Monday, March 30, 2009


The Black Rock Arts Foundation is proud to announce the exhibition of Celtic Forest by Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schomberg.

Celtic Forest at BRAF's 2008 gala: ARTumnal Gathering photo: Camera Girl

Celtic Forest as seen at Burning Man 2008
RENO, NV – Previously exhibited at Burning Man in 2008, “Celtic Forest: Book of the Raven” will soon transform an empty lot into a dramatic interactive art installation, performance venue and community gathering spot. Its presentation is unique, not only in its materials of metal and fire, but also in its scale and artistic vision. Celtic Forest was conceptualized by Laura Kimpton and created by artists Jeff Schomberg, Antonio Ruperto, and Bob Hofmann.

This temporary installation by the river features a 16-foot tall, steel and copper book entitled “The Book of the Raven”, three 10-foor tall sculptures, and three 20-foot tall flaming metal trees called “Treelabra’s”. Fire Special Effects will light up the night sky while fire dancers and spinners from Controlled Burn will surround the Forest creating an evening spectacle never before presented in downtown Reno.

This outdoor exhibit will run July 1 through December 1, 2009

Celtic Forest is an environment where the elements of nature, earth, wind, water, and fire, literally and figuratively represented, are balanced with the human senses. Each of the Gods/Goddesses are surrounded by moats representing an element – and all moats will represent fire. The sculptures created by Antonio Ruperto are: the Goddess of Air, Belissima; the Goddess of Water, the Mermaid Boann; and the God of Earth, the Centaur. The moats house metal books, each with a title. Artist Laura Kimpton states, “We hope to create a Celtic place where you can break free from the voice of words, so that other voices, the voice of sight, the voices of intuition, smell, and nature – can be heard and celebrated. The sculptures are half-human and half-animal, bird or fish, symbolizing that we need to tune into the animal side of our nature…”

While embracing many “new age” systems of our era, Laura Kimpton became especially interested in the largest social art experiment of our time, Burning Man. In 2007 and 2008, Laura Kimpton, Jeff Schomberg, and Bob Hofmann received Burning Man Honoree Grants to help build “Celtic Forest”.

Various parts of Celtic Forest have since been exhibited in Museums, Art Galleries, and Benefits, including: “Close to the Flame” Museum of Art & History, Santa Cruz, CA; “Burning Words” Exhibition, Laura Kimpton & Jeff Schomberg, NY Studio Gallery, New York; “Bringing Back the Fire”, Santa Rosa Junior College Art Gallery, Santa Rosa, CA; “Treelabra” Site Installation, Forest Ethics Benefit, supperclub, San Francisco; and “In Flight” Site Installation, Project One Gallery, San Francisco.

“This is the second Burning Man art installation to come to Reno through the collaboration of the Civic Art Program of the Black Rock Arts Foundation, the non-profit art organization of Burning Man, and The City of Reno Arts and Culture Commission’s grant program. “Celtic Forest: Book of the Raven” supports the mission of the Reno Arts program to involve its citizens in the community's cultural life and encourage artistic excellence,” said Maria Partridge, Reno project liaison for BRAF.

To make a DONATION to this project.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

His & Her: Line in the Middle

His & Her: Line in the Middle photo: Jaz Fabry

video: Jeff Schomberg
Laura Kimpton photo: Toohip Tobesquare

Laura Kimpton photo: Jaz Fabry
Laura Kimpton photo: Jaz Fabry Laura Kimpton photo: Jaz Fabry

Jeff Schomberg photo: Jaz Fabry
Jeff Schomberg photo: Giamma

Jeff Schomberg photo: affinity

His & Her: Line in the Middle
Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schomberg
Project One Gallery
251 Rhode Island, San Francisco

March 18-April 18, 2009

Open: Happy hour: M-F, 5pm - 8pm

We went to the opening of this show and it was fabulous. Jeff's work is scuptural, dimensional, with clean lines and yet rustic and open. Laura's work is varied, definite, thoughtful and I especially loved seeing her use of the encaustic method which was new to me.

