Dumpster Diver Exhibit Extended to November 4!

In our last post,  we told you about “DUMPSTER DIVERSions”,  our 25th anniversary pop-up exhibit by 46 members of the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers,  that predictably unpredictable band of found-object artists and their painter/photographer/performance artist friends….

17_10_16 1 Dumpster Divers Exhibit DC_4073Some of the more than 125 works you’ll find behind our purple door.


Based on the encouraging feedback we’ve received in our first two weeks  (hey, we can never predict what will happen when we schedule one of our unlikely projects!),  we’ve extended the exhibit to Saturday,  Nov. 4.

17_10_16 2 Dumpster Divers Exhibit DC_4077aCollage,  fiber and found-object art by Eva Aanya Preston,   Ellen Sall,  I. George Bilyk, Burnell Yow! and  Bruce Gast

Our free South Philadelphia exhibit at 1548 E. Passyunk Avenue (Tasker Street corner) will now be open every Friday and Saturday through Nov. 4 from 6-9 pm.

We’ll also be open  Saturday, Oct. 28 from 1-5 pm to celebrate East Passyunk Avenue’s annual Fall Fest and Spooky Saturday.

17_10_16 3 Dumpster Diver Exhibit DC_4093aAnd,  yes,  we’ll flip off the overhead lights so you can enjoy the full effect of the Divers’ multi-colored light sculptures.


As described last time,  our 26 windows bordering East Passyunk Avenue’s singing fountain are also filled with smiling portraits of Dumpster Divers and their art,  and we’ll light them daily through Nov. 4….

17_10_16 4 Passyunk Windows CM_8273 cropThe new view from our windows:  Leo Sewell,  Harry Anderson and Eva Aanya Preston have been Divers since 1992,  the group’s first year.


Want to see more Dumpster Diver art now?   Check out our  Unexpected Philadelphia  website,  where you’ll find a 25th anniversary photo directory featuring 47 Divers….

17_10_16 5 Dumpster Diver Exhibit 4Clockwise from top left: Work by Dr. Photon,  Joanne Hoffman,  I. George Bilyk,  and Taji Ra’oof Nahl.

Simply click here (Part 1) or here (Part 2) to start the tour.   Then  click on any thumbnail-sized image to page through larger versions of all the photos in alphabetical order by Diver name.

You can also take photo tours  of 15 creative Dumpster Diver homes and studios.


So,  join us on any Friday or Saturday night through Nov. 4 from 6-9 pm,  or on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 1-5 pm.

Or send an email if you’d like to visit at another time with a class or art group,  and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

17_10_16 6 Dumpster Diver Exhibit DC_4107The pop-up crowd at 1548 E. Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia

Driving in?  Check out the end of our our last blog post for transportation and parking tips on East Passyunk Avenue’s busy restaurant row.


Kate & Dave



The Philadelphia Dumpster Divers’ 25th anniversary exhibit opens this Friday,  and we’ll have Divers on the inside,  Divers on the outside  (check out our new window display,  below)  and Divers on our website  (don’t miss our two-part anniversary album of Diver art).

But first,  we’d like to invite you to visit….


The Divers,  of course,  are that merry band of found-object artists and their painter-photographer-performance art friends who have worked and played together since April Fool’s Day,  1992.

17_09_30 1 Dumpster DiversAmong our 46 featured Diver artists are (clockwise from top left):  Leo Sewell,  Ellen Sall,  John Jonik,  Hugo Hsu,  Smokie Kittner and Harry Anderson

And starting Friday,  October 6 (our opening reception) – and every Friday and Saturday in October from 6-9 pm – we’ll host  “DUMPSTER DIVERSions”,  a free pop-up exhibit of the Divers’ found-object art assemblages,  collages,  paintings,  photography and more.  Just visit our South Philadelphia studio at 1548 E. Passyunk Avenue,  on the corner of E. Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street.

17_09_30 2 Sewell Davidson Spicer DupreeIncluded in our exhibit (clockwise from top left):  Works by Leo Sewell,  Len Davidson,  Simone Spicer and James Dupree

We’ll also welcome visitors from 1-5 pm on Saturday, October 28 during East Passyunk Avenue’s annual Halloween & harvest fest.

(And, yes – be sure to check our parking tips below…!)


During our five years on East Passyunk,  we’ve used our corner windows to display photos of everyone from our neighbors at holiday time,  to South Philly celebrities from the 1960s,  so this weekend we unveiled –  you guessed it – 26 portraits of longtime Divers.

Here’s the view from Linn Street….

17_09_30 3 Linn Diver Windows DC

And here’s the view from Tasker Street and E. Passyunk Avenue….

17_09_30 4 Tasker & Passyunk Windows CM“That couple on the corner have WAY too much time on their hands….”

The portraits will be up every day through October 28,  and will be lit from 4 pm ’til 1:30 a.m.


Can’t visit in person?   No problem!  Check out our online 25th anniversary photo directory for more work by 46 Divers….

17_09_30 5 Keech Mellina Cole AlexanderWaiting for you in our online Diver directory:  Greetings from  (clockwise from top left)  Ann Keech,   Kate Mellina,  Alden Cole,  and Betsy Alexander

Simply click either here (Part 1) or here (Part 2) to visit our “Unexpected Philadelphia” website.

