Year in Review – 2014

Black Rock Arts Foundation – Year in Review

Burning Man Arts – To the Future!

2014 marked the culmination of Black Rock Art’s Foundations thirteen years of hard work and growth. After much planning and preparation, BRAF joined forces with Burning Man’s Art Department in July of 2014 to create the new program, Burning Man Arts. The new program will operate under the management of Burning Man Project.

We’re sure this transition sparks a few questions. To learn more, read our F.A.Q. on our transition to Burning Man Arts. In a nutshell, here are a few good things to know:

  • BRAF’s programs will continue under the same rigorous criteria and efficient management that have produced and supported its projects and events.
  • All currently supported projects will receive the funding committed to them.
  • All donations to BRAF, earmarked for specific projects and programs, will still fund those projects and programs.
  • BRAF’s 2015 grant cycle, BRAF’s Grants to Artists program, is already underway as the Global Art Grants program of Burning Man Arts, and will be juried by the same review committee, under the same rubric, as years’ previous.
  • New Civic Arts projects are being considered by the same review committee, and will be supervised by the same BRAF staff that has managed over 25 previous Civic Arts projects.

BRAF was created with the goal of carrying the Burning Man ethos into the world, and to connect like-minded artists with the incredibly resourceful and supportive extended Burning Man community. In 2001, Black Rock Arts Foundation began giving small seed grants to artists and art collectives to make art in their home-town. In 2005, a series of fortuitous circumstances led to the creation of our Civic Arts program.

Over the last thirteen years, BRAF has:

  • Produced or supported over 150 projects
  • Produced or co-produced over 93 events
  • Created a new model of inclusive collaboration that values the input and participation of local citizens, city officials, schools and youth groups, artists collectives, community organizations, volunteers, and the larger Burning Man extended community.
  • Developed a successful fiscal sponsorship program that increases the reach and resources for commendable, like-minded projects and organizations.
  • Cultivated fruitful and meaningful relationships with community partner organizations, such as San Francisco Art Commission, Maker Faire, Exploratorium, Presidio Trust, Illuminate the Arts, Zero One Festival, Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, San Francisco Department of the Environment, San Francisco Recreation and Parks, San Francisco Port Authority, The Crucible, city officials in San Francisco and Oakland, California, Reno and Fernley, Nevada, and other cities, and many more arts and civic organizations.

By pooling the vast resources and connections of Black Rock Arts Foundation, Burning Man Project and Burning Man, Burning Man Arts will be able to support more projects and artists worldwide. Together, we can finally offer our community’s artists the exposure and variety of support they deserve. This joining of forces will allow us to:

  • Offer a unified, streamlined grant application process for all projects destined for the Burning Man event or for other cities, worldwide.
  • Provide more diverse services to artists.
  • Allow donors to contribute to a vast range of artistic endeavors that represent Burning Man’s expressive culture.
  • Produce more interactive, community-driven art projects worldwide.
  • Enlist the eager and available support of the extended Burning Man community.

This is in no way an ending of BRAF’s programming. In fact, we see this transition as our greatest programming accomplishment! The staff of BRAF (now officially employees of Burning Man Project) are motivated and ready to share their expertise and lessons learned with their new team of collaborators, and are looking forward, with great optimism, to a new chapter in the history of public art.

This moment would not have been possible without the generous support of our donors, volunteers, and collaborators. Thank you to all who have stood by BRAF over the years. We encourage you to join us in this next chapter by making a donation to Burning Man Arts.


BRAF Staff’s New Roles

All of the BRAF staff are now employees of Burning Man. Eli Peterson will continue to oversee administration the off-playa (Global Art Grants) program. Joe Meschede, BRAF’s newest employee, will continue to offer administrative support to our public art projects. Josie Schimke will continue to tell the stories of our artists via our monthly artist updates, public relations, and grant-writing.

BRAF Executive Director, Tomas McCabe, will continue as the Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives. In this new role, McCabe will have the opportunity to connect more partners, community members, and potential collaborators with the artists of our community. McCabe’s focus will be on developing special projects and partnerships. McCabe looks forward to connecting BRAF’s and Burning Man’s established supporters with new ventures.

Super-Volunteer Affinity, Program and Development Associate Josie Schimke, and Executive Director Tomas McCabe.

