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!

YOU  ARE  INVITED….

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.

AND,  YES – THERE  WILL  BE  WINDOW  PHOTOS

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

AND,  YES,  THERE’S  MORE….

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.)

SEE  YOU  IN  SEPTEMBER  (&  OCTOBER!)

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.)

PLAYING  IN  THE  (JUNK)  YARD

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??”

BEADED  BEGINNINGS

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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Ready to Reboot Your Creative Life? Check out ACN!

When we moved to South Philly in 2011,  we were lucky to stumble across two groups that provided us with both art inspiration and a wonderful circle of friends.

The first,  as you’ve probably guessed,  was the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers,  that inspired group of found-object artists whose homes and studios we profile on our Unexpected Philadelphia website.   (And,  yes,  there are more Diver home tours coming,  including — when we finally get around to it — our own.)

17_02_15-1-tracy-takes-another-chance“Tracy Takes Another Chance on Love” –  Kate’s found-object commentary on the pre-Dave dating scene.  Hmm — Should I take the “not quite divorced” guy for 50 points,  my cousin’s ex-fiance for a family-wrecking 30 points,  or “Mr. 93%-Right” for 100 points?

Philadelphia mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar introduced us to the free-spirited Dumpster Divers,  but his sister — dancer and choreographer Sheila Zagar — introduced Kate to its complementary and indispensable opposite:  the Artist Conference Network.

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The Great Photo Album Adventure (Part 13): Who Are We?

If you’ve followed the story on our blog,  you know that a friend gave us a fabulous housewarming gift:  a 12-pound photo album from the 1960s,  packed with images from nightspots in and around South Philadelphia.

You also know that we’ve been on a grand hunt to identify the hundreds of entertainers,  sports figures,  business people,  politicians and  “just plain folks” cavorting on its pages, with the goal of donating them to Temple University’s Urban Archives for safe-keeping.

WHO  ARE  THEY?

The photos were collected by South Philadelphia newspaper columnist Arthur Tavani, and many are already on our website,  along with whatever identifications we have.  

In September,  2015,  we added our  first section of “Who Are We?” photos,  asking for help in identifying the many unknown women in them.   Today,  we published 27 new photos on our website,  all showing at least one person we can’t identify.

Some photos include famous Philadelphians….

17_02_02-1-197-waw2-al-martinoYes,  that’s South Philadelphia singer Al Martino second from right,  with columnist Art Tavani (far left) and Philadelphia council president Paul D’Ortona (far right).   But who’s the man with the flower in his lapel?

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The Women’s March on Philadelphia…and the World

2016 was definitely not our favorite year.

We cleaned out and sold Kate’s parents’ home.   We learned more than we ever cared to about hospitals,  insurance,  Medicaid applications and nursing homes.

AND  THEN  THERE  WAS….

….that endless election campaign.   Not even the fun of our non-partisan “Flip the Script” photo project could wipe out the divisiveness of a candidate who relentlessly belittled women,  minorities,  the disabled,  the armed forces,  immigrants,  prisoners of war,  our allies,  the press – seemingly basic human kindness itself.

16_10_02-2-kate-newspapers-dc_8245

Dave, are you SURE we don’t have another comics section…..?

And by the time it all ended – amid reams of vicious fake news and a winner who lost by almost 3 million votes – we needed an extra-long holiday break.

BACK TO THE 1960s

So when we heard about the January 21 Women’s March on Washington – which rapidly morphed into almost 700 sister marches across all 50 states and every continent on earth – we quickly decided we were in – even if Kate  (perhaps fortunately)  had never learned to knit.

17_01_23-10-womens-march-dc_6845No badly knitted-by-her pink hat,  but Kate tries on a sign.

MARCHING  IN  THE  STREETS

So here’s our look at Saturday’s march on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway:   The sky was foggy,  but the vibe  (and,  happily,  the temperature)  was warm and upbeat,  and just what the doctor ordered….

17_01_23-20-womens-march-dc_6876On the march:  Part of the Philly crowd preparing to head from Logan Square to Eakins Oval.

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Happy Holidays….We’ll See You Soon!

Merry Christmas,  Hanukkah,  Kwanzaa,  and/or New Year’s to all — and welcome to everyone who recently subscribed to our blog.

SO,  HEY – WHERE  DID  WE  GO?

16_12_24-1-holiday-break-3-cm_6636

After batting out a record number of blog posts and photos during our pre-election window campaign,  we decided to take a holiday break to drag out the old Christmas tree,  whip up a spectacular Christmas feast (okay,  so we actually ordered it pre-cooked from Wegman’s – we know our limits!),  and play in our art studio.

DON’T  MISS THOSE  HOLIDAY  LIGHTS

We’ll be back in late January,  but don’t miss South Philadelphia’s great holiday light shows if you haven’t toured them already — next week’s weather will be perfect for strolling…

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