Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A New Park, A New Sculpture

Now that I"ve got your attention, the sculpture really isn't new. It was created by artist Finley Fryer in 1999 for the Burning Man Art Festival, where this 18 ft. tall bell diver covered in old 45 rpm records first made his appearance as 'Stan, Submerging Man.'

Recently created, Victoria Manaolo Draves Park, sits on Folsom between 6th & 7th streets. As the park came to fruitition Friends of VMD Park contacted the Black Rock Arts Foundation in search of a piece of public art to commemorate the opening of the new park. As conversations continued the normal course of action began to play itself out: Friends of VMD Park began working on a fundraising plan, the requisite permit applications were filed, and then something new happened -- as part of the fabrication of the park a permanent place for public art was created, complete with electricity for night time lighting. This new pocket park will, undoubtedly, serve the area businesses, residents, and families well.

Now, with all the permits completed and approved we are working in cooperation with Friends of VMD to raise the $10,000 required for this temporary exhibition of 'Stan, Submerfing Man.' Donations in support of this temporary exhibition can be made at http://www.donatetoblackrockarts.org/staninvmdpark.html

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Let the ScrapEden Diaries Begin...

The Black Rock Arts Foundation installation at Burning Man 2006, ScrapEden BRC, was an incredible success. The Scrap Shack itself looked like it was pulled off the roadside in Anywhere, Montana. The whole exhibition space, scribed by a shallow split rail fence, filled up with works by 44 contributing artists who hauled their pieces into the expansive dust of Black Rock for exhibition during the week long Burning Man Festival. Each of the pieces was created using recycled, reclaimed, repurposed or otherwise salvaged materials. Flowers built of bicycle wheels graced the entrance, an old piano, just off to the right, provided both the resonating chamber for an instrument whose strings stretched 30' to the nearest windmill, and also kept a poorly tuned beat for impromptu performances by dancers and musicians alike. In the center stood a small tree -- its deciduously metal branches cradling a flaming bird's nest by night. Champagne cork spiders crawled though tin can flowers, starched garden gloves mimicked one bush's sprouting leaves, a giant onion proved a soft-safe-haven for the playa-weary.

The idea for ScrapEden came to us when the Foundation was approached by the San Francisco Department of the Environment to apply for a grant; the DOE was soliciting proposals for projects and initiatives that would substantially change the behavior of SF residents around curbside comporting and recycling. As an arts organization we were a bit befuddled about how we were going to divert significant numbers of tonnage from the waste stream, but we put our heads to the white board, and after much pounding, slowly, the ScrapEden concept was born. We decided to use art as the vehicle to talk about, and ascribe value to, what is otherwise considered trash. We decided to create a program designed around collaborative artworks created from reclaimed materials as a means of talking to people about what they're throwing into the rubbish bin, lanfill, bay, ocean, water table, etc.

We did it first in Black Rock City, stay tuned to find out what we're doing in San Francisco....
photos: sandwichgirl, Rubin 110, Lush.i.ous

Monday, July 24, 2006

Workshop Dates: Aug 6th & Aug 13th

As many of you already know, this year the Black Rock Arts Foundation is embarking on an exciting new on-playa project, ScrapEden BRC. We are inviting participants to contribute in a variety of different ways and scales. One of our goals is to arrive at a critical mass of many small sculptures, thereby giving the idea of ground cover, or a bed of flowers. In the interest of achieving out goal we will hold TWO PRODUCTION WORKSHOPS at the BRAF and Burning Man Offices!

On Sunday August 6th & August 13th BRAF will be hosting day-long workshops with the goals of creating several small artworks for the playa incarnation of ScrapEden. We've nearly perfected the tin can flower, with garden hose stem, and hope to arrive at a few more small-scale designs for production. Visit our website for details and DIY instructions: www.blackrockarts.org

If you'll be in the area, would like to participate in ScrapEden BRC, but just aren't sure you have the tools or the workspace, and would like to meet a few new faces, please join us, and bring a dish to share!

