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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KQED “Burning Man Art Beyond the Playa” segment wins awards!


We’ve just learned that the KQED team that produced a segment about the impact of Burning Man Art off of the Playa has 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“.

Our sincere congratulations go to Executive Producer Joanne Elgart Jennings, Producer Lori Halloran, Reporter Thuy Vu, and the rest of the crew! Here they are accepting their Emmys:


In case you haven’t seen it, here’s their piece, winner of an Emmy for “Best Arts/Entertainment Feature/Segment” and a Greater Bay Area Journalism Award for “Best Feature Story of a Light Nature:”


Black Rock Arts Foundation – Newsletter – June 2014

In this Issue:

  • Fiscal Sponsorship for Burning Man Honorarium art
  • Sunset Piano Opus 3 next events
  • Grantee Update
    • Why Can’t the First Part of the Second Party be the Second Part of the First Party?
    • Compression Sesquicentennial Peregrinations
    • Towards the Green Surface
    • River of Wings
    • Hospitality House
    • The Pool
    • Global Lives
    • Soundwave

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Black Rock Arts Foundation – Newsletter – May 2014

In this Issue:

  • Sunset Piano Opus 3 at the Central Market Microhood
  • Fiscal Sponsorship for Burning Man Honorarium art
  • Artist Update
    • Bryan Tedrick
    • Five Ton Crane
  • Grantee Update
    • Compression Sesquicentennial Peregrinations
    • Why Can’t the First Part of the Second Party be the Second Part of the First Party?
    • The Pool by Jen Lewin
    • Burning Baskets by Mavis Muller

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Black Rock Arts Foundation – Newsletter – April 2014

In This Issue

  • Announcing BRAF’s 2014 new grantees!
  • Artist Updates
    • Sean Orlando & David Shulman
    • Peter Hudson
  • Grantee Updates
    • Why Can’t the First Part of the Second Party be the Second Part of the First Party? Opening Reception this Friday!
    • The Pool
    • The Music Box
    • Before I Die…

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Black Rock Arts Foundation – Newsletter – March 2014

In This Issue

  • The Bay Lights Anniversary: Two Events
  • Caruso’s Dream: Photos and video
  • Big Art for Small Towns: Lecture and informal reception
  • Grantee Update
    • Bambufonomat

Psst.. stay tuned! Next month’s newsletter will announce BRAF’s 2014 new grantees! We can’t wait to tell you about these projects!

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BRAF is Hiring: Operations Coordinator


The Black Rock Arts Foundation had a very successful 2013 and has many exciting projects in the works. As a result, we are looking to expand our staff to keep up with the growth of the organization.  Below is a short job description and application instructions for the new position.

Position Available: Operations Coordinator, Black Rock Arts Foundation Location: San Francisco, CA

** Please submit resume and cover letter by noon PST on Wednesday, March 5th, 2104, using this link.

Job Summary

This full-time position reports to the Executive Director and will support other staff and manage office organization and administrative processes for a growing arts organization. The Operations Coordinator provides support to the Executive Director and the Program & Development Associates in areas of program administration, development and general office and business operations. This individual is responsible for sending and tracking correspondence, tracking donations, managing our Salesforce database and filing systems, overseeing the organization of our office and other facilities, providing administrative support for our programs and events, and coordinating office reception.

The position requires a highly organized person with excellent time and task management skills who is able to understand the operations of the organization and anticipate administrative needs.

The position affords professional development opportunities for the right candidate through hands-on involvement with all aspects of this successful, growing organization.

This is a full-time, regular position eligible for benefits in our San Francisco office.

For more info or to apply, please view the complete job listing here:


Year in Review – 2013


Collaboration is the Key

As we reflect on our accomplishments of the last year we can’t help but notice a theme: collaboration. This comes as no surprise – BRAF was founded upon the values shared by Burning Man culture, which prizes community engagement, open exchange of ideas and resources, synthesis of creative efforts and interactive experiences. Our 2013 projects reflect our evolution, demonstrating our ever-deepening commitment to creating work that reflect these core principles.

Most of all, our 2013 endeavors demonstrate your commitment to collaboration. Your support and participation are the essential components that we need to build fantastic art. Whether you’ve volunteered for us, attended one of our events or contributed funding towards one of our projects, your collaboration with BRAF yields great results.

Read on for a report of the great things your involvement has produced. We hope you’ll work with us again. Together we are creating great works that evolve and advance the potential of public art. Help us expand our horizons even further by making a tax-deductible year-end contribution, today!

Donate Now

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