2015 Grantee Projects


The 24/7 Time Star Live

by: Charlie Smith
Amount Granted: $7,000
Placement: Atlanta, GA

xina ocasio timestaronfire

Timing is Everything (The 24/7 Time Star), a large-scale interactive artwork created for Black Rock City, will be placed in a long-term temporary installation in Atlanta, Georgia, where it was originally created. The refurbishment and installation of the piece will engage a broad community and will culminate in an opening event in which the full scope of the interactivity and fire elements of the piece will be displayed.

The sculpture itself symbolically reflects the seven days of the week, the planetary symbolism of the days, the seven Hindu Chakras, the seven levels of heaven, and the seven virtues in a single tribute to the sun and the enabler of all life on Earth.

Artist Charlie Smith says, “This is a continuation of creating community through the building and installation of interactive art. The grand vision is sharing the artistic process of this project, creating a difference, and enhancing the participants’ viewpoint on the perception of what art can be, and in that change their world!”


Art Shanty Projects / 2016 On-Ice Program

by: Art Shanty Projects
amount granted: $5,000
placement: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Art Shanties

The On-Ice Program invites artists from all disciplines, backgrounds and experience levels to transform a frozen lake surface into creative space: equal parts gallery, art residency, and interactive community. Held on the frozen frozen surface of White Bear Lake in mid-winter, artists produce a creative place-making event that lasts four weekends.

Artist-audience interactions are encouraged, and are integral to the project goals of animating the lake and bringing people together in the name of art and community. 20 shanties, built by a different team of artists, selected through a competitive selection process, create engaging art environments, programs and live events featuring visual artists, musicians, composers, puppeteers, architects, poets, scientists, dancers, choreographers, writers, anglers, naturalists, vocalists, spoken word artists, craftspeople, storytellers, actors, playwrights, etc. Past presentations have included diverse offerings such as a living snow globe, group ‘snowga’ (snowsuit yoga), a cappella singing, and Art Car/Bike parades.

Despite wintry elements, thousands of visitors—many of whom don’t regularly attend arts events—make the trek out to this unusual seeing for an encounter with this artist-driven, temporary community. The unpredictable environment challenges artists to generate platforms for unique experiences while contending with natural and human elements.

Art Shanty Projects’ On-Ice Program is free and open to the public over four mid-winter weekends, during daylight hours of 10:00am- 4:00pm. In 2016, the program is anticipated to take place sometime between January 16-February 28.


BAKAWAN: The Interactive Floating Island

by: Studio Enkanto / Leeroy New
Amount Granted: $5,000
Placement: Malate, Manila, Philippines


BAKAWAN is an interactive floating island designed to travel the Pasig River in the Philippines, activating the waterfront through visual intervention and performance. The mobile installation explores ecological heritage and challenges perspectives of urban space, and revives the river as public space, transport corridor, and sustainable environment. BAKAWAN the Tagalog word for mangrove, references the regenerative properties of this protective tree.

Using recycled materials, welders, woodworkers, botanists and painters work together to build the island. The island is composed of a raft base platform, the sculptural membrane, a spiral stairway, and planters distributed strategically around the structure. Solar powered L.E.D. spotlights will be embedded along the “membrane” of the tree form and will resemble a swarm of fireflies at night. The project draws on a strong community of creatives including theater makers, visual artists, designers, architects, performance artists, and others to contribute experimental, site specific works.

Metro Manila has a population of 14.5 million people during the day and, although it is a diverse metropolis, can be highly segregated by income income level, class, and geography. The island will be towed by a small, local tug boat, delivering an unexpected experience of art to the diverse communities along the river, including the many small, lower-income communities. Its final stop is the historic districts of Escolta in Chinatown and Intramuros, the original walled city. A plank wood bridge will be stored on the tugboat and attached to the structure when it docks and invites participants to experience the island.

BAKAWAN will also serve as a nursery for plants for the island, including vetiver grass, bandera espanola, and other native species which help filter sediment, retain rainwater and groundwater, and restore nutrients to the soil.
BAKAWAN shares its entire process, from the construction of the sculpture to the journey along the river, online with regularly uploaded photos, an informative, and website, and a short film about the project. BAKAWAN will be installed on the Pasig River from May 1-7, 2015. These dates coincide with two local arts festivals exploring similar themes of urban culture and art as social innovation.


