With a little less than a week to go in their Kickstarter campaign, RAIR (Recycled Artist in Residency) is nearing its $15,000 goal. But the program, which has been providing artists access to materials at Revolution Recovery, a construction waste recycling center in the northeast, still needs your help!
RAIR was started in early 2010 when artist/musician Billy Dufala was on a hunt for skyscraper glass and discovered Revolution Recovery. At the same time, Fern Gookin—now Revolution Recovery’s director of sustainability—was working on her master’s in sustainable design at Philadelphia University and wanted to establish an artist-in-residency program for her thesis project. When Dufala and Gookin crossed paths with Revolution Recovery’s co-owner Avi Golen, the project was born.
“This is one way of inviting the creative process into an industry to create awareness of sustainability issues through art and design,” says Dufala. “You never know what artist is going to come in here and have a brilliant idea because they’re immersed in this environment that they’ve never been in before.”
During its pilot period, nine artists have come through the RAIR program, the first of those being Billy and brother Steven Dufala, both multi-media artists and members of the band Man Man. Their projects have included a huge Rudolph the Reindeer head mounted on a crane and a 21-foot-long dumpster retooled to resemble a coffin. Originally, the Dufalas were working in a designated corner of the enormous facility. They’ve since expanded into a 1,000-square-foot studio featuring “mostly functional” wood and metal shops.
With the Kickstarter campaign, Dufala and Gookin are hoping to add and upgrade tools and facilities. They’re aiming to grow the program and invite more artists to benefit from the wealth of available materials, while using their works to educate the public about the waste stream.
“You apply the creative process to something that’s never seen the creative process applied to it,” Dufala says, “and who the hell knows what you’re going to come up with?”
– Shaun Brady