The Radical Empathy of Anthony Benezet
May 9, 2024 from 5:30 to 7:00 P.M.
Arch Street Meeting House
320 Arch St
Philadelphia, 19106

Vance Lehmkuhl shares how this devoted Quaker connected his outsized compassion with a clear-eyed strategy to change the world.
More information

Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race
Saturday May 4 (rain or shine!)

The Philadelphia Dumpster Divers will again be represented by Vance and Skyler, with the one-person vehicle "I in the Pyramid." Be sure to check it out and to say hi if you show up!
More information

We congratulate Taji Ra’oof Nahl on being named a 2024 Guggenheim Fellow in the Fine Arts Field

Read more at the Philadelphia Avant-Garde Studies Consortium site.

Celebrating the First Subway in the World

Society for Industrial Archeology
Oliver Evans Chapter
The First Subway in the World (London, England)
An illustrated presentation by Joel Spivak
DATE: Wednesday, March 13, 2024 TIME: 6PM

Oliver Evans Chapter President Joel Spivak created and delivered a power-point to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first subway in the world (London Underground) January 9, 2013.

He has updated the talk which covers some of the celebration and shows images of the first subway's constructon, followed by images of other subways in the world, including Philadelphia.

LOCATION: Parkway Central Library of Philadelphia, PA 19103
(Or attend via Zoom)
Helm Center Room 131/132
Entrance at back of Library off Wood St.
There is usually meter parking around the Library at this time.
Parking Lot is located on Callowhill St. between 19th & 20th Sts.

COST: No Charge

LINK for Virtual talk Facebook Page

QUESTIONS: Call Reese Davis at 610-692-4456 or e-mail.

An Offering - TR7 Takeover #4 - Gtownradio.com - March 7, 2024

Listen Here

Fire Museum Presents
The Other Sounds Of Philadelphia Duo

Invitation for G. Calvin Weston and TR7 live at Pageant Soloveev Gallery

G. Calvin Weston and TR7 Live at Pageant Soloveev Gallery
607 Bainbridge St. Philly
March 6th 2024
Door 8pm Music 9pm
$10- 20 sliding scale
See the performance on YouTube.

March 5, 2024 is Gretchen Altabef's new novel "Sherlock Holmes: Five Miles of Country"
release date

cover of Gretchen Altabef’s  novel Five Miles of Country“Five stars for Gretchen Altabef’s Sherlock Holmes: Five Miles of Country! The novel is likely to draw those who like innovation and a twist on the normally male-dominated buddy stories. Even those well-read in the genre cannot claim a complete knowledge until they’ve read this tale. The author’s handling of the real history that surrounds the murder of the vaudevillian is impressive. The mystery is solid, and its murder resolution is clever. A must read!” -Reedsy Review.

Five Miles of Country will be available on Amazon

November 16, 2023
Taji Nahl, Sound Piece

October 21 and Sunday October 22, 2023 from 12-6pm

Carol Cole will have her studio open on October 21 and Sunday October 22 from 12-6pm as part of the Philadelphia Open Studio Tour (POST). Stop by 20 Herman Street 19144 to view her new work.

Studio view of dumpster diver Carol Coles work

October 8, 2023

Card for Taji Nahl event

Feburary 4, 2023

Dumpster Diver Taji Ra’oof Nahl will perform on Feburay 4th


Dumpster Diver Gretchen Altabef is awarded The Arthur Conan Doyle Society's 2022 Fiction Honors

MX Sherlock Holmes Novels:
These Scattered Houses
Remarkable Power of Stimulus
The Keys of Death

Sherlock Holmes, La Casa Del Male, published in Italy by The Mondadori Group.
"Sir Arthur and The Time Machine," published by Belanger Books.
"In The Land Of The Living," published by Mystery Magazine.
“Black Peter’s Misplaced Mariners,” published in Steel True Blade Straight.

Visit Gretchen's Amazon page.

