Valentines made of trash: classier than you think

Terry McCall, one of the owners of Scavengers United, compares his heart sculpture to an anatomical foam model. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Terry McCall, one of the owners of Scavengers United, compares his heart sculpture to an anatomical foam model. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

A new art gallery in Fishtown opens its doors to the public on Valentine’s Day. Scavengers United is presenting “Trashed Hearts,” a group show featuring valentines by local artists made of found, recycled and repurposed items only.

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A Trashed Heart valentine by Mary Chappelle. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
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Gallery owners and partners in business and love, Terry and Dana McCall, moved into their Dauphin Street space a half-block off of Frankford Avenue in January and promptly put out a call to artists for Trashed Hearts. After a labor of love, or “a love of labor,” the new space will officially open to the public tomorrow evening.

Dana and Terry McCall are the couple behind Scavengers United, a new art gallery in Fishtown that will exhibit art made of recycled and repurposed materials. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

A Trashed Heart called “Eat Your Heart Out, Single-Serving” features repurposed take-out menus from around the neighborhood. Beth Zaccagni folded the menus into charming hearts, and they explode out of a Chinese take-out container mounted onto an old film reel that was a gift from a friend 20 years ago. Zaccagni said the piece is about hibernating through a broken heart, although everyone who’s seen it so far thinks “Netflix and chill.”

Artist Beth Zaccagni with her Trashed Heart valentine, “Single-serving.” (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

The other works are equally creative. Jess Myers used old milk jugs to create an anatomically correct heart complete with a heartbeat-like LED effect. ZJ Shelly’s piece features broken pint glasses, dull knives and dead lighters. A mobile by Mary Chappelle was created with small treasures found on the ground.

Terry McCall, visionary behind Scavengers United, is a sculptor and fabricator who spent a big chunk of his young life at flea markets and auctions with his dad. An enormous metal heart, crossed with chains and locks, framed in a rescued gear piece, one of McCall’s creations, is the center of the show. He has an extensive collection of industrial salvage he creates with — from defunct factories and foundries from up and down the east coast.

“It’s a limited resource and it’s going away,” he said. “It’s important to save the history and preserve something that’s unique and beautiful and get it back out in the world.”

Scavengers United will also sell home goods, from mirrors to coffee tables from repurposed industrial pieces made by McCall, and other products made by artists who utilize recycled materials.

“Trashed Hearts” runs through March 6.

Scavengers United will sell home goods made from recycled materials, like mirrors made from defunct foundries and other industrial salvage items. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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