Super-Volunteer Affinity, Program and Development Associate Josie Schimke, and Executive Director Tomas McCabe.



In 2014, BRAF maintained its diverse revenue stream, with almost 64% coming through fee-based program services. The Black Rock Arts Foundation is a financially sound, effective organization that has been managed using non-profit best practices.

Sources of Revenue

BRAF’s largest source of revenue is its contributions portfolio, which is as diverse as the communities that we serve. Most of our revenue was contributed by individuals like you.

2014 Revenue


53% of BRAF’s contributions come from individuals.

2014 Contributions

Functional Expenses

Over 75% of BRAFs expenses were program related in 2014. This means that most of our spending went directly to artists who are creating art in their community, worldwide.

2014 Functional expenses

Program Disbursements
2104 Program Dispersments

Projects and Events

Caruso’s Dream

In February of this year, artists Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn‘s unveiled their piece, And My Room Still Rocks Like a Boat on the Sea (Caruso’s Dream). The work is a permanent site-specific artwork commissioned by Avalon Bay (through a request for proposals organized by BRAF) for its new 17-story residential high-rise at 55 Ninth Street, San Francisco, California.

Caruso's Dream

Caruso’s Dream

Says Goggin of the work, “The whole piece is inspired by this moment when the opera star Enrico Caruso was awakened by the Great Calamity of April 18, 1906, while he was staying at the Palace Hotel. He did not know if he was awake or still dreaming as he was walking to the window to see the results of the ongoing earthquake.”

Opening Reception – February 23, 2014

The Unveiling Happening Event for And My Room Still Rocks Like a Boat on the Sea (Caruso’s Dream) was a spectacle to behold. Artists Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn introduced the work to a crowd of at least 1000. The angelic voices of opera singers soared throughout the city block as aerialists descended from the 18 story high-rise, landing on the sculpture and unveiled it for all to see.

Aerialists at the Unveiling Happening for Caruso's Dream. Photo by Nick Winterhalter.

Aerialists at the Unveiling Happening for Caruso’s Dream. Photo by Nick Winterhalter.


Bay Lights Anniversary – March 6, 2014

The Bay Lights turned one-year-old this March. On its anniversary, the piece went dark for ten minutes. Artist Leo Villareal will led a countdown to the re-lighting at Market Bar in the San Francisco Ferry Building. This event was free and open to the public. In addition, KFOG-FM 104.5 broadcasted the event and with a special 20-minute Bay Lights soundtrack.

The Bay Lights, by BRAF Advisory Board Member Leo Villareal. Photo courtesy of John Curley.

The Bay Lights, by BRAF Advisory Board Member Leo Villareal. Photo courtesy of John Curley.


Illuminated Bike Ride – March 7, 2014

BRAF, the SF Bicycle Coalition and SF Bike Party lit up the streets with this illuminated bike ride. The ride began on the Embarcadero, in front of the “Cupid’s Span” bow-and-arrow sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The group then met up with Ben Davis, the visionary behind the Bay Lights concept, who spoke of Leo Villareal’s monumental contribution to public art. Volunteers from SF Bike Party then led the group on a fun and safe ride through the city with stops to dance and socialize along the way. Participants decorated their bikes with all kinds of L.E.D. and other colored lights, while showing off their illuminated costumes.



Big Art for Small Towns 

This two-year, National Endowment for the Arts (N.E.A.) funded project debuted in 2014 with the installation of all three public artworks and two receptions. In 2012, BRAF and the City of Fernley, Nevada, launched this new initiative. A collaboration with the Burning Man Project, the project was awarded BRAF’s second N.E.A. grant, an Our Town grant, in the amount of $75,000.

Through the Big Art for Small Towns project, BRAF and the Fernley community curated and produced three works of public art: Rockspinner 6, by Zachary Coffin, The Bottlecap Gazebo, by Max Poynton and Andrew Grinberg, and the new, collaboratively created work, Desert Tortoise, by Pan Pantoja and the children of Fernley. The works were installed in July, 2014.

Big Art for Small Towns – Public Preview – March 13, 2014

The City of Fernley and the Black Rock Arts Foundation hosted an informal informational presentation and reception for Big Art for Small Towns. Attendees enjoyed a brief talk by Desert Tortoise artist, Pan Pantoja and a presentation by BRAF representatives on the entire Big Art for Small Towns project. The event coincided with an exhibit of visuals in Fernley’s City Hall.