Dumpster Diver John Jonik, a nationally recognized cartoonist based in Philadelphia PA publishes Schizonyms: Words with Dual Personalities

“Once I noticed that some words became another word when the first letter was removed; it was automatic for me to draw or illustrate the distinction.”
— John Jonik

Cover of Schizonyms: Words with Dual Personalities Dumpster Diver John Jonik, a nationally recognized cartoonist based here in Philadelphia PA

Available at Amazon.


Leo Sewell CraftNOW Studio Tour on Nov. 10, 2019

Posted on June 16, 2019 by Common Consensus

Photograph of Celebrated Philadelphia Dumpster Diver Leo Sewell and his art work

Celebrated Philadelphia Dumpster Diver Leo Sewell has made figurative sculptures from the city’s discards for over 40 years, fashioning pieces ranging from a life-size house cat to the Please Touch Museum’s beloved 40-foot Statue of Liberty arm and torch.

Leo’s introduction to the joys of junk came early, when he explored a dump near his childhood home. By the late 1980s, he was living every artist’s dream: Supporting himself full-time with his art, and turning out witty interpretations of everything from people and animals, to grandfather clocks and sideboards.

His work now resides in museum, corporate, and individual collections around the world.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to visit Leo’s envy-inducing studio, an 1870s former carriage house in Philadelphia’s Powelton Village section, no advance registration is required.

The Leo Sewell studio tour is one of almost two dozen events organized by CraftNOW Philadelphia and hosted by area museums, galleries and fine craft organizations. Celebrating the city’s innovative craft culture, the November events coincide with the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s storied craft show. Visit the CraftNOW Philadelphia website to learn more.


Dumpster Diver Taji Nahl featured in 3rd year version of WE Culture Photo

Check out Taji Nahl, front and center in WE Culture, Charles “Uncool Chuck” Lloyd’s homage to the iconic Harlem Renaissance photo of jazz musicians taken by Art Kane, which features Philadelphia artists of different media.


Dumpster Diver Alden Cole‘Unexpected’ Diver Homes featured on the Unexpected Philadelphia website

Posted on June 23, 2015 by Common Consensus

Diver Alden Cole at home,
courtesy Unexpected Philadelphia

When it comes to fun and creative reuse, the Dumpster Divers apply the same wildly imaginative eye to their homes that they do to their art.

On Unexpected Philadelphia, a new website and blog, Diver couple Dave Christopher and Kate Mellina lead you on a truly ‘unexpected’ tour of fabulous Diver homes. And, yes, it’s enough to send you rifling through your own stash for inspiration.

Kate and Dave will be adding more great Diver homes in the coming months, along with exclusive interviews with their owners. They’ll also share photos and stories about the unique people and places they’ve encountered on the streets of South Philadelphia – all with a Diver’s eye for fun.

We encourage you to check them out at unexpectedphila.com!

invitation to the 2015 Woodmere rt museum annualThe 2015 Woodmere Art Museum Annual Exhibit announcement featured a work, “Dogs!” by Dumpster Diver, Jim Ulrich.

Photograph of a poem by Richard BankAlchemy by Richard Bank

Posted on March 12, 2015 by Common Consensus

License plates wait humbly for transfiguration in the vice. Doll limbs, salvaged glass, broken chairs prepare to speak.

Speak then and now; art, beauty, meaning. Art speaks truth from flea market rejects, trash day finds and disguarded junk.

Bottle caps and broken china speak of ancient selves, their iconic memories revealed by the artist’s hand.

Rusted tools, crushed cans, magazine covers prepare to speak. The new self, the diver voice recites the message.

It speaks both then and now through the detritus of history. It speaks now for then. The alchemy of Dumpster Diver art.


Classic neon signs from the collection of Len Davidson are on display in the Center for Architecture gallery and AIA Bookstore

Neon sign advertising Pittsburg Paints from the collection of Len Davidson on desplay at the Philadelphia Neon museumFree Neon Slide Show Talks by Dumpster Diver Len Davidson

FREE talks will be given by neon expert Len Davidson, author of Vintage Neon (Schiffer Press, 1999).

