2012 Burning Man Arts Report

We at BRAF (now Burning Man Arts) are celebrating all of the new ventures, inspiring projects and sensational events we produced and supported in 2012. Our goal is to bring free, accessible art experiences into everyday lives, so we hope you were able to experience these projects and events for yourself!

Learn about the Burning Man Arts-supported Black Rock City 2012 artwork in our Afterburn Report.

Maybe you see one of our Civic Arts projects, like Future’s Past or Portal of Evolution, on your way to work everyday. Or maybe your kids were involved with one of our grantee projects, like OmegaMart, Firefly Grove or FLOAT Beijing. And we hope you made it to our spectacular annual fundraising extravaganza, the Artumnal Gathering!

However you were able to participate in BRAF projects this year, we thank you for your ongoing involvement and support. Sharing the kind of art we love is what we do, and, with your support, we’ll be doing it for many years to come.

Read on for an overview of our accomplishments in 2012, and join us in supporting even more art together in 2013. Fan our flames for another year by making a tax-deductible year-end contribution, today!

Thanks to you, BRAF will keep growing, expanding and sharing more art with more communities, worldwide.

2012 Civic Art Projects

In 2012, we expanded our programming in Reno, Nevada, receiving not one but two grants from the City of Reno. One partially funded the installation of Bryan Tedrick’s Portal of Evolution, and the other Candy Chang’s Before I Die…, both in downtown Reno.

Portal of Evolution

On June 26, 2012, the Black Rock Arts Foundation installed our fifth public art installation in Reno, Nevada. Portal of Evolution by artist Bryan Tedrick was erected on a newly installed concrete pad in downtown Reno’s City Plaza. This pad was engineered and built by the City of Reno specifically to accommodate temporary sculpture installations.

Portal of Evolution in Reno, Nevada. Photo by Mark Hammon.The base of Portal of Evolution is a cocoon-like enclosure, large enough for several people to stand in. Organic, floral shapes sprout from the base, crowned by a massive, delicate butterfly, which revolves slowly in the wind. The sculpture was first displayed at Burning Man in 2009. Its overall dimensions are 26′ tall x 32′ wide.

With the support of Councilman and BRAF Board Member David Aiazzi, and the City of Reno’s Engineering and Building Departments, we were able to install Portal of Evolution in downtown Reno’s City Plaza in time for the Artown festivities. In the last four years, BRAF’s art installations on the Riverwalk, in downtown Reno, have included performances by local artists and workshops hosted by local non-profit organizations. We were fortunate to be able to continue this tradition, and partnered with the fire-dance troupe, Controlled Burn, who featured the sculpture at their fire festival, Compression on July 28, 2012. The sculpture provided a dramatic and thematic backdrop to the Burning Man-style fire performances. The estimated audience for the event was 5,000-6,000 attendees.

A crew of 5 volunteers installed Portal of Evolution in four days. Local businesses and foundations the Hawkins Foundation, Reno Burners LLC, and Fernley Electric helped with the additional costs of installation. The sculpture has received press by all three major television stations, the Reno Gazette Journal and by additional Internet and independent TV programs.

Before I Die

On May 15, 2012 we installed our sixth public art piece in Reno, a special civic, interactive art project in two locations. Before I Die… transformed two of the city’s neglected spaces into constructive venues for reflection where residents and visitors shared their most intimate aspirations in public. One of the murals was located on the empty lot where BRAF had previously installed sculptures, on the corner of Island Avenue and Sierra Street. The second wall was installed on Fourth Street, a block away from St. Vincent’s Food Pantry, where many homeless people go for food and resources. The result was a social activity that sparked both introspection and conversation, bringing people together and producing a remarkable portrait of the community’s feelings and values at that moment in history.

Using newly constructed temporary walls, Candy Chang and her collaborators covered them with chalkboard paint, and stenciled them with the prompt “Before I Die I want to __________” dozens of times. Ample chalk was left attached to each wall for people to use, revealing their individual hopes or dreams to the public. The walls were cleaned and additional chalk added on a bi-weekly basis.

The walls collected thousands of responses from Reno residents and visitors over the lifespan of the project. Within a matter of days, each wall was completely full of poignant responses. Before being washed down to allow more people to participate, Mark Hammon photographed them to preserve a record of the community’s creativity.

