Year in Review – 2012

BRAF celebrates YOU!

We at BRAF are celebrating all of the new ventures, inspiring projects and sensational events we produced and supported in 2012. Our goal is to bring free, accessible art experiences into everyday lives, so we hope you were able to experience these projects and events for yourself!

Maybe you see one of our Civic Arts projects, like Future’s Past or Portal of Evolution, on your way to work everyday. Or maybe your kids were involved with one of our grantee projects, like OmegaMart, Firefly Grove or FLOAT Beijing. And we hope you made it to our spectacular annual fundraising extravaganza, the Artumnal Gathering!

However you were able to participate in BRAF projects this year, we thank you for your ongoing involvement and support. Sharing the kind of art we love is what we do, and, with your support, we’ll be doing it for many years to come.

Read on for an overview of our accomplishments in 2012, and join us in supporting even more art together in 2013. Fan our flames for another year by making a tax-deductible year-end contribution, today!

Donate Now

Thanks to you, BRAF will keep growing, expanding and sharing more art with more communities, worldwide.

2012 Civic Art Projects

In 2012, we expanded our programming in Reno, Nevada, receiving not one but two grants from the City of Reno. One partially funded the installation of Bryan Tedrick’s Portal of Evolution, and the other Candy Chang’s Before I Die…, both in downtown Reno.

Portal of Evolution

On June 26, 2012, the Black Rock Arts Foundation installed our fifth public art installation in Reno, Nevada. Portal of Evolution by artist Bryan Tedrick was erected on a newly installed concrete pad in downtown Reno’s City Plaza. This pad was engineered and built by the City of Reno specifically to accommodate temporary sculpture installations.

Portal of Evolution in Reno, Nevada. Photo by Mark Hammon.

Portal of Evolution in Reno, Nevada. Photo by Mark Hammon.

The base of Portal of Evolution is a cocoon-like enclosure, large enough for several people to stand in. Organic, floral shapes sprout from the base, crowned by a massive, delicate butterfly, which revolves slowly in the wind. The sculpture was first displayed at Burning Man in 2009. Its overall dimensions are 26′ tall x 32′ wide.

With the support of Councilman and BRAF Board Member David Aiazzi, and the City of Reno’s Engineering and Building Departments, we were able to install Portal of Evolution in downtown Reno’s City Plaza in time for the Artown festivities. In the last four years, BRAF’s art installations on the Riverwalk, in downtown Reno, have included performances by local artists and workshops hosted by local non-profit organizations. We were fortunate to be able to continue this tradition, and partnered with the fire-dance troupe, Controlled Burn, who featured the sculpture at their fire festival, Compression on July 28, 2012. The sculpture provided a dramatic and thematic backdrop to the Burning Man-style fire performances. The estimated audience for the event was 5,000-6,000 attendees.

A crew of 5 volunteers installed Portal of Evolution in four days. Local businesses and foundations the Hawkins Foundation, Reno Burners LLC, and Fernley Electric helped with the additional costs of installation. The sculpture has received press by all three major television stations, the Reno Gazette Journal and by additional Internet and independent TV programs.

Before I Die

On May 15, 2012 we installed our sixth public art piece in Reno, a special civic, interactive art project in two locations. Before I Die… transformed two of the city’s neglected spaces into constructive venues for reflection where residents and visitors shared their most intimate aspirations in public. One of the murals was located on the empty lot where BRAF had previously installed sculptures, on the corner of Island Avenue and Sierra Street. The second wall was installed on Fourth Street, a block away from St. Vincent’s Food Pantry, where many homeless people go for food and resources. The result was a social activity that sparked both introspection and conversation, bringing people together and producing a remarkable portrait of the community’s feelings and values at that moment in history.

Using newly constructed temporary walls, Candy Chang and her collaborators covered them with chalkboard paint, and stenciled them with the prompt “Before I Die I want to __________” dozens of times. Ample chalk was left attached to each wall for people to use, revealing their individual hopes or dreams to the public. The walls were cleaned and additional chalk added on a bi-weekly basis.

The walls collected thousands of responses from Reno residents and visitors over the lifespan of the project. Within a matter of days, each wall was completely full of poignant responses. Before being washed down to allow more people to participate, Mark Hammon photographed them to preserve a record of the community’s creativity.