Davidson collects and restores classic neon signs, and about 10 of his 100 piece collection are on display in the Center for Architecture gallery and AIA Bookstore. Since 1979 he has also operated a neon design business in Philadelphia.

Len’s interest in neon was planted by growing up in Philadelphia in the ’50s, while gazing in childhood wonder at such iconic signs as the Levis Hot Dog, Sun Ray Drugs’ animated mortar and pestle, and the Boot and Saddle. His interest bloomed in the mid-’70s when he started a bar/restaurant with a neon ceiling while teaching sociology at University of Florida in Gainesville.

The talks combine insider insights on neon signs, technology, and history with stunning images of classic neon pieces. All talks are held in the  Center for Architecture’s gallery/auditorium, and run from 6:00 to 7:30 PM.

85 Years of Neon Signs: Walking Tours with Dumpster Diver Len Davidson

Highlights include a mint condition 1936 neon on porcelain-enamel Pittsburgh Paints sign at the Center, animated signs, neon inside and outside the Reading Terminal Market, signs of Chinatown, and the revolving Hard Rock Cafe sign.

Glowing in the Dark, Film & Talk with Dumpster Diver Len Davidson

Arguably the best film on neon ever produced, and little seen in the US, Glowing in the Dark [watch the trailer on YouTube] captures the energy and vitality of neon.

Neon was first patented in 1923 by Georges Claude, a Parisian who sold over 9 million dollars in territorial licenses in the following six years. The glow of neon lights had swept across North America by the 1950’s.

Set against a backdrop of spectacular footage of Vancouver, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, Glowing in the Dark is an illuminating exploration into the vibrant history and contemporary use of neon.

The movement, power, and raw exuberance of neon is revealed through a fascinating demonstration of how neon is made, a montage of notable neon installations, and commentary from a colorful array of enthusiasts including:

  • John Atkin, a heritage advocate, graphic designer, and leading expert on the history of neon in Vancouver. In 1986, Atkin’s enthusiasm for neon led him to graph the entire city of Vancouver, pinpointing the location of each neon sign.
  • Alan Hess, an architect, critic, and author of Viva Las Vegas, who leads viewers on a tour of a graveyard for neon signs.
  • Lili Lakich, a neon sculptor, instructor, and founder of the Neon Museum of Art in Las Angeles. She has created some stunning neon pieces and restored some of the great signs of L.A.’s yesteryear.
  • Bill Warren, an entrepreneur who was responsible for erecting some of Vancouver’s biggest, brightest and most controversial signs. His most contentious neon creation was a 40-foot-high woman clothed in a bikini.
  • Members of the band 54-40 talk about how they saved and restored Vancouver’s Smiling Buddha Cabaret sign.

The 45 minute film will start at 7 pm followed by a discussion led by neon historian, author, and preservationist, Len Davidson.

Photograph of Dumpster Diver Joel SpivacJoel Spivak lecture at The Little Shul, in Philadelphia

Posted on March 30, 2014 by Common Consensus

Ceremonial Relics
April 6th, 2014. Noon – 3 PM

Congregation Shivtei Yeshuron Ezras Israel
2015 South. 4th St
Philaladelphia, PA 19148

Interview with Burnell Yow! at Spattergasm.com

Posted on March 22, 2014 by Common Consensus
Burnell Yow!There was a great interview (no longer available, unfortunately) by photographer Justice Howard, of Dumpster Diver Burnell Yow! over at Spattergasm.com.

FiberNext at Delaware Art Museum

Posted on March 19, 2014 by Common Consensus

Visit my blog for more articles like this: http://www.susanrichardsartist.blogspot.com/

This startling sculpture radiates a powerful presence.  I was immediately drawn to it as soon as we entered the Contemporary gallery at the Delaware Art Museum last Thursday.  Then I read the wall plaque about it.  It is called Cauda Equina, by Keith Bently (b. 1973).  “The artist drew on Victorian funeral rites to create a memorial to the thousands of horses killed each year in rendering plants.  Made over a 12-year period, the sculpture incorporates approximately 1.4 million strands of hand-knotted horsehair collected from more than 250 slaughtered horses that function as a mourning veil.”

