Spire of Fire

Spire of Fire, by local Reno artists Steve Atkins and Eric Smith, was BRAF’s fourth installation at our public art venue in Reno, Nevada.

Spire of Fire by Steve Atkins and Eric Smith
Sierra St and Island Avenue, Reno, Nevada
June 24, 2011 – November 15, 2011
Steel and flame effects
48’H x 20’W x 20’D

Opening night festivities were held on Friday, June 24th were a huge success. See photo galleries by Pat Herz:Jim Freeman, and Mark Hammon.

Spire of Fire in Reno, Nevada. Photo by Mark Hammon

About the Project

Previously exhibited at Burning Man in 2010, Spire of Fire references the iconic structures of both metropolitan and ancient civilizations, recognizing them as focal points for civic life.

“From the Axum Obelisk to the new Burj Khadija sky scraper in Dubai, towers are built to draw attention. Using shape, texture, materials, and light, towers attract people from afar to serve as a space for assembly. The Spire of Fire stands grand and high and is designed to reflect the evolution of modern metropolitan architecture. Its sheer size and presence will capture attention, and at night, once a week, the piece will come alive with brightly colored lights and bursts of rhythmic flame.”
Steve Atkins and Eric Smith, Artists

Made of steel, this 48-foot tower is comprised of five modular sections, shaped like inverted pyramids. Each pyramid is a vessel for a Liquid Propane Gas (LPG) flame effect, which can be activated by the public. The fire effects create a dazzling shimmer on the rust patina of the pyramids’ outer surfaces, and stainless steel inner surfaces’ light deflectors, creating a brilliant, dramatic effect. The pressurized LP gas bounces off of the inner steel panels of each pyramid, creating an illusion of the whole pyramid being enveloped in bursts of fire.

The flame effects of the piece were showcased at scheduled times, once a week.

Spire of Fire in Reno, Nevada. Photo by Pat Herz


  • Every Tuesday: The fire spinners and dancers of Controlled Burn entertained from 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm.
  • Every Wednesday: Hula Hoopers from Velocity Movement and BoHo Hoops presented “Get Hooped” hoop jams from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm. All levels and ages welcome. Hoops provided.

About the Site

In 2008, BRAF began a fruitful partnership with the City of Reno, BRAF’s Advisory Board, Board and volunteers, working together to transform an unused empty lot in the downtown area into an attractive ‘art park’ with rotating exhibitions. It is now a popular performance venue and community gathering space, and has earned the support and appreciation of City officials and the public, alike.

Our first three exhibitions at this location, The Mangrove in 2008, Celtic Forest in 2009 and Duel Nature in 2010, were met with great appreciation and enthusiasm from the local community. BRAF is pleased to continue our collaboration with the Reno community, and to be able to bring more outstanding and exciting works of art to Reno!


Thank you to everyone who donated to make this installation a success and to Freight House District, LLC for providing the installation space.