The Dumpster Divers Gallery — Turning Trash into Art and Vacant Buildings into Galleries
734 South Street, like many other buildings up and down this bustling commercial corridor, was vacant for a long time before the building’s owners, Richard Rothman and Howard Lander, became fed up. They decided that letting commercial buildings go vacant “was a disgrace,” and that landlords had to do something about the growing number of empty stores up and down South Street. So was born the South Street Arts Program, a unique initiative that grants free leases to art collectives who use the empty buildings as public art galleries. The concept looks to South Street’s “funky” past (as a sign in the window reads), when people first began heading to South Street as a destination in the 1970’s because the many vacant buildings that formerly deterred people from visiting the street were filling up with desirable restaurants, stores, galleries and venues. Responsible solely for utilities, several collectives have sprung up on South Street between 2nd and 8th Streets in the past year. The Dumpster Divers Gallery is one of them. The mammoth space showcases work from most of the forty-ish members of the Dumpster Divers Collective.