• Chef Nubbs


Updated: Nov 4, 2020

Cultivating Beauty From Scrap, Finding Inspiration Under The Heap

Holmesburg (on the Tacony edge)

Sustainable Art, Upcycled Life, Imagination At Its Finest, Eco-Heros

O Wow.

Oh Geez,


This extraordinary, this superdeluxe, this weird and wonderful group displays worlds of imagination pulling from acres of ... junk.


"RAIR's mission is to challenge the perception of waste culture by providing a unique platform for artists at the intersection of art and industry. Situated inside a construction and demolition waste recycling company in northeast Philadelphia, RAIR offers artists studio space and access to more than 450 tons of materials per day."

"Collaborating with community groups, art institutions and waste industry partners, RAIR has extended its reach far beyond its resident artists through Projects including recycling facility tours, class presentations, public events and exhibitions that illuminate the connections between art, industry and sustainability. RAIR offers assistance with the material sourcing, planning, design, and fabrication involved in a range of cross-disciplinary projects, and works with collaborators to maximize the creative potential of waste materials."  

The above has just been copy and pasted from their about page.

There is little I will say because every time I try to write this, there is so much that I end up saying. It's inconceivable to keep my thoughts and observations on this enormously important Holmesburg born Not-For-Profit under 10,000 words ... much less the 1,500ish I shoot for.

It is impossible for me to decide on which couple impacts they make to focus on.

Do I discuss one of the many urban revitalization efforts they aid and / or organize?

Here, I'll let the Passyunk Post do that: Trash Academy Celebrates Installation of Street Furniture from Recycled Materials

Perhaps I could discuss one of the many ways they stay socially relevant, provoking discourse and consideration on important civic issues.

Or I could let Streets Department (StreetsDept.Com) do that in their article: Fishtowns New (Temporary) Monument...

Oh look! Bloomberg.Com wrote one too entitled: What I learned in the Monument Wars.


I'll focus on how dynamically they approach eco-sustainability. Maybe I can showcase a couple of the many ways they are both helping to repair past environmental damage as well as also pioneering ingenious partnership and methods of decontaminating for future generations to take inspiration from.

Oh ... wait, The Philadelphia Inquire already has with their article:

Would You Buy a Poisoned Superfund Site?

Annnd here's another article from Art21.Com entitled:

Recycled Brilliance: Philadelphia's RAIR.

It's hard to believe so much treasure has ever been found in so much trash. That so much possibility, community, eccentricity, unity can come about in a city via it's refuse is unthinkable ...lest that city be Filthadelphia.

In Philly though it is believable because it is here, right here that hundreds of years ago a bunch of battered, beaten and beleaguered individuals banned together as a statement to the world that a new way for society is being forged. And by trash or treasure, battle or peace, against monster of self and enemies of state UNITY would be tantamount to any acceptable tomorrow.

Don't get me wrong, RAIR exhibits neither patriotism or anarchy, that is not what they are about. But they do embody the Philadelphia spirit which, in all of it's quirky ways, has persisted through the centuries, permeating every nook and neighborhood of this city, even the ones people are quick to throw away.

Hundreds of artists, tens of thousands of audience members become students and spectators together through Philly RAIR. I don't think any article can accurately convey the experience of exploring RAIR, and if one could it would be robbing you of an experience very much worth your time.

In essense RAIR is what it's name is, Recycled Artist In Residency. An opportunity for Artists to further themselves with access to unthinkable troves of materials at little or no cost.

In essense, the US is what it's name is, United States. An opportunity for people who fundamentally disagree to unite not in ideology or goal, but in self preservation and with mutual dignity.

While I do not mean to keep bringing America into what RAIR is and is doing, I see such parallels in the magnitude of potential which lays beneath the unassuming and disregarded.

RAIR is awesome, don't get me wrong they are just so much fun to even glimpse. But they are serious too. They are dedicated and strong. RAIR defies social structure that is proven to work in order to find ways to work with what is thought to be broken. I can't quite put my finger on it but there is something about the effort of RAIR that harkens me back to Hemingway's unsatisfiable hunger for the human experience.

Now I have wasted too much of your time. Below are pics and links and a flyer for their current fundraiser. You have come this far, I urge you to at least click their site and if you are out of time, bookmark it.

RAIR is not indispensable. They can be forgotten and lost as much as anything else. But that does not mean we do not need them. And even if you can't support with your time or money, entities like RAIR are supported with audience. The more you let them delight you, the more you tell others of your delight I promise, the more RAIR will grow.



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