The Desert Tortoise and Bottlecap Gazebo. Photo by Aric Shapiro.

The Desert Tortoise and Bottlecap Gazebo. Photo by Aric Shapiro.

Big Art for Small Towns Opening Reception – August 7, 2014

The installation and debut of these three public works was cause for celebration, indeed. BRAF hosted a lively Opening Reception for a crowd of 300 community members, featuring art-making activities for kids and adults, aerialist performances, live music, remarks by Burning Man and BRAF Board Member Crimson Rose and by Fernley Mayor LeRoy Goodman.

The Bottlecap Gazebo in Fernley, Nevada. Photo courtesy of Jerry Mansker.

The Bottlecap Gazebo in Fernley, Nevada. Photo courtesy of Jerry Mansker.


2014 Grantees – April 1, 2014

In April, BRAF announced 2014’s BRAF Grants to Artist grantees. This year, the Black Rock Arts Foundation Grants Committee awarded more money than ever, $70,000, to more projects than ever before (15 in total.) Awardees included such diverse and ingenious projects such as:

  • Interactive L.E.D. murals in Bombay and Dharamasala, India
  • Mini art museums made of shipping containers in Oxford, Mississippi
  • A performance/installation illustrating the waveforms of its visitors’ pulses in Barcelona, Spain
  • A spirited and entertaining free fire art festival in Reno, Nevada
  • A thriving, free, and accessible art studio for low-income and homeless artists in San Francisco, California
  • A roaming cabinet of curiosities in Wales, United Kingdom
  • An impressive program of visual, installation, and performance art in Caracas, Venezuela
  • A garden of oversized, glowing flowers, each made from intricately folded plastic, which respond to visitors with motion and sound in San Francisco, California
  • … and more. Read on for complete descriptions of all 15 projects. 
Artists' rendering of 2014 Grantee project, Zen Garden

Artists’ rendering of 2014 Grantee project, Blumen Lumen

BRAF is proud to foster the evolution and growth of these projects, and will continue to report on their progress through Burning Man’s Jack Rabbit Speaks.

2014 Grantee project, Urban Anointments

2014 Grantee project, Urban Anointments


Fiscal Sponsorship

BRAF was founded out of the sincere wish to support, in every way possible, artists who are breaking the traditional mold of public art, who are prioritizing community involvement, and sharing their art with their community in the spirit of generosity and service. With this intent, BRAF launched a fiscal sponsorship program that has supported various public art projects since 2007.

Fiscal Sponsorship of Burning Man Projects – May 9, 2014

When Burning Man transitioned to non-profit status, BRAF was finally able to offer fiscal sponsorship to artists creating work for Black Rock City. BRAF announced this new pilot program and introduced an impressive selection of sponsored projects on May 9, 2014.

Highlights of fiscally sponsored projects included works by Michael Christian, Charlie Smith, and David Best’s Temple.

Artist's rendering of the Temple of Grace

Artist’s rendering of the Temple of Grace

BRAF has been funding off-playa projects since 2001. As the original offspring non-profit organization of the Burning Man event, BRAF recognizes that the art projects shared at the Burning Man event meet and actualize BRAF’s mission to a high degree.

Going forward, supporters are now able to offer tax deductible donations to projects bound for the playa though BRAF. We hope that this creates new fundraising opportunities for worthy and inspired projects such as these.



Sunset Piano Opus 3 – May – September, 2014

Made possible by a grant from the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, The Black Rock Arts Foundation collaborated with artist Mauro ffortissimo to bring his ongoing Sunset Piano project to San Francisco. In this iteration, Sunset Piano Opus 3 placed temporarily places pianos in public places in the Market Street district of San Francisco, California, inviting both local musicians and the general public to play a tune. The results were a harmonious array of dramatic, playful, moving and lively melodies!

The project hosted a total of fourteen events, and will most likely continue the projects next year.

A participant of the Sunset Piano Opus 3 project. Photos of Sunset Piano by Fabrice Florin,  Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY-SA.3.0.

A participant of the Sunset Piano Opus 3 project. Photos of Sunset Piano by Fabrice Florin,
Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY-SA.3.0.


