North Philly artists think outside the box to draw audience with ‘Please Crush Museum’

    Six teams participated in an exercise of creation and destruction in a blustery recycling yard Sunday afternoon.

    Behind Revolution Recovery, an industrial and construction material recycling company in Northeast Philadelphia, five-member teams assembled forts using only cardboard, zip ties and tape. Then they threw bowling balls at them.

    Dubbed the Please Crush Museum, the event was put on by the Recycled Artist in Residency program (RAIR) whose offices and studio are run out of the recycling company.

    RAIR recently received a Pew Project Grant for a series of events that would bring audiences to the site.

    “This is kind of like a precursor,” says organizer Lucia Thome. “A practice round to figure out if we can hold events here.”

    Surrounded by enormous piles of recycled materials, the teams — some from local architecture firms and another with a former artist-in-residence — constructed forts large and small. One was shaped like a pyramid, another like a cowboy hat.

    Despite the teams’ best efforts at destroying each others’ projects (some took to hurling bowling balls through the air) all forts remained standing at the end of the event.

    The idea for the Please Crush Museum was suggested by participant Kristen Suzda, who works for the architecture and urban planning firm Wallace Roberts and Todd. Suzda had participated in a similar event at the Building Museum in Washington, D.C., that was held indoors and with purchased cardboard.

    “Tons and tons of cardboard comes through here every week so it kind of just made sense to do a cardboard fort building competition, ” said Thome.

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