* 12:00 noon – 6:00 p.m.
* at the BRAF and Burning Man Offices
* 1900 Third Street – 1st FL (Cross Street: 16th Street)
* San Francisco CA 94158
*** We'll be meeting in the back near the roll top door –
*** Parking lot entrance is on 16th Street, just west of 3rd St.
*** Potluck = Please Bring a Dish to Share!

For more information or to RSVP, please contact us at: scrapedenbrc@blackrockarts.org

Monday, July 17, 2006

Pre-playa ScrapEden Workshop in SF

This year at Burning Man the Black Rock Arts Foundation is creating, ScrapEden BRC, a collaborative garden installation populated by garden-inspired sculptural elements created from re-claimed, re-purposed and re-cycled materials, and all citizens of BRC are invited to participate!

To date we've received word of 15 projects that will be coming to BRC for collective exhibition, but we want more! In the spirit of growing the garden Black Rock Art's Executive Director, Leslie Pritchett has rolled up her sleeves and created these lovely flowers from emptied soda cans mounted on short lengths of garden hose.

Like the idea? Want a little guidance on how you can make your own?
Join us on Sunday, August 6 from 12:00 noon - 6 p.m. at the BRAF & Burning Man Offices at 1900 Third Street, San Francisco CA 94158 (cross street is 16th) -- we'll have a few projects on hand for artists of any experience level.

Stay tuned for more details on this exciting workshop, and for DIY instructions coming soon on the website:
For more information on ScrapEden BRC, or to volunteer to help with the project, write to: scrapedenbrc@blackrockarts.org

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Major Set Back for 'Dreamer' in Golden Gate Park

This just in from BRAF's Executive Director: Leslie Pritchett.....

It is with real sadness that I report that the temporary exhibition of Pepe Ozan's 'Dreamer' in golden Gate Park must be postponed for the foreseeable future.

We've been working for more than a year to bring this installation to San Francisco. The piece was stored after it's initial exhibition at Burning Man 2005 outside of Reno.The piece was stored outside in its component pieces. Initial visual inspection lead all to believe that the piece was in fine shape for this installation, and that it would require only the expected amount of work to re-seam and paint it after it was assembled. It was only after the sculpture was trucked from Reno and unloaded at the installation site in Golden Gate Park that it became apparent that the integrity of the underlying material used to surface the wire-frame shell of the sculpture was markedly compromised. The piece will require extensive resurfacing and repair in order for it to be in an appropriate condition for exhibition.

The Black Rock Arts Foundation does not currently have funding resources that would allow us to support Pepe's repair efforts, and so must put the installation project on indefinite hold.

Thank you all for your continuing support for this and other BRAF projects.


At present, there are no new updates on the future of this installation. The piece(s) will be removed from the installation site today :(

ScrapEden, Black Rock City -- a project of the Black Rock Arts Foundation

Scrap: n. Discarded waste material, often metal suitable for reprocessing.
Eden: n. A delightful place, a garden, a paradise.

Scrap Eden: n.
1. A delightful garden made of re-claimed discarded waste material, often metal suitable for reprocessing.
2. Black Rock City’s First Participant-Based Community Garden, created by the community for the community
3. A project of the Black Rock Arts Foundation

This year the Black Rock Arts Foundation is creating a collaborative garden installation populated by garden-inspired sculptural elements created from re-claimed, re-purposed and re-cycled materials, and all citizens of BRC are invited to participate! Yes! You are an artist!

The idea formed this year in San Francisco when the Foundation began looking at what it could do, using interactive art as the medium, to promote a culture of re-use and re-cycling. And while this installation will take place at Burning Man 2006 we hope it will serve as a pilot project for sprouting gardens first in BRC, then SF, and eventually, nationwide. Our hope is that this prototype garden at Burning Man 2006 will not only demonstrate to the citizens of BRC the kinds of projects we support in the default world, and prove a beautiful interactive collaborative art installation at this years event!
Help make it happen!

This year, the Black Rock Arts Foundation is inviting Burning Man citizens to create sculptures of garden-inspired flora and fauna from re-claimed, re-cycled and re-purposed INORGANIC materials for a collective installation on the open playa. We’ll provide a centrally located garden shed (built from re-claimed materials) as a focal point around which participants will be able to “plant”, or install, individual (or communal) creations for collective exhibition.