I later looked at his website and saw that he has done other work using horse hair, this one using a tire as well:

The irony is that my friend and I were there to see FiberNext, an outstanding exhibition at the Delaware Art Museum, co-curated by Carol Cole, one of our Dumpster Diver Divas.  Cole’s work is also in the exhibit, as well as work by Ellen Sall, another Dumpster Diver Diva, along with ten other regional fiber artists.  Photography was not allowed in the FiberNext gallery, but Ellen Sall’s compelling piece is on the museum’s website:

It is called Where is normal anyway?  and includes vintage fabric scraps, embroidery floss, gel pens, plastic veggie bags, and seed beads.  (2012, 13 x 13 1/2 inches).  Seen in person, it glows like a jewel, and draws the eye into its myriad details until one has entered an alternate world. 

Seeing FiberNext sensitized me to the tremendous range of what can be considered fiber-based materials.  As the exhibit’s write-up says, “Fiber art typically refers to works of art that incorporate fabric or yarn and favors aesthetic value over utility. Broadening the boundaries of this medium, the artists featured in FiberNext have branched out to incorporate an eclectic array of materials and techniques, including metal, digital embroidery, plastic, paper, clay, photography, wood, and recycled materials. Their works encompass a range of color, texture, and materials, and concepts such as community, gender, and upcycling.”

In the next gallery, seeing a sculpture made from 1.4 million hand-knotted  strands of horsehair, I thought “what an unusual form of fiber art!”  One of the unexpected residual benefits of having seen FiberNext is greater awareness of the many fibers all around us in our everyday lives, not to be taken for granted.
It was also fun to be at this museum for the first time.  I’ve lived in the Philadelphia area three years now, and this was my first visit to The Delaware Art Museum.  A permanent installation of Dale Chihuly’s glass flowers covers the two story glass wall entrance. It casts different light depending on the time of day and the season, a moving play of light.  You can see the sculpture garden through the windows.  There is a labyrinth on the grounds as well.  At the Autumn Equinox they have a labyrinth walk at dusk with luminarias lighting the way.  I’m tempted to go…

Sally Willowbee at the Big Blue Marble Bookstore

Posted on March 15, 2014 by Common Consensus

Join Dumpster Diver and Outsider Artist Sally Willowbee at the Big Blue Marble Bookstore as she shares her travels seeking out found artists on the back roads of New Jersey and her own passion for work with recycled materials.

Sally is a self-taught furniture/cabinet/carpenter maker. She writes and designs books, many about artists who work with recycled materials and grassroots art environments. Her own story connects different parts of her life: politics, spirituality, concern for the environment, feminism, an interest in culture and class, creativity, and humor.

My Life as a Trashy Woman & the Art of Finding Artists
with Sally Willowbee

3:00 pm on Saturday, March 22
551 Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19119


Twenty Years of Making Art From Cast Off Materials in Philadelphia Lecture at PAA

November 3, 2011

Philadelphia Art Alliance
251 South 18th Sreet, Philadelphia PA

PAA welcomes artist Joel Spivak and colleagues from the Philadelphia Dumpster Divers.

In keeping with the themes of PAA’s fall exhibition The Miss Rockaway Armada, members of the Dumpster Divers will talk about their nearly twenty year history making art from cast off materials in Philadelphia.


Eva Preston ` Philly Fashion Week 2011

Eva Preston~Fashion Week After Show

Posted on December 15, 2013 by Common Consensus

Eva Preston ` Philly Fashion Week 2011

Eva Preston/Aanya318~Fashion Week Handbags

Aanya318 Handbags

Eva Preston/Aanya318~Fashion Week

One of a Kind !!!
These boots are made for Fashion!

