Civic Arts Program

In 2005, the Black Rock Arts Foundation initiated the Civic Arts Program as new model for public art placement. Now part of Burning Man Arts (BMA), the program frequently works with existing artworks, many recognizable from the Burning Man community. By installing these works publicly, Burning Man Arts exposes these works to new audiences. New contexts are created, and the impact and relevance of the artworks evolve in unexpected and compelling ways, unique to each community.

Flock at Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, CA (Photo by Scott Beale)
Flock at Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, CA (Photo by Scott Beale)

The Civic Arts Program was born when Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Arts Commission encouraged BMA to collaborate with the San Francisco’s Hayes Valley community and artist David Best to create an interactive “Temple”. The Hayes Valley Temple quickly became a cherished focal point for the community, providing a beautiful space that inspired connection, dialog and civic pride.

The Temple became our model of how artists, city officials and community members can collaborate to create meaningful public art work – art that addresses the specific needs of, reflects the unique character of and serves a connective function for the community.

BMA has completed Civic Arts projects in San Francisco and the Bay Area, Reno, Nevada, and Detroit, Michigan, all of which have met with immense enthusiasm and appreciation from local communities, and each of which have raised the bar of community involvement, interactivity and quality of public artwork.

This section contains detailed information for each of Burning Man Arts’ Civic Arts projects.