What you can do:
1) Contact scrapedenbrc@blackrockarts.org for starters. Let us know you want to participate! Tell us what you are planning to create for collective installation. We’ll get back in touch with you and send along some more of the pertinent details. A short questionnaire will help us capture a few things we need to know, such as: the approximate height and footprint of the piece, estimated arrival date, and a rough idea of the installation plan, Ex: rebar stakes!
2) Create an original flora or fauna garden-inspired sculpture, from sunflower to bean sprout, earthworm to caterpillar, garden gnome to toad, out of re-cycled, re-claimed, or re-purposed materials. These materials must be INORGANIC and their construction must be able to withstand desert conditions (extreme, heat, cold, and wind up to 50 mph) without becoming matter out of place.
3) Send us pictures of your work-in-progress, however great or small, and we’ll post ‘em on the web for the whole world to see!!
4) Questions about the above process can be sent to the same address: scrapedenbrc@blackrockarts.org

The garden shed will be open from 10 am – 6 pm daily and will have personnel and/or gnomes on hand to help with placement and installation of all Scrap Eden pieces.

Everyone who participates will receive an original design Scrap Eden t-shirt by Dicky of Burning Man 2005 Dicky Box Fame!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A 'Dreamer' in Golden Gate Park

Yes, a our purple friend is coming to roost. The above is a digital mock-up of Pepe Ozan's, 'Dreamer', in Golden Gate Park. The actual installation will be slightly closer to the road, the head a more face-forward orientation.

Pepe Ozan's, 'Dreamer', originally created for Burning Man 2005, will soon be installed for a 6 month temporary exhibition in Golden Gate Park. The 'Giant Purple Head', as it is known in several circles, made the long haul down from Reno, NV, just yesterday, will be refurbished over the course of this week, with installation expected to be complete before the weekend.

This is not Pepe's first installation in San Francisco. 'Invocation', a public sculpture by Pepe Ozan, assisted by Morgan Raimond, sits at the little park on Cesar Chavez St., between Vermont St. and the 101 North entry ramp. The piece is representative of an Eagle-Warrior. Aztec eagle warriors were, like the jaguar warriors, members of nobility. Their elaborate costumes were worn as a testament to the wearer's strength and importance in Aztec society.
Images of 'Invocation' can be viewed here: http://www.burningmanopera.org/SF_sculpture/SF_sculpture.html

Originally funded for Burning Man 2006, Pepe's, 'Monicacos de Esperanza', have recently been installed at India Basin Shoreline Park as a part of the new BlueGreenway Public Art Trail Pedestrian and Bicycle path that spans the 13 mile stretch between SBC and Candle Stick Parks. More information on the Public Art Trail available here: http://www.bluegreenway.org/ArtTrail.html

A long time contributor to the Burning Man event, Pepe was born in Argentina and came to San Francisco in 1975. More information on this subject is available at : http://artnetwork.com/GangaMa/pepebio.html

The 'Dreamer' will occupy a space across from the De Young, just west of the Rose Garden in Golden Gate Park along JFK Drive between the 10th Avenue and Park Presidio entrances. An opening dedication for 'our purple friend' is in the works, with particulars coming your way soon.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Imagine the Way! There is Hope!

And this hope may be most effectively embodied in Pepe Ozan's 'Monicacos de Esperanza'. These ever-playful "Rag Puppets of Hope" have made their way down to San Francisco's India Basin Shoreline Park as a part of the new Blue Greenway -- a 13 mile greenway/waterway network along SF's southern waterfront between China Basin and Candlestick Park. Three pilot sites along the way incorporate temporary public art into this new pedestrian and bicycle path put forward by the Liveable City Initiative and the Neighborhood Parks Council.

In developing the new Blue Greenway the Neighborhood Parks Council put out a call for proposals for three sites along the route. The Black Rock Arts Foundation applied in support of three projects, one of which, the 'Monicacos de Esperanza', was chosen for temporary installation. These pieces were originally the recipient of an honorarium from the Burning Man Project, and will be exhibited on the playa at the 2006 event!