Burning Basket Project

by: Mavis Muller
Amount Granted: $3,000
Placement: Key West, FL


The Burning Basket Project, developed in Homer, Alaska by Mavis Muller in 2004, is designed to unite geographically disparate communities through recognition and celebration of connection with nature. The project involves a series of free workshops that have taken place in communities in places as disparate as Homer, Alaska, the Hawaiian Islands, New Mexico, and Vigo, Spain.

The workshops invite participants from diverse areas of the community to participate in the construction of a large (8 to 10 foot) intricately woven basket sculpture using natural indigenous materials such as grasses and a variety of plant and tree fibers. This community participates in all elements of fabrication, including gathering, design and weaving. During a short exhibition, more community members are encouraged to add mementos to the baskets through the addition of written thoughts, sentiments, or objects; in this way the sculpture becomes civic property, woven with personal relevance.

Each project culminates when the community is invited to gather for a potluck dinner, artist talk, and performances; then at sundown, the torch is lit and the basket ignited. The positive messages and intentions of the community are released through the burning of the work.

The Black Rock Arts Foundation gave a grant to support a Burning Basket project in 2007 in Homer, Alaska. Since then, the project has flourished, producing 29 baskets by 2015. This year’s project in Key West, Florida, is connected in taking place “at the end of the road” at the other end of the continent and at a point of importance in the yearly cycles of migratory wildlife species.


Crossroads of Curiosity at the British Library

by: David Normal
Amount Granted: $10,000
Placement: London, England


Crossroads of Curiosity, the suite of lightbox murals that were central to the “Souk” at the Man Base in Black Rock City 2014, will be displayed in the Piazza of the British Library at St. Pancras in London. The exhibit will open with an “Unveiling” that invites the UK Burning Man community to participate and present artwork and performances.

Crossroads of Curiosity incorporates the work a large number of artists from the 19th Century who produced the book illustrations that were used as collage material for the paintings. This cornucopia of 19th Century visual culture was made accessible by the efforts of British Library Labs, specifically their “Mechanical Curator” release of over one million images from works collected in the British Library into the public domain in 2013.

Artist David Normal was one of the first to use this repository of open culture to create new artworks. This installation and event therefore close the creative “loop” between the online collections of the British Library, the artist, Burning Man, and the Library itself.

Crystal Womb

by: Adrian Sierra Garcia
Amount Granted: $8,000
Placement: Paris, France


Crystal Womb is an artistic intervention on the Simone-de-Beauvoir footbridge in Paris, a part of an ongoing project called “The Social Bridge.” The piece itself will be composed of 88 prism-like objects dubbed “crystals” that are three feet wide and two feet high. Each one is composed of an aluminum structure, polycarbonate panels, L.E.D. lights, and interactive electronics. The crystals will be suspended from the bridge’s ceiling, creating a continuous textured surface about 200 feet long that will respond to interaction from the general public.

The installation is envisioned for June – October 2016. Global Art Grants funding will be used for the early stages of the project, to prototype and develop the interactive components at the heart of the installation.



by: Bamboo Element
amount granted: $5,000
placement: Prague, Czech Republic


Cyklomatofon is designed to be a mobile, mixed analog-digital musical instrument. This four-person bicycle powers both the movement of the cycle and the electronic components of the piece. Cyklomatofon is a complete musical composition and performance experience, featuring drums, cymbals, and other rhythmic instruments along with stroboscopes, smoke machines, flamethrowers, and other visual effects.