KQED Burning Man Art Beyond the Playa Wins Award – June 14, 2014

The KQED team that produced a segment about the impact of Burning Man art off of the Playa won two awards for their work. On Saturday, June 14th, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded the piece a Northern California Emmy Award and on May 31st, the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club awarded a Greater Bay Area Journalism Award. BRAF congratulates Executive Producer Joanne Elgart Jennings, Producer Lori Halloran, Reporter Thuy Vu, and the rest of the crew.


Future’s Past De-install – July 14, 2014

July saw the deinstall of Kate Raudenbush’s Future’s Past after its two-year stay in Hayes Valley in San Francisco. BRAF was thrilled that it was so welcomed and loved by the local residents, and that its stay was extended for so long. What was meant to be a one-year exhibition was extended to two. Many thanks to the Hayes Valley Arts Coalition, Raudenbush’s crew of tireless workers, all the project’s donors and supporters, and, of course, to Kate Raudenbush for her inspiring work.

Hayes Valley says goodbye to Kate Raudenbush's Future's Past

Hayes Valley says goodbye to Kate Raudenbush’s Future’s Past


Defenestration De-install – July 31, 2014

In July, we had to say goodbye to a beloved work of public art. Defenestration, fiscally sponsored by BRAF in 2010, by Brian Goggin, transformed a San Francisco building into a renowned art site in 1997, and for seventeen years it remained. This multi-disciplinary sculptural mural displayed seemingly animated furniture; tables, chairs, lamps, grandfather clocks, a refrigerator, and couches, their bodies bent like centipedes, fastened to the walls and window-sills, their insect-like legs seeming to grasp the surfaces. Against society’s expectations, these everyday objects flooded out of windows like escapees, out onto available ledges, up and down the walls, onto the fire escapes and off the roof.

Defenestration was created by Brian Goggin with the help of over 100 volunteers, and individual works were restored four years ago with generous community support, including artwork donated by Banksy.

Defenestration by Brian Goggin.

Defenestration by Brian Goggin.



BRAF was proud and pleased to work again with the Flaming Lotus Girls to bring their interactive sculptural installation, Soma, to Pier 14 in San Francisco, California. Originally displayed at Burning Man in 2009, Soma depicts two communicating neurons connected by an axon bridge. A soma is the cell body of a neuron, with branching dendrites projecting away at different angles, and an axon which conducts the nerve signal electrochemically to its neighboring cell. 

Soma translates the anatomy of neurons into metal, fire and light, magnifying the microscopic world to an epic scale. In this urban installation, Soma features interactive LEDs to create a spectacular daytime and nighttime experience.

Soma on Pier 14 in San Francisco. Photo by Jason Chinn.

Soma on Pier 14 in San Francisco. Photo by Jason Chinn.

Soma was BRAF’s third piece installed at the Pier 14 Tidal Plaza on San Francisco’s Embarcadero waterfront. BRAF previously collaborated with the Port of San Francisco in 2007 to bring Passage by Karen Cusolito and Dan Das Mann and in 2010 to bring the Raygun Gothic Rocketship by Sean Orlando, David Shulman, Nathaniel Taylor, Alan Rorie, and the Five Ton Crane crew to the same location.

Soma Opening Reception – August 1, 2014

On August 1, the public was invited to a boisterous celebration of this fantastic large-scale work. The event included special presentation by the Flaming Lotus Girls artists, other special guest speakers, music, dancing, and lighting ceremony.

The Opening Reception Party for Soma at Pier 14. Photo by Katej Brown.

The Opening Reception Party for Soma at Pier 14. Photo by Katej Brown.


BRAF at Burning Man August 25 – September 2, 2014

Once again, BRAF returned to our source of inspiration: Black Rock City. This year, we hosted even more events at the Everywhere Pavillion, including daily panel discussions, receptions, and social event. The highlights of the panel discussions included presentations by BRAF Grantees and a talk by renowned “temple” artist, David Best.

Social gatherings celebrated the many outreach efforts by the affiliate groups: Black Rock Solar, BRAF, Burners Without Borders, and Burning Man’s Global Network. BRAF’s annual cocktail party was a delightful opportunity for BRAF supporters and collaborators to mix and mingle, as well as hear about BRAF’s future as Burning Man Arts.


