Monday, April 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Dumpster Diver award winners announced

The announcement of the nominations for the 81st annual Academy Awards garnered a lot of attention, as usual. By contrast, there has been, to date, little press coverage of Philly's Dumpster Divers' 14th annual Formal Awards Banquet, which was held earlier this month at Ten Stone on South Street.

Dumpster Diver award winners announced

Neon artist Len Davidson looks on as Neil Benson, blocking the face of Leo Sewell, displays one of many lighthouse-themed awards given out at the 2009 Formal Awards Banquet of the Dumpster Divers.
Neon artist Len Davidson looks on as Neil Benson, blocking the face of Leo Sewell, displays one of many lighthouse-themed awards given out at the 2009 Formal Awards Banquet of the Dumpster Divers.

The announcement of the nominations for the 81st annual Academy Awards garnered a lot of attention, as usual. By contrast, there has been, to date, little press coverage of Philly's Dumpster Divers' 14th annual Formal Awards Banquet, which was held earlier this month at Ten Stone on South Street.

Besides the obvious difference - internationally renowned Hollywood movies vs. local trashpicking assemblage artists - there are some other distinctions between the two events. The most notable is that there is no nominating process, and not even the categories are announced before the event itself. In fact, each award category is only mentioned on the spot, as one Diver bestows an award on another.

The awards themselves, though, are real, even if they're not all gold-plated statuettes. The only sure thing is the Golden Pick (previously, but not this year, given out in the form of a gold-spray-painted pickaxe) for the best find among all the stuff picked up by Divers in the course of the past year.

The convention is that each award given out has to have been found in the trash, though some Divers combine items or decorate them with non-trash materials to make them more festive. This year, as always, the winner of the "Lighthouse Keeper" Award was John Jonik, who had the misfortune years ago to make a crack about the ambiguity of that phrase and now each year must take home multiple awards in the form of trashpicked lighthouses, nearly all of which are bestowed by founding Diver Neil Benson. This year Jonik graciously accepted around a dozen lighthouse-themed awards, some of which he may, as is custom, re-award next year under some other category.

Meanwhile, the Divers are not resting on their trashpicked laurels but getting their art out there in several 2009 shows. Going on now (through the end of Feburary) is State of the Garden: Art of the Dumpster Divers at the Hammonton Gallery of the Noyes Museum of Art in New Jersey. The blurb for the show explains the title with "the Garden State...the State of the Garden...the State of the Planet" and says

Influenced by South Jersey’s and in particular Hammonton’s farming history, some of the works are titled:  “Garden House for the State Bird: The Goldfinch Nests on a Branch with a Fork” by Ann Keech; Sally Willowbee’s Bee Fountain: “Water is the Blue Soul of the Planet”; and  Harry Anderson’s “Cultivator”. 

If you can't get out to Oceanville for this one, there will be more Dumpster Divers shows coming up, and we'll keep you posted right here at Earth to Philly in a future Dumpster Divers Dispatch.

Earth to Philly
About this blog
Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to energy@phillynews.com.


Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.


Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.


Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.


Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.


Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...


Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.


Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.


Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.


In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man





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