This project is the follow up to Bamboo Element’s past art work – Bambufonomat, which was funded by the Black Rock Arts Foundation in 2013. Bambufonomat, a huge success at festivals and events, was a static, purely electronic music machine for four players. With Cyklomatofon, the crew of Bamboo Element returns to simplicity in design, to nature, and to their core intention of sharing the freedom of music–this time, paired with the freedom of travel. Cyklomatofon culminates in a 14 day journey through the Czech Republic countryside, as a mobile exhibition bringing art small communities, many of which probably haven’t seen anything like Cyklomatofon. The artists are building on what they’ve learned from Bambufonomat, inventing a new way to encourage people to get together and jam!



by: The Uni Project
Amount Granted: $6,000
Placement: Mobile in New York, NY


DRAW NYC will let hundreds of New Yorkers of all ages gather in the public spaces of their neighborhoods and draw. The project will be implemented as part of a pop-up reading room installed and operate across New York City called “the Uni.” The goal will be to get diverse people to gather and create a public performance of drawing.
Adding DRAW NYC to the reading room project will entail:

•    A new custom-made cart

•    Custom-made drawing boards will make drawing outside comfortable for people seated on our benches.

•    Various tools, displays, and prompts will support self-guided drawing while also offering up inspiration. For example, the workshop will have ring-bound “rolodexes” of cards as well as displays that will challenge people to “make their mark” with activities such as texture rubbings, “drawing” with bits of string on sticky paper, or drawing using certain proscribed marks. It will also provide clear boards mounted with tracing paper to prompt people to “take a picture” of what they see as well as rubber mats to prompt people to try drawing from unusual perspectives.

•    Finally, an “artist-in-residence,” commissioned for the season, will work alongside of members of the public and provide further encouragement and inspiration.



by: Jennifer Drinkwater
Amount Granted: $4,000
Placement: Ames, IA


Intertwine will culminate with the large-scale yarn bombing of the façade a 130-year-old two-story building in the Main Street Cultural District in downtown Ames, Iowa. In May 2016, the façade of the building will be covered with thousands of multicolored 1’ x 1’ knitted or crocheted panels, stitched together to sheath the building. The panels will be designed and created by Iowa citizens, stemming from individual knitters across the state to collaborations of existing knitting circles located in Ames.



by: Flux Foundation
commissioned by: the Bay Area Book Festival
amount granted: $7,000
placement: Berkeley, CA


A collaboration between the Bay Area Book Festival and the Flux Foundation, Lacuna is a monumental, participatory installation. Constructed from 50,000 books donated by the Internet Archive, the installation will sit at the center of the festival in MLK Civic Center Park for the duration of the weekend of the festival, creating a reflective space that offers contrast to—and respite from—the busy energy of the festival.

Inspired by the nomadic structures of Central Asia as well as formal civic buildings like Rome’s Pantheon, Lacuna’s design focuses attention on the historical importance of books as a means of spreading knowledge and their more typical ascription as objects of knowledge. Lacuna’s uses a tensegrity structure, simple materials, a strong color palette, and playful interaction to create an immersive environment that evolves over the course of the festival weekend.

The walls of the structure’s alcoves are composed entirely of over 3,500 books. As participants remove books, light filters through the variegated gaps in the ‘book brickwork,’ illuminating the interior space of the alcove. This artful rearrangement of the books creates an organic interplay of color and shape that changes along the length of the walls, creating a series of intimate reading nooks in which one literally, and figuratively, inhabits the interiority of books and their contents.

Over the course of the festival participants are encouraged to interact directly with Lacuna by adding and removing books from it. The alcoves provide intimate spaces for browsing and getting lost in those books that capture the imagination. Participants are encouraged by Flux artist and volunteers to take books off the walls of Lacuna, sit and enjoy them inside the sculpture, or take them away entirely for enjoyment elsewhere. In addition to removing books that are part of the initial construction, an additional quantity of books will be available for participants to add to the walls of Lacuna.
Lacuna will be on view, free to the public, as part of the inaugural Bay Area Book Festival in downtown Berkeley, California, June 5-7, 2015.

Mobile Sculpture Workshop

by: Industrial Arts Collective
Amount Granted: $7,000
Placement: traveling workshop, various locations in Pittsburgh, PA


Mobile Sculpture Workshop is a multifaceted, 12-week community-based arts and trades education experience culminating in the creation of a large-scale public sculpture. The sculpture workshop itself is a self-sufficient mobile workshop that moves between community festivals and gatherings all over the city of Pittsburgh. The program centers around eight to ten high-school aged ‘apprentices,’ or students, that collaborate in the process of building a large scale public sculpture.

