Sunday, May 31, 2009

Escombros Vivos (Live Debris)

Escombros Vivos (Live Debris)
Taylor Cass Stevenson
Portland, OR and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Another of our 2009 Grants-to-Artists recipients, Escombros Vivos is a traveling series of events and installations dedicated to sharing and establishing new reuse traditions in Portland, Oregon and Rio de Janeiro. In exchanging practices that promote experimentation with reused materials, the project ultimately aims to dissolve stigmas both against garbage and the people who live and work in our garbage, presenting creative reuse as a means of also reintegrating excluded communities.

Escombros Vivos works in collaboration with local artists, reuse groups and homeless and low income communities in Portland and Rio to demonstrate international reuse techniques and practices through free workshops, materials exchange parties, trash-based public installations and exhibitions of collaborative art engaging all walks of life.

The exhibitions include works of reuse art and design that were started in the green city of Portland, Oregon and taken to Rio de Janeiro, where Brazilian artists are physically and philosophically modifying the works to express their more polemic and necessity-based attitudes towards humanity’s discards. The finished collaborative works will then return to Portland Oregon for a final event demonstrating innovative Brazilian reuse techniques to Portlanders.

Monday, May 25, 2009

East Hollywood Utility Box Art Project

East Hollywood Utility Box Art Project
Karen Mack
Los Angeles, CA

The Utility Box Art Project, is the next of our 2009 grant recipients and is a guided collaboration and mentorship program, pairing artists with youth to design and create murals on utility boxes. The team first conducts a neighborhood mapping process in which the artist and youth study neighborhood issues and gather input from residents. The youth interview a broad range of locals to further their understanding of the community and the theme. After an issue is selected, the youth and artist hold story-gathering workshops – including the new on-site component - in which community members contribute images, words and ideas to support the development of the final artwork.

Each project concludes with a community celebration that coincides with an important local event. The celebration provides the opportunity for the community to gather to support its success, to connect to each other and to acknowledge the work of the artists (youth and mentors) and community members who created the work. Audience members include visitors
from other Los Angeles neighborhoods, who come to experience the final artistic creations.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Detroit Dream Project - Progress Report

During clean up Doxie noticed Bud-e one of our resident poets secretly installed the name plate designed last summer during the Temple build. Thank you Bud-e!
After the arson attempt last fall the pillar was cleaned up and spare pieces affixed, not to cover the damage, but illustrate how the the Detroit Dream Project is a Phoenix from the ashes and is proof of our overall resiliency

SailorMan" Chris Ahart helps to clean up the area around the Temple during our Spring Clean Up
All but a few saplings made it through the rough Michigan winter and were budding - getting ready to burst into life
Just in from our woman in the street in Detroit, Danielle Kaltz (Doxie), reporting to us that one of the Detroit Burners, Jeremy Hockett says his friend, Phill from Seattle is a contributor to a new magazine Just Cause, and the Detroit Dream Project, which is part of our Civic Arts Program, and was designed by BRAF board member, David Best, is featured on Page 39 as part of a story on the Motor City Blight Busters.

The photos above are from the Spring Clean-up Saturday March 28 10:00 AM. The clean up day coincided 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. As you can see, the participants did a first post-winter park clean-up to freshen up the site.

Thanks from us at the Black Rock Arts Foundation to all of you in Michigan who are carrying the torch for the Detroit Dream Project.

For Your Calendar:

Saturday June 20 — Sunday June 21: plans underway for our 1st Anniversary Celebration!

Saturday July 18 — The Temple (the Detroit Dream Project) is the host site for Burners Without Borders Detroit Chapter “Benefit without Borders” Volunteer Event

Contact for BWB Detroit: Danielle Kaltz ( 313.608.4580).
And Doxie says:
Remember, the Detroit Dream Project belongs to all of us.

Together we
will shape how this new artistic pavillion

Previous Detroit Dream Project posts
photos and commentary: Danielle Kaltz (Doxie)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Raising Environmental Awareness for Water Through Textile Art

This just in from artist and environmental water activist, Linda Gass:

Dear Friends,
I'll be giving a presentation entitled "Raising
Environmental Awareness for Water through Textile Art"

Sunday, May 17th,
from 2-4 PM

as part of a special program at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

Also presenting is Adam Parris, from the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, speaking on "The Rising Tide - Climate Change and San Francisco Bay Wetlands."

This special program is in conjunction with the new exhibit entitled "Reservoir," featuring extraordinary contemporary quilts from the private collection of John Walsh III. Walsh is the owner of a water purification business and his recent focus is on commissioning quilts dealing with the subject of water. I had a chance to see the exhibit last Sunday and there are many magnificent large artworks (not all on water).

The event admission is $20 ($15 for museum members) and your dollars will help support this unique textile museum and includes admission to see the exhibit.

408-971-0323 x14.

The museum is located at 520 S. First Street in San Jose.


Another of BRAF's 2009 Grant Recipients:

Benjamin Jones
Brooklyn, NY

Discarded is a wooden creature crafted entirely from furniture discarded on the streets of Brooklyn. The creature stands roughly 30’ long x 7’ wide x 8’ tall at its highest point. Much of the furniture used is kept, as much as possible, in its original (discarded) form, allowing participants to speculate on the origins of each element and the methodology that went into creating the piece.

While the sidewalks of New York City on trash night are a rich resource of useful items and cultural artifacts, most New Yorkers hold pre-conceived fears of tapping into this resource: practical fears of dirt and vermin, and emotional fears based on the societal perception of welcoming discarded items into our homes. The resulting obsession with new purchases saps the world of natural resources, and the ease of shopping versus crafting creates a psychic distance from our belongings that enables us to acquire and discard at will. By refocusing our communities on the process of foraging and creation, we can help transform our society into one that values originality and sustainability rather than purposeless consumption.

Through community gatherings and workshops, the piece will be a collaborative effort, culminating in exhibition at this year's Figment festival. FIGMENT 2009, held in partnership with the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC), is a 3-day participatory arts event on Governors Island in New York Harbor ( FIGMENT is a project of Action Arts League, and is produced by a coalition of volunteers in partnership with the Pure Project.


It is our favorite time of year at BRAF. Time to announce our 2009 Grant Recipients:

Cardboardia (Cardboard Town Free!)
Sergej Korsakov

Cardboardia 'towns' are temporary, collaboratively built and inhabited towns manifesting in Moscow, Russian, Finland and Germany in the summer of 2009. Carboardia is, in essence, a role playing community, where guests can create a new identity while contributing to the growth of the town, using cardboard as their expressive and artistic medium. Every town created under the Cardboardia title is a place where people can reinvent themselves - where, for a short time, everyone can leave behind their daily worries through new ways of self-expression.

Cardboardia brings together all people of all ages and backgrounds in a conflict free environment. All the participants have the equal significance and room for self expression.

Check out the Carboardia gallery and anthem

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Figment Fundraiser in New York this Friday

May 15, drop anchor and walk the plank at OVERBOARD, an all-night dance party to benefit FIGMENT. For one night only, we will transform a haggard ferry dock into a merry port of call, featuring the siren songs of the city's finest bands, DJs and performers. Maritime, mermaid, sailor, pirate, deep sea creature or other nautical attire is encouraged.

Scuba dive with sonic schools of fish from...DJ D_JUICE
Set yourself adrift to the melodious island stylings of...XYLOPHOLKS (

See for tickets and flyer

Friday, May 15, 2009 at 9:00pm - 4:00am
Battery Maritime Building ferry slip
Street: 10 South St, Slip #7
New York, NY 100041 to South Ferry,

R/W to Whitehall and 4/5 to Bowling Green.