and brainstorm,” says Joël Spivak.

Spivak was an early member of what were then called the “Dumpster Diners”. Over time, it has become an inexperienced haven for anyone wishing to turn trash into treasure. Now the “Philadelphia Dumpster Divers” have been running well for 30 years.

Whether with bottles, brooms, books or dolls, each unique artist puts a recycled spin on otherwise vanished materials.

“It’s the whole idea of ​​keeping it in circulation rather than putting it in the landfill,” said member Alden Cole. “There’s too much of that rubric out there already.”

Other members like Betsy Alexander hope each piece contributes to a greater feeling that audiences should consider.

“Maybe we want to go back to a time when we were more frugal, when we valued materials more,” she said. “Where we were more environmentally friendly.”

The general public will have the opportunity to discover various works by the Dumpster Divers starting today. Artist James Dupree turned his gallery into an exhibit showcasing all the coolest, quirkiest, and most impactful pieces he could collect from members.

“Divers have been around for 30 years, so I had a lot of work to choose from,” Dupree said. “This is my gift to the arts community in Philadelphia.”

The gallery, located at 703 S. 6th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will be open select weekends for the foreseeable future. A full list of dates and times can be found on their website.

Interested persons should be aware that the intersection of South 6th and Bainbridge streets is currently blocked for maintenance. The gallery is only accessible from the intersection of South 6th and Fitzwater streets.

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