The apprentices begin their training program learning safety and then jump right into the basics of welding and fabrication skills. The program travels to like-minded arts, music, and community gatherings where the apprentices learn in a public, workshop-like setting where they may engage directly with community members. The targeted neighborhood creates a theme that inspires the students to design a sculpture reflecting the character and history of the area. The apprentices learn skills from the artist instructors as they build models of their ideas. They then present these models and concepts to their peers and neighborhood. The students review each others’ pieces and choose one concept for the public sculpture. They then use their newly acquired skills to collaborate in building the final piece.


The Music Box: Roving Village Residency

by: New Orleans Airlift
Amount Granted: $5,000
Placement: Multiple sites in New Orleans, LA


Roving Village Residency is a public installation & performance series that transports interactive musical structures to underutilized spaces in New Orleans. The Roving Village moves forward from where The Music Box left off, taking existing and new structures on a tour of the New Orleans area. These range from the 21-foot-tall Chateau Poulet, whose fan blades create an ethereal wind instrument, to international artist Swoon’s first musical house, Dithyrambalina (2010 Black Rock Arts Foundation Grantee project).

Occupying a footprint of around 30×75 feet, the roving village features seven new musical houses created in 2014 by 15 visual artists and community partners like the New Orleans Master Craftsmen Guild. These represent a diverse circle of creators that will share the project with new audiences. Each musical house is carefully built to create different types of sound, (winds, percussion, brass, etc.) Together, these houses create an unusual orchestra that pops up in an under-appreciated part of the city in an empty lot.

Auxiliary programs at each site will include concerts, educational workshops, guided walks through the site, and artist talks. The Artists hope that the project will inspire audience members young and old with wonder and allow them to believe in many possibilities within reach as well as bring together diverse groups of people to interact, play, and create new relationships where there were none before.


The Reno Sculpture Festival

by: Reno Art Works
Amount Granted: $7,000
Placement: Reno, NV


The Reno Sculpture Festival will activate underused space in downtown reno with a three-day festival built around the installation of ten interactive artworks. The installations and events will take place on an empty concrete slab between Virginia Street and West Street, just north of the Reno Arch and covering a total area of just under two acres. Participating artists include Mikey Burke, Scott Cohen, Mike Mechanic, Pan Pantoja, Aric Shapiro, Jeff Schomberg, and Matthew Shultz.

The project aims to bring together the most effective and prolific community builders and sculptors to create the interactive pieces. Once these sculptures are installed, there will be a festival from May 8 through 10, 2015, with events on site and at surrounding establishments. Many of these sculptures will stay at the festival site in downtown Reno for one year. Several will be installed at the University of Nevada Reno,The Nevada Discovery Museum, and some will even make the trek to Burning Man 2015.
The festival will take place at this location to engage the greater community of Reno and expose them to large-scale public art like that found at Burning Man events. It is an opportunity to connect the general population of Reno with community art spaces like The Generator, Reno Art Works, and Infinity Forge, and inspire people to activate the latent artist within.


Satellite Studio: Artist in Residence Program

by: Artists Working In Education, Inc (A.W.E)
amount granted: $4,500
placement: Milwaukee, Wisconsin


A.W.E.’s Satellite Studio works to include young people in the creation of public artwork for their neighborhood. The Satellite Studio provides the opportunity for 500 Milwaukee youth to work alongside professional artists in the creation of large-scale, public art installations. Each project incorporates the visual arts into community design to address a neighborhood need such as a vacant lot beautification or traffic calming.  The program is free for youth to participate in, and targets youth in low-income neighborhoods that have little or no access to the arts. The Satellite Studio provides access to a fun, stimulating, educational learning space within walking distance to their homes.

Youth will collaborate with artists to design art specifically for the site, and uses the site and the wider neighborhood as inspiration for the artwork. Underutilized public spaces, including vacant lots, County Park sites, and Milwaukee Public Schools recreation playgrounds, are transformed into public art destinations that generate social connection. Each project uses different mediums, and shares different methods of interactivity. Artists will listen to neighborhood residents and work with young people to determine ways to best engage and communicate with residents through the artwork. The program challenges the idea of where art can belong, and who should have access to the arts.