Then,  when you arrive,  click on any thumbnail image to page through larger versions of all the photos in order.   For each Diver,  you’ll see a mini-bio and portrait,  followed by multiple examples of their work.


If you’ve been to East Passyunk Avenue’s wildly popular restaurant row,  you know that parking is a headache at night.   What to do?

17_09_30 6 Ann Keech AK“Oh, the Places She’ll Go” by Ann Keech

Arrive by taxi,  Uber or Lyft.   Or take advantage of the handy valet service right across Passyunk Avenue from us  (at Tasker Street,  by the singing fountain plaza).  The cost is $16  (another incentive to carpool),  and they’re open until 9:30 or 10 pm.

You can also choose our preferred luxury option and arrive by the Broad Street subway (we are three blocks east of the Tasker-Morris exit – just stroll up Tasker to Passyunk) or take the 45 bus from Center City.  The 45 travels south on 12th Street to Tasker (Passyunk Avenue is one block east) and north on 11th Street from South Philadelphia (the Tasker Street northbound stop is visible from our house).


…and bring a friend!

17_09_30 7 cdavid cottrill CDCFormer Philadelphian cdavid cottrill from the Divers’ West Coast annex.  And,  yes,  cdavid is flying in for opening night.   (No word about the bird….)

Kate & Dave


The Dumpster Diver Photo Directory Is Up!

Last month,  we told you about our upcoming 25th anniversary celebration for the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers.

The Divers are that spirited band of found-object artists and friends (photographers,  painters,  a poet and more) whose homes and studios we’ve documented on our  “Unexpected Philadelphia” website.

17_09_25 1 Dumpster Diver FormalA 1990s rogue’s gallery of (semi-)dressed-up Divers….

17_09_25 2 Divers Award Banquet 2015 IGB….and their understated 2015 look.  (Both photos by I. George Bilyk,  front row with bow tie)


Starting Friday, October 6  –  and every Friday and Saturday in October from 6-9 pm  –  we’ll host  “DUMPSTER DIVERSions”,   a free  exhibit of the Divers’ found-object art assemblages,  collages,  paintings,  photography and more in our South Philadelphia studio on the corner of E. Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street.   (Check back for details next week.)

17_09_25 3 Willowbee Enright UlrichFound-object work by Divers Sally Willowbee,  Lion Studio,  and Jim Ulrich.   (Photos courtesy of the artists.)


Following our “everyday’s a holiday” tradition,  we’ll also light up South Philadelphia’s Singing Fountain corner by placing 26 oversized Diver portraits in our windows….

17_09_25 4 Dumpster Divas 2017

Six “Dumpster Divas”  who will grace our lighted windows:  Clockwise from top left are Charmaine Caire,  Charna Eisner,  Toni Nash,  Sally Willowbee,  Leslie Stuart Matthews and Eva Aanya Preston


But there’s no need to wait ’til October 6:   Today we’re kicking off the 25th anniversary festivities with an online photo directory showing almost four dozen Dumpster Divers and their work….

17_09_25 5 Caire Altabef Alsbrooks AndersonNow showing in our Diver directory:   Work by  (clockwise from top left)  Charmaine Caire,  Gretchen Altabef,  Kim Alsbrooks and Harry Anderson

Simply  head to our  “Unexpected Philadelphia”  website and check out our two-part,  alphabetical Diver exhibit by clicking either here (Part 1) or here (Part 2). 


When you arrive there,  simply click on any thumbnail image to page through larger versions of all the photos.   For each Diver,  you’ll see a mini-bio and portrait….

17_09_25 6 Randall Cleaver 1Randall Cleaver moved to Maryland,  but he’s always in the Divers’ hearts – and in our South Philly exhibit and online photo directory.   (All Randall Cleaver photos courtesy of the artist.)

…followed by two photo collages of their work….

17_09_25 7 Randall Cleaver 2Randall’s imaginative timepieces and lamps are unmitigated fun.  And,  yes,  two of his  unlikely cuckoo clocks are already chirping in our gallery


So have fun exploring our two-part Dumpster Diver photo directory,  and visit 15 creative Diver homes while you’re there.

We’ll be back here next week to show you photos of our lighted Dumpster Diver windows and to tell you more about our October 6 opening night!

And,  yes,  we hope you’ll come and bring a friend….

17_09_25 8 Burnell Yow!Diver Burnell Yow!  with a new recruit

Kate & Dave





The Dumpster Divers Are Coming!

Over the past two years,  we’ve introduced you to the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers – that big-hearted coalition of artists who have played,  exhibited and produced witty, found-object art together since 1992.

17_08_21 1 Philadelphia Dumpster Divers IGBWho are these people,  and do they always dress like that?   Well,   actually,  some of them do….  (Photo by I. George Bilyk)

We’ve also led you on photo tours of 15 striking Diver homes and studios…

17_08_21 2 Dumpster Diver Homes CM_DCClick here to visit the secret lairs of artists like (clockwise from top left)  Alden Cole,  Isaiah Zagar,  Susan Moloney,  and Betsy Alexander & Burnell Yow!