Stop by and have a drink, view this work which is more impactful seen together than if seen alone. It is beautifully curated by Brooke Waterhouse and I loved the new art/club space Project One.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Detroit Dream Project Speaks at the Regional Summit

The wedding at the dedication of the Temple

In June 2008 the Detroit Dream Project was built, and is one of BRAF’s Civic Arts Program recipients. In 2007 BRAF granted them $15,000 and the Detroit Burners were charged to raise the matching $15,000 that was needed to build a temple on an empty lot in Detroit where a crack house once stood. But the process began long before that grant. You have read a lot about the Detroit Dream Project in our blog.

At the Burning Man Regional Leadership Summit, Cynthia “Cooky” Jones and Willie from Chicago talked about that process and here is the project's written summary:

The Michagan Burning Man group represented by their community non-profit (SPARC) in conjunction with the Black Rock Arts Foundation (providing critical grant funding and support), David Best (temple artist), and the Motor City Blight Busters (local non-profit partner, land owner) built a Temple to the American Dream in June 2008 in northwest Detroit, Michigan.

This project began as a dream inspired by Burning Man art projects and our desire to build locally on February 10, 2005. The project encountered numerous issues along the way including materials, design, and a very difficult economy. Despite delays and road blocks the project team perservered, BRAF maintained their commitment and the land owners and community maintained their support and belief that the Temple would eventually be built. After years of dreaming, two years of planning and fundraising, a major design change, and a great deal of sweat, the Temple of the Amercian Dream was completed June 20, 2008.

SPARC and the Michigan Burning Man Community's project commitment is on-going. The Temple's current physical incarnation is hoped to last until summer 2013 (5 years) minimum; its life ccle will be weather dependant and this design is previously untested in a mid-western winter. Future art, gardens and upkeep for this site will be developed collaboratively with the local community, the local kids are project "PAWZ", and the local Burners. We have formed friendships and partners in the long days of a very difficult project.

Like the ripples of a rock tossed in a pond, the results of this project go far beyond the Temple. We hope that most of the ripples are positive like the wedding that occurred on the Temple dedication day, the coat drive for the homeless held on site on a frigid dark December Day, and the many smiles, hugs and tears that have been shared there, and the growth and lessons that we learned along the way.

Community was created around this project in several different ways. At the beginning of the project it became clear that a local non-profit was needed so they created SPARC, The Society to promote Art and Recreation in the Community.

The fundraising aspect of the project was long and arduous. Cooky tells us that at many junctures it seemed hopeless, that the locals would never accept influences from California, that there was no local money to be raised and raising the money in dribbles and dabs was painful, but she knew the day a homeless man gave her $20 for the Temple that there was no going back and that a temple must be built.

In addition, the Burning Man community in Detroit and the other Temple supporters became connected with Detroit Blight Busters, and the dedication of the Temple is timed to coincide with Blight Busters 20th anniversary.
In the fall of 2008, an arsonist burnt a small portion of the Temple. The neighbors caught the arsonist and put out the fire, and it became clear that now the Temple now belongs to the neighborhood.

The community continues to support the Temple.

March 28, 2009
Spring Clean-up
Saturday March 28
10:00 AM
coinciding with the Detroit Project Day that brings over 1,000 University of Michigan students to Detroit to help in clean-up efforts throughout Northwest Detroit. Please wear “gardening” clothes including gloves & dress for the weather. We’ll do our first post-winter park clean-up to freshen up the site. Trash bags will be provided. Feel free to bring beverages or snacks to share.

Previous posts:

photo: Fuzzytek Photography LLC - All Rights Reserved

Saturday, March 21, 2009

BRAF Goes to the Burning Man Regional Leadership Summit

Josie, Black Rock Arts Foundation
affinity and Tomas in between sessions at the Regional Summit

Several weeks ago, Tomas McCabe, BRAF's Executive Director, BRAF's Josie Schimke, Program and Development Assistant and I, affinity, BRAF's Social Network Coordinator, (and registrar for the Summit) had the privilege of attending the Burning Man Regional Leadership Conference here in San Francisco. It was exciting to be with people from across the globe who were looking forward to being here to learn and share information about being a Regional Leader. We were thrilled to meet many people that we had corresponded with but never met.