A celebration of the launch of the Blue Greenway Public Art Trail will take place this Saturday, June 24th from 11 am - 4 pm.

This free event features an (again, free) community BBQ sponsored by NorCal & the Bayview Rotary Club, music, dance, and circus performances by local artists, SFFD Fire Boat water display, free kayak and birding tours, as well as appearances by member of the SF 49ers & the Goldrush Cheerleaders!

For more information call 415.621.3260, or visit www.sfnpc.org

Monday, June 19, 2006

'Passage' Opening Dedication

June 16th marked the opening dedication of both Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito's sculpture, 'Passage', and the newly rennovated breakwater which is now a public access pier -- Pier 14 allows residents and visitors to San Francisco to walk some 637 feet out into the bay for 360 degrees of stunning views. Without the hard work, bood, sweat, and heart of everyone involved this installation could not have happened. Thanks to all! And congratulations to Dan and Karen, who celebrate both their first wedding anniversary and the first birthday of 'Passage' this weekend!

When 'Passage' was originally installed at Burning Man 2005, Event Founder, Larry Harvey, asked Artist, Dan Das Mann, why the mother and child sculptures were pointed toward the open playa and decidedly away from 'the Man', the effigy which is the namesake of the event. To which Dan replied that the sculptures were leaving Black Rock City, heading out to live their lives in the great big world beyond.

On June 16th the mother and child duo arrived, as if from the sea, on the San Francisco Waterfront!

To mark this momentous occasion, an SF fire boat, like a jubiliant whale, spouts water....

as residents and visitors to San Francisco take the first pubic walk on the newly dedicated Pier 14!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

'Passage' Installation, Act Two

A crew of incredibly dedicated volunteers has been working (literally) day and night to complete the installation of 'Passage' on the SF Waterfront at Mission & Embarcadero. A huge thanks to the cast and crew who have made this feat possible!

Welders Phil and Steve, working on the base of the child figure.

Artist Karen Cusolito and key play Steve 23 consult over the mother's foot.

Rockstar Carpenters Monkey Boy and Brandon knock out the plinth base.

Work is still underway, but a familliar contour is starting to take shape.

The sculpture will open in conjunction with new public access pier (Pier 14) THIS FRIDAY, June 16th, on where Mission St. meets Embarcadero! An 11 a.m. Press Event (open to the public) will inaugurate the site and dedicate the new pier, a former breakwater. At 6 p.m. a Community Dedication with the artists will be followed by a No-Host Bar Reception at nearby Sinbad's. Pirate attire is, of course, optional!

YAAAR! See you there!

Friday, June 09, 2006

'Passage' Installation, Act One

The installation of 'Passage' has begun on the San Francisco Waterfront -- Embarcadero at Pier 14

Passage Site

Mother Figure

Artists Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito
gaining some perspective as one of the Mother's arms is attached.

Mother's arm deftly attached by core crew member Steve 23!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

'Passage' prepares for Installation

That's right! Dan das Mann and Karen Cusolito's monolithic mother and child sculpture, originally created for last year's Burning Man event, 'Passage', has arrived in the East Bay where it is being re-furbished in preparation for temporary six month installation on the San Francisco Waterfront. The exhibition is part of a continuing model put forth by the Black Rock Arts Foundation to install temporary artworks throughout the city. The model hinged on the success of the the temple built last June in Hayes Green by David Best and the Temple Crew, and continued with an initative to bring five works of art originally created for, and debuted at, the Burning Man event between 2001 and 2005.

'Passage' will be installed on the Embarcadero (at Mission) during the second and third weeks of June. The piece will open in concert with the the opening of Pier 14, an old breakwater that has been transformed into a public access pier, on June 16th!

Join us at 6:00 p.m. for a public dedication before we walk over to Sinbad's for a no host reception from 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm to celebrate!

Pictured here is the headless child being prepared by Goat Man Dan for installation.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Exhibitors vs. Makers, not really.