This April Fool’s Day marked the Divers’ 25th anniversary and,  to celebrate,  we’re hosting “DUMPSTER DIVERSions”,  an exhibit of the Divers’ found-object art assemblages,  collages,  paintings,  photography and more in our South Philadelphia studio.

17_08_21 3 Dumpster Diver Art 3Definitely the Divers:  Work by Bruce Gast,  Randall Cleaver and Leslie Stuart Matthews.  (Photos courtesy of the artists.)

Opening night is Friday,  October 6 from 6-9 pm,  and our doors will open every Friday and Saturday in October from 6-9 pm at the corner of E. Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street.

We’ll also open 1-5 pm on Saturday,  October 28,  during the annual Passyunk Avenue fall fest,  so be sure to include us in your Halloween plans.


As you may know,  we love marking everything from holidays to elections by placing over-sized portraits of neighbors and friends in our lighted windows.

17_08_21 4 Vote Windows DC_8280A raft of Philadelphia artists,  writers and performers urged you to vote in October,  2016.

So,  starting in late September and running through October,  we’ll light up South Philadelphia’s singing fountain corner with portraits of over two dozen Dumpster Divers,  including this engaging trio of Diver “founding fathers”…

17_08_21 5 Benson Spivak Davidson DCStill crazy after all these years:  Neil Benson,  Joel Spivak and Len Davidson


Can’t visit in person?  Never fear:  In late September,  our “Unexpected Philadelphia” website will feature photos of over 40 current and former Dumpster Divers,  along with images of their fun and inspiring art…

17_08_21 6 Richards Benowitz PrestonComing up on our website:  the ultimate Diver directory, including work by (clockwise from top left) Susan Richards,  Sara Benowitz and Eva Preston.  (Photos courtesy of the artists)

Want to receive automatic updates of our blog posts?   Simply enter your email address and hit the black “Follow” button at right,  near the top of this post.   (And,  no,  we never send or accept advertising or share your email address.  We hate spam,  too.)


This May,  we took an unannounced (even to us) blog break to deal with family responsibilities,  but we’re still here behind the scenes — happily working on our blow-out 25th anniversary celebration.

So please spread the word about our upcoming “DUMPSTER DIVERSions” exhibit,  window display and online art directory,  and we’ll see you then!

17_08_21 7 Mellina & Benson DC_2993Uh,  Dave,  why does this guy keep photobombing me?

Happy rest of summer —

Kate & Dave







Introducing Our New Dumpster Diver House Tour: Meet Leo Sewell

When Philadelphia’s Please Touch Museum moved to Fairmount Park’s Memorial Hall in 2008,  they asked city artist Leo Sewell to build a replica of the Statue of Liberty’s torch and arm,  which had originally been displayed in the park during the 1876 Centennial Exposition.

Leo obliged the children’s museum – with a fun-filled,  40-foot rendition that features everything from toys and skis,  to discarded license plates and road signs.

17_05_04 1 Leo Sewell Liberty Torch LSLeo Sewell’s Lady Liberty tribute took three years to plan and construct.   (Photo courtesy of Leo Sewell.)


Leo’s introduction to the joys of junk came early,  when he explored the dump near his childhood home.   His dad taught him to use tools,  and soon he was shaping and assembling industrial discards into wonderful new objects.

17_05_04 2 Leo Sewell DC_1618Leo constructs a flamingo in his studio.   The bird and its partner now grace the lobby of a Florida business building.

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Ready for a New Dumpster Diver House Tour? Meet Ellen Sall

A major perk of hosting our  Unexpected Philadelphia  website is that we get to run happily amok – with cameras in hand – through the homes and studios of our fellow Philadelphia Dumpster Divers,  that merry band of artists who have played,  exhibited and produced witty,  found-object art together since 1992.

So when “Dumpster Diva” Ellen Sall invited us to photograph her South Jersey home last August,  we had our beach clothes packed before the phone call ended.

17_02_22-1-ellen-sall-dc_6644“You expect us to drive all the way to the Jersey shore?  Can we come today??”


Ellen and her mom,  Bernice Rosenfeld,  began making beaded jewelry together in the early 1980s,  under the name “By Bernel”.  By the mid-1990s,  Ellen had struck out on her own,  making Fimo clay earrings and pendants that incorporated objects like beads and her own watercolor drawings.

17_02_22-2-ellen-sall-dc_6564Ellen and husband Robert Sall in the living room of what she calls their “HOE” house – “Heaven on Earth”.

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Our Lucky 13th Dumpster Diver House Tour: Carol & Elliot Cole

What happens when a longtime potter with a background in teaching and television takes a papermaking class?

If it’s Philadelphia area artist Carol Cole – with a love of multicultural art and a penchant for found objects – the results probably won’t fit in your stationery drawer….

16_09_16-1-carol-cole-dc_6024Carol’s  “Turn of the Century: 500 Familiar Objects from 1999”  is made of paper pulp imbedded with – yes – 500 real objects ranging from a wristwatch to a wrench.   This outdoor version is cast in fiberglass.

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