As galleries around the city become more expensive to maintain and more homogenized in what they show, one group is trying to think outside the box. Tonight at 7pm, “the Department of Urban Betterment” (TDUB) will be debuting their first dumpster-based gallery at 109th Street and Amsterdam Avenue.
TDUB was co-founded by Joaquin Reyes and John Locke, two friends who want to find new ways to use public space. They first gained attention by turning unused NYC pay phones into public lending libraries. In November, they raised $3700 on kickstarter to start the Inflato Dumpster project.
Roughly 8’ by 22’, the Inflato Dumpster is a repurposed trash receptacle with an inflatable roof and walls that TDUB is using as both an art gallery and a space for public workshops. Reyes says the reason for using a dumpster is that it’s incredibly easy to retain a permit.
“We simply have to follow the process for a general dumpster permit, and comply with dumpster regulations,” Reyes says. They were “drawn to the idea of turning something typically associated with waste and discarded materials into a space for something exciting and new.”
The first Inflato Dumpster will be Uptown at the same location for five days before moving on to other spots in the city. For now, Reyes says they’ll be focused on Upper Manhattan neighborhoods but the goal is to educate others on the process so that they can open their own Inflato Dumpsters and show whatever art you want. If you want to keep up with their latest locations and hours, follow them on Twitter. (Photo: The Department of Urban Betterment)