This past weekend at the Maker's Faire was, by all accounts, amazing. The faire itself was a phenomenal success with makers, crafters, and exhibitors from all walks: from Legos, to living mushroom sculptures, to sock creatures, to robotics, to you name it. Present were an amazing and engaged group of people that came together to produce and attend the faire. It was a competent and captive audience ready and willing to live life a little differently than the mainstream -- and ready and willing to do whatever it takes to enact and support that change -- how very refreshing!

From a sea of 'I heart Nerds' t-shirts and 'GeekSquad' men in black came inquisitive folks who were curious about what we were doing, already knew what we were up to and wanted to help, and folks with time or resources to donate. It was an amazing out pouring of support from everyone who asked us questions, to the dedicated volunteers who helped us spread the good word of our mission. Many thanks to everyone involved!

P.S. In a room full of geeks, these ladies had no trouble garnering a little support for the Black Rock Arts Foundation

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Flip Your Lid 2006

Get in bed with
Burning Man founder
Larry Harvey... literally
Let Art Go to Your Head!
A Benefit for the Black Rock Arts Foundation
Thursday, April 27th, 2006

A fund raising event to bring the art and spirit of Burning Man to our communities
FLIP YOUR LID! will be at the supperclub sanfrancisco, a restaurant featuring dining in bed.
Dinner will be served to guests while eclectic performers entertain. Your opportunity now exists to
literally get in bed with Larry Harvey and the senior staff and several artists from Burning Man who
will each host one of the beds.

Guests are encouraged to flip their lids by wearing their own creative chapeaux for the evening to
complement two dozen hats created by artists. The artistic hats will be modeled for auction throughout
dinner that will culminate with a heady lineup of DJs cooking up dessert on the dance floor. The after
dinner dancing and entertainment is an option to support the Foundation if you do not want to dine in bed.

The Black Rock Arts Foundation was created by the founders of Burning Man to support and export the
art and culture of the annual event held in the Nevada desert. During the past year, monumental art works
by David Best and Michael Christian have been temporarily installed in San Francisco at Hayes Green
and Civic Center Plaza. A third work, the 45 foot tall steel sculpture titled “Passage” by Dan Das Mann
and Karen Cusolito is in the process of installation at Pier 14 on the Embarcadero.

Here is your chance to climb in bed and share a bottle of bubbly with one of these creative characters:
Burning Man founder Larry Harvey, Danger Ranger, LadyBee, Maid Marian Goodell, Harley K. DuBois,
Crimson Rose & Will Roger, actiongrl Andie Grace, artists David Best, Chicken John, or Dicky of Dicky
Box. With which one you ask? It’s a game of chance as names will be drawn at random from a hat!

Event Details and Ticket Information:
Thursday, April 27th at the supperclub, 657 Harrison Street, San Francisco.
Tickets are available online at: www.donatetoblackrockarts.org
For more information, visit the web address or call 415.626.1248
Black Rock Arts Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit.
Tickets (with a value over $60) are tax-deductible.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


LET ART GO TO YOUR HEAD! A benefit for the Black Rock Arts Foundation.

That's right, a benefit. We are working hard to raise funds to support both our 2006 Nationwide Grant Cycle, and the installation of Dan Dasmann and Karen Cusolito's piece, 'Passage,' on the San Francisco Waterfront, and you can help!

The supperclub san francisco, one of SOMA's newest and most singular night spots, has graciously donated their incredible space for an unforgettable evening full of fine food, drink, and performance to benefit BRAF. It's gonna be good. A whole host of local artists and designers have offered to create an assortment of 'art hats' for auction at the event -- some names you might recognize? Michael Christian? Dicky of Dicky Box Fame? And you'll have the chance to bed down with the likes of Larry Harvey, Maid Marian Goodell, Ever Heady Harley K DuBois, Actiongrl Andie Grace, Naked Fire Goddess Crimson Rose, Will 'Mr. Klean' Roger, Burning Man Art Curator Lady Bee, Artist David Best, and more!

The ticket prices are tiered. And yes, some of them are expensive, because (cold hard truth) we are trying to raise money!