There were brainstorming sessions, social networking, public relations, conflict resolution, event production, building community and a host of other lectures and workshops, all with the goal of creating a stronger regional network. Tomas, Josie and I learned a lot during the weekend, but our favorite part was when 2 separate regional groups, that were BRAF grant recipients in 2008, got up to tell the stories of how they brought public, interactive art to their regions. I am going to tell you more about those stories in a different post but first I am going to tell you what the Jack Rabbit Speaks had to say about the Regional Leadership Summit:

We recently finished up our 3rd annual Regional Network Leadership Summit ...Nearly 100 attendees (including Regional Contacts and other leaders from local communities who were welcomed as invited guests) from across the country and the globe joined us at Burning Man Headquarters for a weekend full (and we do mean FULL) of discussion, brainstorming, collaboration, presentations, creativity, and socializing -- all about how to take their experiences with Burning Man and share them with the rest of the world all year long. The place was downright packed, and the vibe positively electric with ideas arcing across the room, and people connecting to collaborate on projects larger than the sum of their parts. Imagine a really boring conference...only you're all talking about REALLY COOL STUFF, and everyone around you is incredibly interesting, it's actually NOT BORING. Through workshops, roundtable discussions, and a whole lot of socializing in the halls, the themes of leadership and connecting our participatory culture were explored, expounded upon, and examined. If you're curious to hear more, ask your local Regional Contact, if you have one in your area, whether or not he/she went. It was great to have a nice jolt of inspiration right at the Burnal Equinox, when the apex of our annual cycle's orbit takes us the "farthest" from the playa.

photos thanks to: and

Monday, March 16, 2009

"His & Her" Line in the Middle

His & Her Line in the Middle
Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schomberg

Opening Reception:
March 18th, 6pm
Project One Gallery
251 Rhode Island, San Francisco
March 18-April 18, 2009

“His & Her: Line in the Middle” represents the first time Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schomberg are exhibiting their own unique art, side by side, and not as a collaboration. Figuratively and metaphorically, they are drawing a line between their individual artistic styles. There is a strong contrast of visual style present in their artwork -- Kimpton’s conceptual-based encaustic panels on one side, and Schomberg’s metallic steel sculptures on the other. The strength and power of the exhibition is the coming together two diverse artistic worlds in a separate context. The exhibition presents visually a logical evolution of their individual artistic style, talent, and philosophy. Artistically, they have grown together in creative collaboration, and now in this breakout exhibition, all that separates their art is a thin “Line in the Middle”.

Laura Kimpton has been widely exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The two artists have collaborated on several major art installations over the past five years. Kimpton/Schomberg collaborative sculptures have been featured in exhibitions for galleries, museums, benefits, and public spaces. Together they have received three prestigious Art Grants for site installations at Burning Man in Nevada. Their collaborative work is varied and includes welded steel and found object creations conceptualized by Kimpton and built by Schomberg. Their large sculptures were often part of colossal installations and included dramatic elements of fire and water. Many of these acclaimed sculptures are now in private collections.

Exhibit Curated by Brooke Waterhouse, Project One
Press Release Written by Jaz Fabry, Art Advisor

Linda Gass at the De Young

Freddy Hahne, President of the Black Rock Arts Foundation Board of Directors went to hear Linda Gass speak at the most recent Friday Nights at the De Young, where she spoke on “Radical Self-Expression: The Costumes of Burning Man,” and he made a video of a portion of her talk.

Check it out!

Linda Gass lecture on Burning Man costumes at the DeYoung from Freddy Hahne on Vimeo.

photo: Veeyawn

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Linda Gass at the De Young

Black Rock Arts Foundation Advisory Board Member, Linda Gass is speaking at the DeYoung Museum tonight. Linda spoke at our exciting Elemental Interactions Evening: WATER!, and we found her to be a passionate, entertaining speaker.

Friday Nights at the De Young
Koret Auditorium
7:00 p.m.

Lecture: “Radical Self-Expression: The Costumes of Burning Man,” by Linda Gass, who makes art informed by her activist passions. As an artist, she hopes to use the lure of beauty in her work to encourage people to look at the hard issues confronting us.

