Celtic Forest: The Book of the Raven was the second incarnation of the urban art space in Reno, Nevada, originally inhabited by The Mangrove. The installation of Celtic Forest was an ambitious undertaking. Its scale, number of pieces and many fire effects enchanted the Reno community, as it created an interactive art environment and raised the bar for public art in Reno. Celtic Forest was conceptualized by Laura Kimpton and created by artists Jeff Schomberg, Antonio Ruperto, and Bob Hofmann.
Celtic Forest by Jeff Schomberg, Antonio Ruperto, Bob Hofmann, and Laura Kimpton
July 1, 2009 – December 1, 2009
Steel, copper, and fire effects
Seven sculptures ranging in size from 10’to 20’ tall
About the Project
Previously exhibited at Burning Man in 2008, Celtic Forest: Book of the Raven’s presentation was unique, not only in its materials of metal and fire, but also in its scale and artistic vision.
The seven sculptures, the oversized Book of the Raven, the half-human, half-animal God and Goddesses of earth, air, and water, and three fiery Treelabras, poetically describe the animal-like, natural and elemental qualities of the human psyche. At scheduled times each week, the exhibit lit up with dazzling fire effects. Fire dancers from Controlled Burn gave weekly performances, adding to this exciting spectacle, never before seen in downtown Reno.
Sculptor Antonio Ruperto created the figurative pieces, the Goddess of Air, Belissima; the Goddess of Water, the mermaid Boann; and the God of Earth, the Centaur. Each of the gods and goddesses are surrounded by moats filled with metal books, each with a evocative title.
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.
Laura Kimpton, Artist
Elements of the Celtic Forest installation have been exhibited in museums, art galleries, and benefits, including Close to the Flame, Museum of Art & History, Santa Cruz, California; Burning Words Exhibition, Laura Kimpton & Jeff Schomberg, NY Studio Gallery, New York, New York; Bringing Back the Fire, Santa Rosa Junior College Art Gallery, Santa Rosa, California; Treelabra Site Installation, Forest Ethics Benefit, supperclub, San Francisco, California; and In Flight Site Installation, Project One Gallery, San Francisco, California.
About the Artist
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.
About the Site
Celtic Forest: Book of the Raven transformed an empty lot in downtown Reno into a dramatic interactive art installation, performance venue and community gathering spot.
“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 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.”
Maria Partridge, Reno project liaison and BRAF Advisory Board Member
“We believe the exhibition of Celtic Forest during ARTown will serve the community in many ways. Enhancing civic space through a dramatic art presentation is what we are most passionate about at BRAF. By creating this artistic gathering spot, with weekly performances and workshops that provide free entertainment and interactive possibilities for all to enjoy, is the true fulfillment of our mission.” Crimson Rose
Member Board of Directors, BRAF and Director of Art Management for Burning Man
BRAF extends our sincerest thanks to the The Freight House District, LLC, the City of Reno Arts and Culture Commission, the Sierra Arts Foundation and local businesses and non-profits for their support of this project.