2014 Grantee project River of Wings at the Everywhere Pavilion at Burning Man, 2014.

2014 Grantee project River of Wings at the Everywhere Pavilion at Burning Man, 2014.


Bike Bridge

In 2012, BRAF received its first N.E.A. grant for the creation and installation of the Bike Bridge. Public art and Burning Man artist Michael Christian was selected from a pool of applicants to lead the project. Christian collaborated with twelve girls from seven different high schools in the design and creation of this large-scale work of art, using reclaimed bicycle parts as their primary medium. The results were impressive and inspiring!

The public enjoys the Bike Bridge at the Uptown Art Park Opening Event on Friday, April 5, 2013. Photo by George Post.

The public enjoys the Bike Bridge at the Uptown Art Park Opening Event on Friday, April 5, 2013. Photo by George Post.

Bike Bridge moves to Burning Man – August 15, 2014

The Bike Bridge ended its one-and-one-half year stay in Oakland, California, but continues to live on. In August, Burning Man facilitated the exhibition of the piece in front of the events Center Camp Cafe, where it seemed right at home amidst the many bicycles parked. Burning Man participants were moved by the inclusive and educational aspects of this project’s creation.

The Bike Bridge at Center Camp Cafe at Burning Man, 2014. Photo by Extramatic.

The Bike Bridge at Center Camp Cafe at Burning Man, 2014. Photo by Extramatic.

Bike Bridge moves to Gerlach – September 11, 2014

After its stay at Burning Man, The Bike Bridge moved to its new permanent home in Gerlach, Nevada. The artists and BRAF are thrilled to share the work with the small town of Gerlach, the closest town to Black Rock City. This phenomenal example of the Burning Man spirit, as it embodies the principles of communal effort and self-expression, is one small way BRAF can thank this small community for its support of the Burning Man event.


Artumnal Gathering – November 22, 2014

This year’s Artumnal Gathering was certainly the most splendid and elegant Artumnal to date! The evening was full of dear friends, impressive performances, irresistibly danceable live music, and surprising delights for the eyes and ears at every turn. 250 dinner guests enjoyed an animated live auction and a scrumptious dinner. Later, a crowd of 1000 revelled to live music and Dj’s, and enjoyed captivating performances, original artworks, a silent auction featuring one of a kind experiences and items, an art gallery, and abundant expressions of creativity.

LouLou of Thievery Corp & Pleasuremaker of Afrolicious performing to a lively crowd at the Artumnal Gathering, 2014. Photo courtesy of Marco Sanchez.

LouLou of Thievery Corp & Pleasuremaker of Afrolicious performing to a lively crowd at the Artumnal Gathering, 2014. Photo courtesy of Marco Sanchez.

Over 200 volunteers, artists, performers, and crew contributed their talents and energy to the event. The Artumnal Gathering is truly a communal effort and celebration of our artists and culture.

Performer from M.O.C. – Modern On Command dance company at the Artumnal Gathering, 2014. Photo courtesy of Marco Sanchez.

Performer from M.O.C. – Modern On Command dance company at the Artumnal Gathering, 2014. Photo courtesy of Marco Sanchez.

Together with the event’s guests, we graciously acknowledged BRAF Grantees and Civic Arts artists as well as the artists of Burning Man. This year’s Artumnal Gathering raised funds for future Burning Man Arts projects.

Interactive art by Christopher Schardt at the Artumnal Gathering, 2014. Photo courtesy of Marco Sanchez.

Interactive art by Christopher Schardt at the Artumnal Gathering, 2014. Photo courtesy of Marco Sanchez.


Illuminate the Arts Walk – December 6, 2014

Once again, BRAF and San Francisco Travel’s Illuminate the Arts hosted this celebration of illuminated public artwork. The walk visited 15 luminous public artworks by internationally renowned light artists including Jim Campbell, Ned Kahn, James Turrell and Leo Villareal. This was the first event of this season’s art walks.

The IlluminArts Walk, December 5, 2013. Photo courtesy of George Post.

The IlluminArts Walk, December 5, 2013. Photo courtesy of George Post.