1) The evening begins with a delightful, intimate, well-heeled cocktail hour in the Bar Rouge.
2) As guests arrive we'll move to the Salle Neige where folks will bed down and get comfortable as a 5 course dinner is served, the duration of which will be peppered with modeled hats on auction and entertainment hosted by $teven Ra$pa, featuring: Janine Fondiller of Xeno, Soprano Marisa Lenhardt, Ouchy the Clown of the Porn Clown Posse, and an extraordinary array of amazing aerialists, thrilling performers and magnificent musicians.
3) Once the auction closes we'll get the dance floor moving at 11:00 p.m. with some of your favorite Black Rock City DJs, including Michael Anthony & The Late Night Sneaky, Laird (Get Yer Freak On!), Alibi (House of Lotus), Smoove (Space Cowboys & News Breaks) and Syd Gris (Opel/Opulent Temple).

Tickets range in price from $250 - $30 and we hope we have found a little something for eveyone in this line up!
So, find a fine frock, put a hat on your head, and join us! April 27th at the supperclub san fancisco at 657 Harrison Street.

Tickets are going like hotcakes! Tickets and venue space are sure to sell out! Get yours now!
Visit: http://www.donatetoblackrockarts.org/flyolifuap27.html

Swap-o-rama-rama at the Faire

THIS JUST IN! One of our 2005 granted projects, SWAP-O-RAMA-RAMA, will be featured at the Maker's Faire!

Swap-o-rama-rama addresses America's endless quest for "more" and "new," as spurred on by the fashion industry's commodification of individual image through the imposition of spending brackets and prescribed choices. Through a collaborative process Swap-o-rama-rama participants will be invited to essentially re-design and re-brand already existing clothing. The do-it-yourself process will encourage the individuality and creativity that was once innate in clothing design and manufacture before the craft became subsumed by industry and the machine.

The Swap-o-rama-rama craze was spawned by Wendy Tremayne in New York City, where it met with amazing success. Hundreds of participants showed up for the swaps, thousands of pounds of clothing were transformed into wearable works of art (while simultaneously being diverted from the waste stream), and all the leftover vestments were donated to local women's shelters.

Swap-o-rama-rama is now not only in 11 cities nationwide, but is embarking on a new program to teach the just-off-the-street-families in these shelters how to turn leftover garments into quilted blankets for their new home off the streets. Then just before these families move on, they will have the opportunity to make a blanket for the family taking their place in the shelter -- a first chance to give!

For more information on what to expect, what to bring, and how YOU can PARTICIPATE, check out the Swap-o-rama-rama website at: http://www.swaporamarama.org/makerfaire.htm

Friday, April 07, 2006

BRAF at the Maker's Faire

Tired of mass produced plastic crap? Got a DIY attitude? Join the Black Rock Arts Foundation, the creators of MAKE magazine, the MythBusters, and a whole host of other Do-It-Yourself enthusiasts for the first ever Maker's Faire, April 22nd-23rd in San Mateo, CA.

Come meet, greet and learn from all kinds of people who make all sorts of amazing things in their own backyars, garages, basements, vacant lots, or wherever else space permits. Families, students and teachers of all ages, folks who want to stop buying and start making, are all encouraged to come!

BRAF will be talking to folks about, among other things, our upcoming 'Recycled Art Garden' -- a city wide initiative to encourage people to reuse and recycle through the creation and exhibition of art made entirely from recycled, reused, or repurposed materials. Stay tuned for more information on this incredible project... Or better yet, stop by and see us at the Maker's Faire!

Check it out! http://makezine.com/faire/

Monday, April 03, 2006

Sneak Preview - "The Temple Builder"

Benefit the Black Rock Arts Foundation and...

