RAIR's (Recycled Artist in Residency) mission is to create awareness about sustainability issues through art and design. We are located in Northeast Philadelphia within Revolution Recovery, a 3.5 acres construction, demolition and manufacturing waste recycling facility in Philadelphia that processes over 250 tons of materials per day. Our unique position as a bridge between art, sustainability and industry allows the reach and potential impact of RAIR to be great. As such, we have strategically chosen to focus our efforts on four program areas: residency program, education and awareness, material sourcing, and exhibitions.
RAIR formed when three individuals from different backgrounds realized they were passionate about the same thing: the value of waste. Avi Golen, co-owner of Revolution Recovery and an expert in the recycling industry, had been fielding request from artists since the founding of his company in 2004. Billy Blaise Dufala, a Philadelphia-based artist and co-teacher of a found materials course at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, had been looking for access to a material stream for his work. Fern Gookin, project manager at Revolution Recovery and Board of Directors member of the Delaware Valley Green Building Council, had decided to focus her graduate thesis work on the role art can play in creating awareness about sustainability issues. With three different perspectives and a shared goal, RAIR has been able to establish itself as a specialized and unique program that reaches across disciplines.