Black Rock Arts Foundation – Newsletter – September 2014

In this issue:

  • The Artumnal Gathering: Tickets go on sale September 15!
  • Last chance to donate to Burning Man art projects
  • Thanks for visiting us at Burning Man!
  • Sunset Piano Opus 3 Upcoming Events
  • Artist Update
    • Michael Christian’s Bike Bridge in Gerlach, Nevada
  • Attention Artists! Grant Applications available October 1, 2014
  • Grantee Updates
    • Symphony in D Minor artists’ new project

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Black Rock Arts Foundation – Newsletter – August 2014

In this issue:

  • Burning Man projects still need your donations. Help make them happen!
  • Celebrate BRAF at Burning Man
  • Sunset Piano Opus 3 Upcoming Events
  • Save the Date! The Artumnal Gathering is November 22
  • Visit Soma in San Francisco
  • Artist Update
    • Kate Raudenbush
  • Attention Artists! Grant Applications available October 1, 2014
  • Grantee Updates
    • Compression Sesquicentennial Peregrinations
    • Jen Lewin’s Super Pool

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BRAF announces Big News!

Dear Black Rock Arts Foundation Supporters, Artists and Collaborators,

I write you with possibly our biggest news to date! Today, the Black Rock Arts Foundation is proud to announce that, after years of planning and preparation, BRAF will join forces with the Black Rock City Art Department creating the new Burning Man Arts program of the Burning Man Project. From this day on, BRAF will continue it’s programming as a subsidiary of the Burning Man Project!

This is fantastic news for our artists, donors and entire community. This joining of forces will allow us to provide more streamlined services to artists and to produce more interactive, community-driven art projects worldwide.

Read the full press release, here. 

We’ve worked hard to ensure that this transition will be seamless to our artists and donors. Our current funded artists will still receive the same support, funding and services we’ve committed to providing, and any donations made to BRAF projects will still fund those projects.

We’re sure you have more questions! To learn more read our F.A.Q., here.

Although we are always grateful for your support, now is a particularly meaningful moment for us to extend our thanks to you. Thank you for accompanying BRAF on our journey thus far. We promise that the next leg of the journey, as Burning Man Arts, will be even more exciting, fruitful and revolutionary!

Our sincerest thanks,

Tomas McCabe
Executive Director
Black Rock Arts Foundation


Press Release: BRAF Joins Burning Man Project


“Burning Man Arts” brings together Black Rock Arts Foundation and Black Rock City’s art department to streamline grant processes & better support the placement and enjoyment of art worldwide

San Francisco, July 26, 2014 — Burning Man today announced a reorganization of its arts programs to place more art in communities around the world, make more art available for the annual event in the Black Rock Desert, and create more opportunities for artists and donors.

Black Rock Arts Foundation, which is now a subsidiary of the non-profit Burning Man Project, is joining forces with Black Rock City’s art department to create one program called Burning Man Arts. The mission of Burning Man Arts is to change the paradigm of art from a commodified object to an interactive, participatory, shared experience of creative expression.

“This change breaks down the barriers. Art for the playa and art for the world will be one and the same,” said Burning Man’s founder Larry Harvey. “It makes it easier for artists to apply for grants and support, and it enables donors to contribute to the entire spectrum of expressive culture that is pouring out of Burning Man.”

So far in 2014, the Black Rock City art program has provided more than $1 million in grants and support to artists preparing works for the annual event in the Black Rock Desert during the last week of August.

Since its creation in 2001, Black Rock Arts Foundation has funded 149 projects worldwide, providing more than $2,500,000 in grants and support to artists. BRAF has awarded more than $430,000 through its Grants to Artists program and installed or otherwise supported 38 projects (with direct grants of $770,000) through its Civic Arts program. BRAF has also produced 82 memorable events and provided collaborative public art consulting services.

“Together, these two organizations will have an even bigger impact on donors, artists, and the communities that benefit from an active, engaged and supported arts community,” said Tomas McCabe, Executive Director of BRAF. “In addition to supporting artists on and off the playa, the new program is exploring an expanded range of offerings, including increased collaborations and partnerships with like-minded organizations and additional support services for artists.”

For donors, this development means that financial gifts to art projects for the Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert can be tax deductible and opens up a wide range of new opportunities for supporters of the arts. All existing grants and support will continue uninterrupted. They will be completed within the framework of BRAF in collaboration with Burning Man Project.