Join us for a sneak preview of Mike Wilson's, "The Temple Builder," on Wednesday, April 19th 2006 at the historic Victoria Theater in San Francisco's Mission District. The Santa Cruz Film Festival, the Film Arts Foundation, and the Black Rock Arts Foundation will co-present a screening of "The Temple Builder" and "Beyond Black Rock" on April 19th. For those who haven't had a chance to check out "Beyond Black Rock", this is a great opportunity to catch it in a fully immersive theatrical venue... Plus, be the very first to check out Gone Off Deep/Purple Productions' "The Temple Builder". Producer Mike Wilson will be in attendance.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 19th
WHERE: Victoria Theater, SF / 2961 16th Street, San Francisco
WHAT: 7:00 PM “Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock" Screening & 9:30 PM Special Sneak Preview of "The Temple Builder"

* TICKETS $12 for either film OR $20 DOUBLE FEATURE! *

For more information please visit: http://www.blackrockarts.org/templebuilder.html

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Ignition NW -- Temple of Dawn

The creation of Ignition NW was spawned over the last several years as some of the 3,000 people from the Pacific Northwest who attend Burning Man each year have come together and developed a thriving, year-round arts community. Ignition NW
was formed over a series of conversations which looked at what the needs and desires of the community were, and what vehicle would best carry them out. Only recently has the group galvanized to form this hot-off-the-presses non-profit which has a board of eleven members that were elected in August 2005, and approximately 230 voting members to date.

Invited, in part, by Randy Engstrom, President of the Board and Executive Director of the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, a contingency of BRAF minded folks from California and Michigan attended Ignition NW's most recent Town Hall Meeting, held this past Monday, March 27th. Having just been called to order the meeting hall quickly went silent in acknowledgement of the 7 young people killed on Capitol Hill over the weekend. Grief counseling materials were made available to all, as at least one of the victims was a 'burner' and others had ties to the community.

As some 300 wet eyes were wiped dry the meeting continued with a presentation of what the Black Rock Arts Foundation has been doing. The presentation culminated with few words by artist and BRAF board member, David Best. David consoled the community while simultaneously inspiring them to act now, and to build a monument, a temple, a public memorial to the 8 young lives lost. He used examples from his experience building temples for the Burning Man event. He talked about the importance of moving through one's grief, yet not letting go of memory -- of working and weeping.

By meetings end a group had come together that was committed to building a temple to those lost on Capitol Hill -- a fundraiser date had been set (Saturday, April 1st), and at least $638.00 had been raised. Since then, the group has been working with David Best and the City of Seattle to confirm a design and a site for the temple; local construction companies have reportedly been offering their resources and services in support of the build. This is truly an incomparable group of people working to both heal, and better, their own community. Seattle, I salute you.

For more information on Ignition NW, including details on the projected temple build, please visit:

There are also a couple paypal accounts set up-
1) For the survivors and family: 2112relief@gmail
2) For the temple project: 2112templefund@gmail

Youngstown Cultural Arts Center

As our tour of this non-stop-coffee-riddled town continued we found ourselves in the halls of the newly completed Youngstown Cultural Arts Center -- an accessible, multicultural, affordable arts center which will annually serve about 75,000 people. A renovated school building, this four story building dates back to 1917 and houses 3 stories of artist live/work space (with rents based on the median income of the tenant!) on top of a ground floor chock full of facilities -- from a 150-seat theater, to a media lab, recording studio, workshop, movement studio, dressing rooms, kitchen, and classrooms -- all of which are available for rental to the public at exceedingly affordable rates! The space has already been used to, among other things, host a youth poetry slam which created a safe place for youth of widely varying backgrounds to make themselves vulnerable as they spoke eloquently about issues close to their hearts, homes, and realities.

To find out more about the renovation that transformed the Cooper School into the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, visit:

And form information on the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center as its current incarnation visit:

Rainier Vista Central Park

After having visited the incredible folks in Portland we made our way to the snow cap mountain encrusted town of Seattle. We came, as a large contingency representative of the Black Rock Arts Foundation, to see just what the movers and shakers in this neck of the woods were movin' and shakin'. We were treated to a tour of Rainier Vista, a new housing project which may prove to be the most culturally diverse neighborhood in the country. Our guide, Brenna, mentions "27 languages are spoken here," as a woman from Senegal, wrapped in a paradox of traditional fabric and stereotypically western fashion, passes beneath newly blossomed cherry trees as she saunters the length of a central park.