To inaugurate the Before I Die in Reno project, Candy Chang gave a lecture at the Nevada Museum of Art, in collaboration with BRAF and the Black Rock Design Institute about her work, her life experiences, and the meaning of the Before I Die project.

Future’s Past

This year, we deepened our ongoing collaboration with the Hayes Valley Arts Coalition (HVAC), working with them to select a work of art that reflected the vibrancy of character of the Hayes Valley neighborhood. Kate Raudenbush’s Future’s Past was selected. BRAF looks forward to working with HVAC, again!

Future's Past at Patricia's Green, San Francisco, California. Photo by George Post.Together, BRAF and HVAC raised the funds needed to install the work and to improve the installation site, making it ready to host more works of art in the future. Most notably, we worked with the San Francisco Parks and Recreation to install electricity to the site. As with many sculptures we work with, Future’s Past’s lighting effects are integral to the work’s overall impact and aesthetic. This site improvement was critical to our ability to showcase this sculptures and others of equal caliber.

The community received the sculpture warmly. The artwork drew the attention of art enthusiasts, photographers and the general public. On any given day, one may observe residents, professionals and tourists spending time in the park and enjoying the sculpture.

Big Art for Small Towns

In 2012, BRAF launched our new initiative, Big Art for Small Towns. In collaboration with the Burning Man Project, this project was awareded our second National Endowment for the Arts grant, an Our Town grant, in the amount of $75,000.

Over the next two years, two pieces of large-scale sculpture will be installed in a new city-owned park in Fernley. One of the artworks will be an existing piece of sculpture, selected by the Fernley community for temporary display in the park.

The second artwork will be an original piece created by local residents working with a competitively selected lead artist to reflect Fernley’s character, heritage, and culture.

Programming includes a series of public lectures, workshops, and youth learning opportunities focused on the community-building benefits of public art. Big Art for Small Towns is a component of the Black Rock Arts Foundation’s Civic Arts Program, which seeks to share the cultural and economic benefit of public art with rural towns in Nevada and beyond.

Production of the project’s first sculpture starts in the New Year, and will debut in Fernley Nevada in July of 2013. Stay tuned for further announcements and updates about this exciting new projects progress.

Bike Bridge

The Bike Bridge was a collaboration with 12 young women from Oakland schools, artist Michael Christian (well known for his large scale metal works displayed at Burning Man,) and with partner organization The Crucible. It was for this project that BRAF received our first grant, in the amount of $10,000, from the National Endowment for the Arts.

At The Crucible, the young women took courses in MIG welding and in art-bike creation. These courses imparted the skills needed to undertake the creation of a large-scale work of art. Under the mentorship of artist Michael Christian, the youth designed and fabricated a sculpture using reclaimed bicycle parts. The entire process was incredibly collaborative and the results are inspiring!

The Bike Bridge succeeded in bringing together youth, living in different areas of Oakland and attending different high schools, in a shared experience of cooperation, collaboration and mutual support of creative expression.

Through this project, the Black Rock Arts Foundation and The Crucible were able to advance the shared goals of creating innovative arts education opportunities for young people. Both BRAF and The Crucible highly value the collaborative process as means of empowering individuals and thereby strengthening communities. The youth involved learned both the technical and interpersonal skills needed to create a large-scale work of sculpture.

Stay tuned for the announcement of the Opening Reception!

The Raygun Gothic Rocketship and Bliss Dance

The exhibitions of both the Raygun Gothic Rocketship, by Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, David Shulman, Alan Rorie and their talented crew, and Bliss Dance, by Marco Cochrane, were extended by the San Francisco Port Authority and the Treasure Island Development Authority, respectively. BRAF is thrilled that the community and City agencies shares our appreciation and affection for these pieces.

The Raygun Gothic Rocketship, originally scheduled for de-installation in August of 2011, was granted several extensions of its stay. It now has a confirmed departure date of March, 2013. Stay tuned for announcements of a closing reception festivities.

Bliss Dance continues to garner attention of tourists and locals, and has served as an appreciated attraction on Treasure Island. The artists are currently raising funds to restore the sculpture, as it has suffered some rust damage. The funds will be used to treat the stainless steel surface for rust and to replace and improve the lighting components.