To inaugurate the Before I Die in Reno project, Candy Chang gave a lecture at the Nevada Museum of Art, in collaboration with BRAF and the Black Rock Design Institute about her work, her life experiences, and the meaning of the Before I Die project.

Future’s Past

This year, we deepened our ongoing collaboration with the Hayes Valley Arts Coalition (HVAC), working with them to select a work of art that reflected the vibrancy of character of the Hayes Valley neighborhood. Kate Raudenbush’s Future’s Past was selected. BRAF looks forward to working with HVAC, again!

Future's Past at Patricia's Green, San Francisco, California. Photo by George Post.

Future’s Past at Patricia’s Green, San Francisco, California. Photo by George Post.

Together, BRAF and HVAC raised the funds needed to install the work and to improve the installation site, making it ready to host more works of art in the future. Most notably, we worked with the San Francisco Parks and Recreation to install electricity to the site. As with many sculptures we work with, Future’s Past’s lighting effects are integral to the work’s overall impact and aesthetic. This site improvement was critical to our ability to showcase this sculptures and others of equal caliber.

The community received the sculpture warmly. The artwork drew the attention of art enthusiasts, photographers and the general public. On any given day, one may observe residents, professionals and tourists spending time in the park and enjoying the sculpture.

Big Art for Small Towns

In 2012, BRAF launched our new initiative, Big Art for Small Towns. In collaboration with the Burning Man Project, this project was awareded our second National Endowment for the Arts grant, an Our Town grant, in the amount of $75,000.

Over the next two years, two pieces of large-scale sculpture will be installed in a new city-owned park in Fernley. One of the artworks will be an existing piece of sculpture, selected by the Fernley community for temporary display in the park.

The second artwork will be an original piece created by local residents working with a competitively selected lead artist to reflect Fernley’s character, heritage, and culture.

Programming includes a series of public lectures, workshops, and youth learning opportunities focused on the community-building benefits of public art. Big Art for Small Towns is a component of the Black Rock Arts Foundation’s Civic Arts Program, which seeks to share the cultural and economic benefit of public art with rural towns in Nevada and beyond.

Production of the project’s first sculpture starts in the New Year, and will debut in Fernley Nevada in July of 2013. Stay tuned for further announcements and updates about this exciting new projects progress.

Bike Bridge

The Bike Bridge was a collaboration with 12 young women from Oakland schools, artist Michael Christian (well known for his large scale metal works displayed at Burning Man,) and with partner organization The Crucible. It was for this project that BRAF received our first grant, in the amount of $10,000, from the National Endowment for the Arts.

At The Crucible, the young women took courses in MIG welding and in art-bike creation. These courses imparted the skills needed to undertake the creation of a large-scale work of art. Under the mentorship of artist Michael Christian, the youth designed and fabricated a sculpture using reclaimed bicycle parts. The entire process was incredibly collaborative and the results are inspiring!

The Bike Bridge succeeded in bringing together youth, living in different areas of Oakland and attending different high schools, in a shared experience of cooperation, collaboration and mutual support of creative expression.

Through this project, the Black Rock Arts Foundation and The Crucible were able to advance the shared goals of creating innovative arts education opportunities for young people. Both BRAF and The Crucible highly value the collaborative process as means of empowering individuals and thereby strengthening communities. The youth involved learned both the technical and interpersonal skills needed to create a large-scale work of sculpture.

Stay tuned for the announcement of the Opening Reception!

The Raygun Gothic Rocketship and Bliss Dance

The exhibitions of both the Raygun Gothic Rocketship, by Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, David Shulman, Alan Rorie and their talented crew, and Bliss Dance, by Marco Cochrane, were extended by the San Francisco Port Authority and the Treasure Island Development Authority, respectively. BRAF is thrilled that the community and City agencies shares our appreciation and affection for these pieces.

The Raygun Gothic Rocketship, originally scheduled for de-installation in August of 2011, was granted several extensions of its stay. It now has a confirmed departure date of March, 2013. Stay tuned for announcements of a closing reception festivities.

Bliss Dance continues to garner attention of tourists and locals, and has served as an appreciated attraction on Treasure Island. The artists are currently raising funds to restore the sculpture, as it has suffered some rust damage. The funds will be used to treat the stainless steel surface for rust and to replace and improve the lighting components.




ArtPadSF, a new and provocative 21st century boutique art fair, invites San Francisco’s world-renowned museums, galleries, arts institutions, and artists to transform the Phoenix Hotel into an alternative venue for art. The hotel is reinvented as a vibrant and visionary community of celebrated local and international artists.