Shadow Sails

by: Heather Dawn Sparks
Amount Granted $4,000
Placement: Bellingham, WA and additional locations TBD


Shadow Sails consists of four whimsical sculptures, each covering an area of 50 square feet, placed in dynamic relationship to one another to create a fully immersive, interconnected shadow art playground. Each sculpture has  a large, sculpted front facade of white fabric, zigzagging outward. The sculptures have frameworks of welded steel covered in repurposed white boat sails, and can collapse and be modified to address site-specific locations. The sails are light in weight, waterproof, durable and translucent, allowing shadows to be rendered visible on both sides.

During the day, puppet making workshops will foster multi-generational collaboration in the creation of puppets made of recycled materials, shadow costumes and 3-D paper-cut landscapes with moving parts (e.g. rain on pulleys, erupting volcanoes, twirling stars). The workshops will host open hours, allowing many people to move through the space and join in the crafting process for as little or as long as they desire.

Shadow Jams will take place just past dusk. They are participatory performance pieces that incorporate words, sound, light, and action. Hosts of the jam lead participants in movement activities, storytelling, sound effects, silhouetted body part choreography, and games of interaction to create a wide array of visual effects. Musicians will support the activation of the space with live instruments and improvised song. Lighting will consist of six overhead projectors and 10 handheld flashlights. Participants layer coloured plastics, thread, lace, glass bottles, and small objects on the overhead projectors as well as sketch with sand and swirl ink in water to create textured ambient environments.


Skateboarding on Humanity St. Skateable Sculpture

by: Parisite DIY Skatepark
Amount Granted: $8,000
Placement: New Orleans, LA

Parisite is an existing skatepark designed, built, and maintained entirely by skaters. This novel collaboration between skateboarders, artists and architects, and various levels of government administration began as a renegade construction in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in an area where there was no legal place to skate.

Skateboarding on Humanity St. is a skateable sculpture that appears to be a giant steel street sign that has blown over. Its installation is a part of a plan to reclaim the park’s southern face by removing decades-old chain-link fencing, remediating blighted public land, installing seating and landscaping, and building durable–and skateable–art. The aim of the sculpture is provoke a moment of surprise and humor as well as to give the park an iconic entrance point that is appealing to skaters and non-skaters alike.

In the words of one of the group’s organizers, “Our philosophy in a nutshell: We want ramps, but we want roses, too. We want infrastructure for the kids of New Orleans, but we want art, beauty; we want to live a beautiful story AND skate a beautiful line. We will NEVER give up.”

The Sustainable Magic Box

by: Sustainable Magic
Amount Granted: $3,000
Placement: Mobile in the San Francisco Bay Area


The Magic Box is a mobile high-tech art creation workshop vehicle. It opens on one side with a large window like a food truck so that the public can see the tools and art inside. The truck is outfitted with a large laser cutter, 3D printers, Arduino microcontrollers, LEDs, robotics, a 3D scanner, electronics tools, hand tools, and lots of bright, fun materials to create with. It is designed to provide participants with everything they need to create art using the latest technology.

The vision for the project is that a participant can approach the workshop with no existing knowledge, sketch an idea on a tablet, and very quickly see a physical manifestation of their idea created by machines. The available elements of the workshop are installed in modules that can be readily switched out to accommodate the needs of different audiences and events.
Funding from Burning Man will enable ten or more appearances at community events around the bay area in 2015-2016, providing for consumable raw materials for projects and the costs of operating the vehicle.


These Little Notes

by: Shannon Ingram
Amount Granted: $500
Floral Park, NY


These Little Notes will consist of quotes and/or drawings created by youth participants (ages 9-17). Cards will be created by all the participants in one room, simultaneously, to foster a sense of unity as they are created. The cards will then be affixed to public buildings, mailboxes, machines, signs, and other fixtures throughout the community. The act of placing an uplifting note in a public place can create a chain of kindness that will positively impact local communities.

The work will be displayed publicly throughout several towns in Nassau County (Long Island, New York.) The project will also engage the community through its display. This community has seen several unfortunate tragedies (most recently, the terrible Taconic Tragedy that claimed the lives of three young sisters.)

These Little Notes hopes to make the world a kinder place through acts of kindness between strangers. Their work is geared towards improving the morale and mental health of the young people in local communities.