Hayes Green Temple

In 2005, Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Arts Commission encouraged BRAF to collaborate with the San Francisco’s Hayes Valley community and artist David Best to create an interactive ‘Temple.’ Known for his breathtaking and poignant temples at the Burning Man event, Best and his crew created a temple in recognition of the Hayes Valley community.

The Hayes Green Temple by David Best and the 2004 Temple Crew
Patricia’s Green, San Francisco, California
June 2005 – February 2006
Reclaimed scrap wood from toy construction 25’H x 15’W x 15’D

The Hayes Valley Temple at Patricia’s Green in San Francisco, California.

About the Project

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 BRAF’s model of how artists, city officials and community members can collaborate to create meaningful work, specific to the needs of their community. Since 2005, BRAF has run with this model, successfully enlisting artists, many recognizable from their work at Burning Man, to create or install their work in public spaces.

Detail of people writing on the Hayes Valley Temple at Patricia’s Green in San Francisco, California.

About the Site

20 years prior to the Temple’s installation, the 500 block of Hayes Street was one the most blighted in the city. A portion of the elevated Central Freeway, closed and condemned after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, once stood at the site of Patricia’s Green, sheltering a myriad of illegal and dangerous activities.

The destruction of the freeway and construction of Patricia’s Green brought new hope to the neighborhood and, with the installation of The Hayes Green Temple, BRAF was instrumental in ushering in a new sense of civic pride. The City of San Francisco initiated a revitalization effort, and enlisted the leadership of BRAF and the San Francisco Arts Commission in the establishment of public art as vital means of generating civic pride and engagement.

Patricia’s Green is now an active public park, where residents of extremely diverse backgrounds gather and coexist. On any given day, one can observe families, professionals taking breaks from work, children on school outings, seniors visiting from a nearby senior care facility, or art students drawing studies of the artworks, spending time in the park.

The success and popularity of The Hayes Valley Temple sparked the formation of the Hayes Valley Arts Coalition (HVAC,) a grassroots organization established to support public art in Hayes Valley. BRAF continues to work closely with HVAC to curate and install artworks at Patricia’s Green, the former site of the The Hayes Valley Temple. Patricia’s Green continues to host large scale sculptures, including Dan Das Man and Karen Cusolito’s hopeful, figurative work Ecstasy and Future’s Past, by artist Kate Raudenbush.

The Hayes Valley Temple at Patricia’s Green in San Francisco, California.

The Hayes Valley Temple, the first public art installation at Patricia’s Green, clearly illustrated to both the neighborhood residents and to the greater public how art can prompt civic engagement and pride. The piece put Patricia’s Green on the map as a destination, and its inviting, interactive qualities drew out residents and visitors, establishing the new park as a functioning communal space.

About the Artist

David Best, a native of San Francisco, began going to the San Francisco Art Institute at the age of six, and has been driven to create ever since. His work walks the fine line of the human experience: accumulated details, an assemblage, parts rendered whole. His work spans many mediums; consistently the ordinary is rendered fantasy.

Recognized for the amount of his own energy he invests in his work, David is well-known for the series of Temples he and his crew have built for the Burning Man event. These temples require intense and varied energy for their manifestation and the subsequent incendiary release.

His work can be found in the collections of the SFMOMA, Oakland Museum, and the San Jose Museum of Art.


This project was graciously supported and funded by artist David Best.

Additional support for this project was provided by:

  • The San Francisco Arts Commission