Eva Preston/Altered Couture Magazine~Men Shoes

Posted on December 15, 2013 by Common Consensus

Eva Preston in Alteref Couture Magizine Mens Classic cowboy shoes

Eva Preston/Haute Magazine~Gene Autry

Eva Preston in Alteref Couture Magizine Mens Classic cowboy shoes

Eva Preston~Haute Handbag Magazine

Haute Handbag Magazine

Eva Preston/Aanya318~Pam Grier

Recycled Handbag made of Pam Grier’s Movie Prints ads

Eva Preston/Aanya318 Hangbags~Invasion

one of a kind handbags The Invasion of “Frida Kahio “ One of a Kind Handbag Aanya318 Handbags

Eva Preston/Aanya318 Handbag~Comics

Betty and Veronica Handbag

Eva Preston/Aanya318~Cases & Comics

Classic travel case 50’s Classic Comic Books

Eva Preston/Aanya318~Motion Pictures Case

Made from Classic Movie Magazines from 1918

handbag,reclyced ,vintage,1950's ,paper,fabric,Aanya318,Eva Preston,mixed,Fashion week

Aanya318 Handbags Model Mariel Leon

Eva Preston/Aanya318~Vest and Travel Case

Album Cover~Traveling Case 50’s and a “Jimi Hendrix ” Vest

Eva Preston/A’Vance318mens~Jacket

Jimi and the Rolling Stones 1977 Back of Jacket ….Philly Fashion Week

Eva Preston/A’Vance318mens~Classic Shoes

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Men Silk Shoes

Eva Preston/A’Vance318men’s~Wedding Shoes

Mens ,shoes, african frabric,A'Vancemens,318,,eva preston

Wedding Shoes

Eva Preston/A’vance318mens~James Brown

reclyced , case,vintage,1950's ,,paper,Album cover

James Brown case

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Say it Load!


Special Appearance of the Dumpster Divers at The Fringe
September 9, 2010

Posted on September 9, 2010 by Common Consensus

The Performance Garage
1515 Brandywine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130

A red carpet happening and fashion show before The Dirty Dozen performance, Friday September 9th at 7 pm


FOUND OBJECT ART 2, author Tina Skinner is published The book cover of Found Object Art 2

copyright 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7643-3162-6

Dumpster Divers Harry Anderson, Ellen Benson, Neil Benson, Randall Cleaver, Carol Cole, Linda Lou Horn, Ann Keech, John Lindsay, Ellen Sall and Leo Sewell all had their work incluuded in this book.

Neil Benson was invited to share his thoughts in the books interduction. He wrote about the early days of the Dumpster Diver.

Harry Anderson pg.s 11 -13
Ellen Benson pg.s 27 - 29
Neil Benson pg.s 30 -32
Randall Cleaver pg.s 51 -52
Carol Cole pg.s 56 -57
Linda Lou Horn pg.s 100 - 103
Ann Keech pg.s 110 - 112
John Lindsay pg.s 135 -137
Ellen Sall pg.s 188 - 190
Leo Sewell pg.s 196 -198


Book cover of Found Object Art Dumpster Divers Harry Anderson, Neil Benson & Leo Sewell's work was included in FOUND OBJECT ART
Author, Dorothy Spencer

copyright 2002
ISBN: 0-7643-1437-B
Spencer was also the curator of RECYCLE, REUSE, RECREATE which traveled in eight African countries under the auspices of the U.S.I.A. in 1995 & 96 and included the work of Anderson.

Harry Anderson pg.s 22 - 24
Neil Benson pg.s 38 - 40
Leo Sewell pg.s 199 - 201


Cover of dumpster diver and Neon designer Len Davidsons 1999 book Vintage Neon Len Davidson's book VINTAGE NEON is published

copyright 1999
ISBN: 0-7643-0857-2

Dumpster Diver co-founder and neon designer Lenny Davidson included over 350 images of vintage neon signs!