About the Dumpster Divers

The Philadelphia Dumpster Divers are a group of Artists, Collectors and others that are passionate about keeping things out of the trash stream.

A selection of Dumpster Diver Videos

2011 to 2022

Other Shows

Exhibitions solo or group shown in or curated by individual members of the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers


Workshops given by dumpster Divers

Diver Doings

Other doings of the members of the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers


Photograph of Dumpster Diver Co-Founder Neil BensonPhilly Dumpster Divers founding member, Neil Benson passed away the morning of January 18, 2023. We share this message from his sisters.

It is with great sadness and broken hearts that we’re letting you know that our dear “little” brother Neil, 69, left Broad St., Mole St., Wiota St. and this planet, early this morning, January 18. Photographer (Jagger, Springfield, Ormandy, Rizzo, MOVE bombing, Miss America, Nixon, Three Mile Island, etc); Artist (lamps, awards, license plate furniture, typewriter key jewelry, tin can frames); co-founder of the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers (he had perfect attendance at every monthly meeting for 32 years!); educator and mentor; community activist, son of Frances and Jacob; storyteller; beloved cousin; friend; collector (1939 World’s Fair, Hawaiian shirts, meteorites, cartoon glasses, Coca Cola memorabilia, Neon signs, Metal lunchboxes, globes, medals, political buttons, etc etc). One of his favorite items of clothing was our Dad’s Eagle Scout sash with all the patches. Neil’s favorite meals would get minus Michelin stars. His big loves were Chubby’s cheesesteaks (preferably consumed on the way to or from Thrift store excursions), Primo’s hoagies, burgers and fries. That seems to cover the 4 food groups, right?

He aggravated his sisters and drove his parents crazy. He was loud, argumentative, stubborn, and interrupted constantly. He trash picked some of his early Volkswagen Beatles—one of them only had the door stay on if the button was pushed down. There was nothing he loved more than being in the center of an audience and regaling them with stories and jokes, or making funny little gifts for people. He was generous with his time and even with his limited money. Neil had the biggest heart, and though he sometimes suffered from depression, he mostly lived his life full up and joyously, delighting in everyday things and the company of neighbors, family, Divers, doctors, nurses, friends, grocery store clerks, and the mailman. With a hearty laugh, a twinkle in his eye, a sly smile and a funny story, —he charmed them all.

We are so grateful to have had Neil as our brother and will miss him forever. He was difficult to live with and impossible to live without.

Neil willed his body to medical science. We’re sure he will somehow be commenting on whatever teaching discussions they have! No funeral but memorial service at future date.

Love, Ellen and Sally

Photo from David Christopher / Unexpected Philadelphia.


Randall L. Dalton, 1949 – 2016 #DoBlue

Randy Dalton, flanked by fellow Divers Len Davidson & Diane Keller, from our 2016 group photo courtesy of Diver George BilykWe regret to announce that beloved Dumpster Divers member, Randy Dalton passed away on February 5th, following a stroke.

He was a tireless champion of Philly artists, actively encouraging them to work together to Do Blue, rather than be blue about the obstacles and limitations they encountered.

Randy best exemplified this enthusiasm as an Artist in Residence at the Philadelphia Community Education Center. Here he created the Blue Grotto, a constantly morphing installation of blue lights and objects, many of which were displayed throughout the region, that showcased his mission to both be creative and inspire creativity in others.

As a fitting tribute, the Blue Grotto will remain open and continue to be a source of creative inspiration, thanks to the support of the CEC.

Randy Dalton, flanked by fellow Divers Len Davidson & Diane Keller, from our 2016 group photo courtesy of Diver George Bilyk

Here are the obituaries from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly.com and University City Review.

Randy & Dumpster Diver George Felice had countless discussions about The Fleetwood’sMr. Blue,” so George began working on a compilation CD, dedicated to Randy, of DooWop songs with “Blue” in the title. He managed to gather the songs but wasn’t able to give the collection to Randy before he passed.

George found versions of the songs on YouTube and we would like to share them with you, as a way to remember, honor and mourn our blue friend.”

The Fleetwoods: Mr Blue

Lee Andrews & The Hearts:
Bluebird of Happiness
The Shirelles:
Blue Holiday
The Echoes:
Baby Blue
The Blue Notes:
Blue Star
The Elegants:
Little Boy Blue (Is Blue No More)
The Jades:
So Blue
The Solitaires:
Blue Valentine
The Strangers:
Blue Flowers
The Pretenders:
Blue & Lonely
Three Vales:
Blue Lights Down Low
Bobby Lester & The Moonglows:
Blue Velvet
Eddie Saxon with The Paramounts:
Blues No More
The Marcels:
Blue Moon
The SchoolBoys:
Ding a Ling Coo Coo Mop

Randy Dalton, with a mini version of his Blue Grotto installation, at Destination Frankfort (2014) Photo courtesy of fellow Diver, Dave Christopher

On Sunday, April 1 through Saturday, April 7, 2012, the Dumpster Divers observed the 20th Anniversary of the founding of this pioneering group.


20th Anniversary Tribute Mayor Nutter officially recognized the 20th Anniversary of the founding of the Dumpster Divers with this Tribute

Mayor Nutter officially recognized the event with a Tribute: