RAIR is a nonprofit organization that builds awareness about sustainability issues through art and design. Situated inside a construction and demolition waste recycling company in northeast Philadelphia, RAIR offers artists studio space and access to more than 350 tons of materials per day. Since 2010, RAIR has provided a unique platform for artists to work at the intersection of art, industry and sustainability, while producing content that challenges perceptions of waste culture.
It all started when…
Avi Golen, Fern Gookin and Billy Dufala at the first Trash Bash fundraiser in 2014.
..three individuals from different backgrounds realized they were passionate about the same thing: the value of waste.
Fern Gookin, then graduate student in PhillyU's Sustainable Design program, had decided to focus her graduate thesis work on the role art can play in creating awareness about sustainability issues. During her studies, Avi Golen former owner and co-founder of Revolution Recovery and an expert in the recycling industry introduced her to Billy Blaise Dufala, a Philadelphia-based found material artist. 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.
In 2009 RAIR received funding from the City of Philadelphia's Office of Arts Culture and Creative Economy to begin piloting the residency program and building a studio. Over the next few years dozens of artists participated in the pilot programs and helped RAIR gear up for their opening to the public in 2014.