Continuing to manage artist-led initiatives

Photo by Alyssa Maloof

South Philly native Theresa Rose has been named the inaugural Managing Director of the Recycled Artist In Residency. 

Rose, a board member and past president of the Passyunk Square Civic Association, will oversee programs as the Northeast Philadelphia organization expands its site.

According to its website, RAIR’s mission is to challenge the perception of waste culture by providing a unique platform for artists at the intersection of art and industry. It was created 12 years ago.

“I am thrilled to join this effort that Billy Dufala and Fern Gookin set in motion 12 years ago,” Rose said. “RAIR is the future. Historically, artists have been at the forefront of carving new paths and alternative ways of thinking and being. At RAIR, artists and cultural producers are continuing that legacy using sustainable tactics, drawing attention to the waste stream while creating profound work.”

Recycled Artist In Residency is located at 7333 Milnor St. inside a construction and demolition waste recycling company. It offers artists studio space and access to more than 500 tons of materials per day.

While working at the city’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Rose led the environmentally focused project called “Soil Kitchen” with artist team Futurefarmers — a project testing soil health while providing education and free soup. She also founded Philly Stake, a volunteer-run program centered around arts and sustainability. 

Rose’s other work included curating and organizing the 9th Street Stock Exchange with Jon Rubin with support from Mural Arts Philadelphia and The Knight Foundation. While FringeArts Visual Arts Director, she curated Wetland by Mary Mattingly, a revamped sustainable livable houseboat that adapted to changing sea levels. 

She co-founded The Alternative Art School, a global online art school with renowned artist instructors including Janine Antoni, Mark Dion and Guadalupe Maravilla. She also is managing the commissioning of South Philly icon Marian Anderson’s sculpture, to be the first named African American female commemorated in bronze in Philadelphia’s public landscape.

Rose’s arrival at Recycled Artist In Residency comes at a time of expansion as it begins to utilize the Superfund site adjacent to its current location. Also known as Metal Bank, the Superfund will serve as an extension of the artist residency program, as well as a testing ground for environmental and ecological work.

“Historically our organization has been all about creating opportunities for and supporting artists, moving forward, and in addition to that work, we want to grow capacity in order to leverage more of the abundance of resources we have available to us,” said Billy Dufala, co-founder and Director of Residencies. “With her wealth of experience and history managing and stewarding artist-led initiatives, Theresa is exactly the person to have on the team to help us make these dreams a reality.”