About Burning Man

Burning Man is a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation whose mission is to facilitate and extend the culture that has issued from the Burning Man event into the larger world.  Black Rock City is the seminal manifestation of the 10 Principles-based culture known as Burning Man. The gathering, which last year included participants from all 50 states and 40 countries around the world, happens the last week of August in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. For more information, visit

Press Release: Big Arts for Small Towns Opening Reception

Press Release:


“Big Art for Small Towns” program, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, to showcase interactive art in small communities in Nevada

Main Street Park
610 East Main St.
Fernley, NV 89408

Sunrise Tortoise - Aric Shapiro

FERNLEY, NV, July 24, 2014 — Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF), Burning Man Project and the City of Fernley will unveil three art pieces in Main Street Park on Thursday August 7, including Desert Tortoise, a new, permanent piece by local artist Pan Pantoja using mosaics created by local students and community members.

The opening reception is from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the park at 610 Main Street and will include live music, speakers and arts activities for children and adults.

The park and artwork are the latest effort by BRAF and Burning Man Project as part of their Big Art For Small Towns program, funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Several thousand participants pass through Fernley each year on their way to Burning Man and  we felt compelled to share the cultural and economic benefits with the surrounding communities,” said BRAF Executive Director Tomas McCabe. “We’re tremendously grateful for the community’s enthusiastic participation and contributions to the project, without which it couldn’t have happened.”

Desert Tortoise is a 25-foot long and 17-foot tall tall sculpture crafted from boulders from a local quarry and thousands of 4”x4” painted ceramic tiles of images which reflect the culture of Fernley and the surrounding area. Pantoja worked with students from every school in Fernley and community members who took part in a community painting night.

“The tortoise fosters community,” Pantoja said. “The tiles were a way to include participation from the majority of the residents and their children.”

Rockspinner 6 is a nine-ton stone slab by artist Zach Coffin that rotates on an axis such that a single person can set the piece in motion.

“I design my pieces to encourage people to interact with them – and experience the surprise that something so massive can move so effortlessly,” Coffin said. “It’s a great feeling to know the people of Fernley will have a chance to experience it.”

Bottlecap Gazebo, by artists Max Poynton and Andrew Grinberg. The gazebo was designed to be a social meeting place fostering interaction and connection. The name comes from the thousandsof recycled bottle caps that were individually smashed flat and drilled and strung together with wire in the form of leaves, creating complex lattices of glimmering colors and patterns.

The Bottlecap Gazebo in Fernley, Nevada. Photo courtesy of Jerry Mansker.

The Bottlecap Gazebo in Fernley, Nevada. Photo courtesy of Jerry Mansker.

The Big Art for Small Towns project is a collaboration between Black Rock Arts Foundation, the Burning Man Project, and the City of Fernley. The founders of BRAF and the Burning Man Project have a personal investment in giving back to the Burning Man event’s neighboring communities.

With its intent to support creative placemaking projects that transform communities into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core, the National Endowment for the Art’s Our Town grant was an ideal match for the vision of this project.

About Black Rock Arts Foundation

The mission of the Black Rock Arts Foundation is to support and promote community, interactive art and civic participation. BRAF was founded by several of the partners who founded and produce Burning Man, an annual arts festival in the Nevada desert.  BRAF was established to bring this idea of creating and coexisting with art to the rest of the world, with the vision that community-driven, inclusive, and interactive art is vital to a thriving culture. The foundation received its 501(c)3 status in November of 2001. For more information visit .

About Burning Man Project

The mission of the Burning Man Project is to facilitate and extend the culture that has issued from the Burning Man event into a larger world. This culture forms an integrated pattern of values, experience, and behavior: a coherent and widely applicable way of life. The survival and elaboration of this culture depend upon a cultivated capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations.

The primary purpose of Burning Man Project is to uphold and manifest the values described in the Ten Principles of Burning Man. Burning Man Project provides infrastructural tools and frameworks that will allow people to apply the Ten Principles in many communities and spheres of endeavor. For more information

Black Rock Arts Foundation – Newsletter – July 2014

In this Issue:

  • Make a tax-deductible donation to a Burning Man-bound art project!
  • Artist Update
    • Goodbye, Future’s Past!
    • Hello, Soma! Opening Reception, August 1!
    • Goodbye, Defenestration!
  • Grantee Update
    • Hung Viet Tran (Forever Our Change. Dream Your Mind)
    • Soundwave (Illuminated Forest)
    • The Cabinet of Curiosity Project
    • Compression Sesquicentennial Peregrinations
    • River of Wings
    • Before I Die…
    • Cardboardia
    • Burning Baskets

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