Thanks to Janet Scheuer and Melissa Alexander for this suggestion

photo: Rob Steiner

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Serpent Mother and Homouroboros

Serpent Mother at Opulent Temple's "Massive" on Friday Night photo: poetrosakranse
Serpent Mother: photo by eeetthaannn
The Monkeys were on break but it was great to see them, we have missed you Homouroboros

It was great to see Serpent Mother and Homouroboros in their current home!
prior posts:

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

MAKE Blogging BRAF's 2009 Grant Program

2008 Grantee Recipient - Primal Source

Our friends over at MAKE Magazine have included a shout out about our 2009 Grant Application Deadline, which is March 13, 2009.

So check it out and thanks so much from our blog to yours...

For more information about 2009 Grants to Artists Program:

Previous posts:

Homouroboros - The Monkeys are Back

Have you been missing the Monkeys, I know I have. It is almost spring and time for a visit from Homouroboros. So I hear they will be making a special appearance at Opulent Temple Massive this Friday Night at Treasure Island:

Opulent Temple Massive
200 California Ave
Treasure Island
San Francisco, CA

previous posts:
photo: Cherry Lakey

Meet our Grantees - Serpent Mother

The ‘Serpent Mother' is taking over Treasure Island. Serpent Mother is a 168-foot long metal sculpture of a skeletal snake coiled around her egg. Propane fed fire travels the length of her spine, erupting in 41 ‘poofers’ at the top of each hand-fabricated vertebrae. Her articulated head reaches a height f 30-foot and her hydraulically activated jaws open and close based on participant interaction. The space she creates with her coiled form can accommodate over 1,000 people.

Originally created for Burning Man 2006, in 2007 the Black Rock Arts Foundation provided a grant to help Serpent Mother travel for exhibition at both the Crucible’s 'Fire Arts Festival’ in Oakland, CA July 11 – 14, 2007 and Amsterdam’s international art and technology festival, Robodock 2007. The grant from the Black Rock Arts Foundation was designed to help cover modification costs incurred to meet exhibition requirements. The ‘Serpent Mother,’ created by The Flaming Lotus Girls, an artist’s collective conceived to teach women metal arts, defines the cutting edge of fire and kinetic art and the Black Rock Arts Foundation was proud to be a part of the endeavor to share this spectacular sculpture with new audiences. And now....

Serpent Mother Takes Over Treasure Island!

What: Serpent Mother Art Opening

When: Friday march 6th all night and
Saturday, March 7th 2009 7pm-midnight

Where: 200 California Ave., Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA, 94130

Links: Flaming Lotus Girls

The Flaming Lotus Girls transform Treasure Island into a reptilian wilderness with their first ever public installation of their interactive, kinetic sculpture, a magnificent installation of a 168' skeletal stainless steel snake. Serpent Mother will rear her giant head on the Island for the weekend of Friday and Saturday, March 6th and 7th 2009.

On Friday March 6th, the Serpent commands the floor at an all-night party hosted by Opulent Temple and featuring the world-famous DJ Carl Cox.

On Saturday March 7th, the Serpent will light up the Bay in a fun and free art exhibition from 7PM-midnight.

Come see for yourself: there has never been a sculpture like the Serpent Mother. Her 168' long stainless steel spine coils around the massive space, while her 20' long neck and massive head tower over her audience. The audience takes control, however, by directing her movement, raising her hydraulically-actuated neck and opening her fanged mouth. Full audience participation makes each installation a singular experience - come make it happen.

The Flaming Lotus Girls The Flaming Lotus Girls are a female-driven group of artists making kinetic, mechanical fire art. Their mission is to create monumental works of interactive art through a collaborative process. Their vision is to empower women to learn new skills and become experienced, talented and active artists in their own right. In the past they have premiered their work at Burning Man and then bring the pieces to a civic audience afterwards. Their work is a combination of sculptural arts, kinetics, robotics, electronics, and fire engineering - is designed collaboratively; made collaboratively. They create interactive large-scale fire installations that engages viewers and invite them to become part of the art. For over 9 years, the Flaming Lotus Girls have presented installations nationally and internationally. interactive fire sculptures inspired by the Pleiades constellation.

For more information, please visit their website at:
Flaming Lotus Girls

*Serpent Mother Art Opening*
Saturday March 7th 2009
200 California Ave
Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA,

Photo © Tristan Savatier - All Rights Reserved