Philly Dumpster Divers recycle trash into masterful artwork

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "Back in 1992, a bunch of us who made art out of found objects or trash, or whatever you want to call it, decided that we would meet, have lunch, and throw out ideas," said Joel Spivak.

Spivak was one of the first members of what was then called the "Dumpster Diners." Over time, it became a no-experience-needed haven for anyone interested in turning trash into treasure. Now, the "Philadelphia Dumpster Divers" have been going strong for 30 years.

Whether it be with bottles, broomsticks, books, or baby dolls, each unique artist puts a recycled spin on otherwise defunct materials.

"It's the whole idea of keeping it in circulation rather than it winding up in the landfill," said member Alden Cole. "There's too much of that heading there already."

Other members like Betsy Alexander hope that each piece contributes to a greater sentiment that the public should consider.

"Maybe we want to return to a time where we were more frugal, where we appreciated materials more," she said. "Where we were more respectful of the environment."

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

"Divers have been around for 30 years, so I had a lot of work to choose from," said Dupree. "This is my give-back to the art community of Philadelphia."

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

Interested guests should be aware that the intersection of South 6th and Bainbridge Streets is currently blocked for maintenance. The gallery can only be reached from the intersection of South 6th and Fitzwater Streets.

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