We are here because of this park, whose construction has been halted by a lack of funds. Much of the cement has been poured, but that's about it. The basketball courts, tetherball court, and play areas are all still just a myth surrounded by hurricane fencing. However, the Seattle Housing Authority, in conjunction with other neighborhood partners, aims to raise funds to complete the Rainier Vista Central Park by summer's end. And some of our friends in the region are looking at the possibility of installing some community based/created interactive artwork in the area. Very interesting indeed!

City Repair, PDX

The Black Rock Arts Foundation has been looking for other organizations in pursuit of a similar mission. And this time around, it just so happens they found us! We were so intrigued by Ben Dantoni and the work of City Repair in Portland, that we had to take a trip to parts north, and see what they were all about. Turns out, they're about many of the same things as the Black Rock Arts Foundations. They're reclaiming public space through interactive community efforts. They're actively creating spaces for people to interact with one another, their community, and their environment. They're using environmentally sound practices to create permanent installations throughout the city -- much like the ones you see here.

Top image: Life House, a memorial to a bicyclist.
This Life House was built to commemorate the needless death of a cyclist whose life was taken when a delivery truck ran a stop sign at this very intersection. The windows in the Life House are made from tricycle wheels artistically embedded with glass; in the evening the house lights up with solar power which has been culled throughout the day from a solar panel mounted on a bicycle fork which encourages passers by to track the sun throughout the day. The piece, built on private property with the consent of the home owner, also features a bench carved out of the retaining wall and covered with a colorful mosaic crafted from tile, old chain rings, and bicycle pedals.

Bottom image: Sunnyside Piazza.
Born of an intersection repair project at SE 33rd and Yamhill this fountain shrine to Sunnyside Piazza captures the vibrant colors which radiate out from this intersection and onto neighborhood houses!

For more information, check out http://www.cityrepair.org/ City Repair now exists in 11 cities, maybe yours is one of them!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Make Way for 'Passage'

Now that 'Flock' has come down, it is of course, time to put a new installation in place. As part of the continuing effort to peppper our hometown of San Francisco with art first created for the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, we are pleased to bring you 'Passage,' by Dan Dasmann and Karen Cusolito. At the tail end of February Leslie, myself, and a whole host of supportive speakers paid a visit to the Port Authority in an effort to secure approval for the placement of this incredible sculpture along the San Francisco Waterfront! and... SUCCESS!!

'Passage' will be exhibited along the Embarcadero, just north of Pier 14 (roughly where Mission Street meets the Embarcadero), for a period of six months beginningin early June!! The dedication of 'Passage' is slated to coincide with the opening of Pier 14 as a new pedestrian access pier which will allow folks to walk several hundred feet out into the bay and view the piece from yet another perspective.

Those that remember this well-loved piece from the 2005 Burning Man event may be curious to know that the flame effects used in the desert WILL NOT be present as a part of this installation -- liquid fire and the bay waters just are not going to get along, nor are they going to get through the permitting process. That said, if you're curious about a few of the logisitcs surrounding the initial installation on the playa you may want to have a listen to the following Chronicle Podcast which captures an interview with the artists.


Flock's Final Migration

It's been just about a month since Michael Christian's 'Flock' migrated from SF Civic Center back to the East Bay where the sculpture will be readied for permanent installation at the di Rosa Preserve -- a 217 acre spread featuring three galleries and a 35 acre sculpture garden at the base of the Sonoma and Napa Valleys.

On the first day of the de-installation, when we were gathered around the back of the truck for lunch, we witnessed a homeless man pulling up with a shopping cart. He stopped just short of us and sifted something out – it was one of the signs originally placed at the base of the sculpture, which read, Please to not Climb or Play on the Sculpture. He had fished it out of the garbage and put it back on site where it belonged, and that pretty much said it all. Here was this homeless man tending to our ‘Flock’, taking pride in the bit of civic space that he inhabits, and contributing to the success and longevity of the exhibition. Out of gratitude we fixed him a sandwich and sent him on his way with a soda and some nice lemon cookies.