Dance performance at BRAF's evening at ArtPadSF.

Dance performance at BRAF’s evening at ArtPadSF.

To punctuate this innovative weekend-long faire, the Black Rock Arts Foundation and ArtPadSF once again co-produced a spectacular evening of performance art, fashion, dance, music and immersive art experiences on Friday, May 18, 2012. This unique event celebrated the wealth of local talent in the Bay Area, and raises funds to benefit the BRAF’s public art and grant programs. The event is a festive gathering of BRAF’s community of supporters, Burning Man’s art lovers, and the bay area’s leading art galleries and art scene.


The Artumnal Gathering

Our extremely popular and anticipated annual event, the Artumnal Gathering, features interactive art experiences, original works of art, performances, a gallery and an auction of art by over 100 participating artists and performers. This event serves as both a fundraiser for BRAF, and as a showcase and celebration of our community’s artists.

The Main Hall of the Bently Reserve at the Artumnal Gathering 2012. Photo by Tyler Nguyen.

The Main Hall of the Bently Reserve at the Artumnal Gathering 2012. Photo by Tyler Nguyen.

This year, the event was held on December 1, 2012, at the magnificent Bently Reserve. Over 150 volunteers joined together to produce our most lively Artumnal Gathering yet. Once again, the pre-event dinner sold out. A total of 1,100 guests joined us in celebration of our artists and projects. The event has become an annual tradition for our community of supporters who look forward to donning their finest attire, seeing dear friends and fellow BRAF supporters and enjoying the many spectacles of this extravagant evening.

Below are just a few of the many fabulous photos of the event. To see more fabulous photos of Artumnal visit:

Grants to Artists Program

Through our Grants to Artists program, we awarded $60,000 to projects in Quinto, Ecuador; Christchurch, New Zealand; Beijing, China; Warwick, RI; San Francisco, CA; Philadelphia, PA; Bakersfield, CA; Kiev, Ukraine; Santa Fe, NM; Guadalajara, Mexico; London, England; and Boulder, CO.

BRAF is widely appreciated for funding projects that prioritize community involvement in the development and execution. BRAF grantee projects serve communities not only by exposing them to groundbreaking, outstanding artwork, but also by soliciting the community’s input and involvement. By inviting community participation at all stages of the artworks’ creation and display, these projects engender stewardship of and personal relationships with works of art.

Some of our grantee projects take several years to complete, but some, like OmegaMart, Firefly Grove, New Bionics and Perspectives, have already completed their projects.

Here’s what some of our grantees say about our grant process:

“My interaction with Black Rock Arts Foundation was entirely dreamy. Honestly, I wish all fundings could be this supportive, easy, and relaxed. I felt a sense of community and comradery from the moment of being granted the funds, all the way though the run of the project, and continually beyond. Invitations for other projects, other open calls for work, and a sense
of ‘representation’ makes the relationship with BRAF something more than just a check.”


“The foundation’s grant process is a real pleasure. The contracts are clear and the process without problems. I am very happy that BRAF stays in touch with their artists and presents the artists’ milestones and the final work to the BRAF audience regularly. I am also pleased that BRAF has offered to help with positioning this and other works at additional sites. This was one request that I was planning to make recently but before I was able to do that, I was contacted by BRAF with the offer. I look forward to continue this rewarding relationship with BRAF.”


“I am so grateful for all the support from the Black Rock Arts Foundation. It is the only grant I have received for this project so far, and it has greatly helped in my ability to expand it.”


“This was my second time working with BRAF and am thrilled that there is a Foundation willing to support interactive, community engaged Public Art.  The process has been easy to navigate and the staff always extremely helpful.  We are grateful for the Foundation’s support which has been instrumental in advancing our project and bringing it to a larger audience. ”


“The Black Rock Arts Foundation’s grant process has been a tremendous education to us.  As first-time grant writers and recipients, we have no prior experience by which to compare it, but the openness, support and mission of the foundation has facilitated our growth as artists in unexpected ways.  Having the foundation’s support meant we could try something we would not have otherwise.”


“The Black Rock Arts Foundation is a wonderful example of the progressive spirit prevalent in places like the Bay Area.  Having just returned from the Bay yesterday, I find myself thinking about how important organizations like BRAF are on a national level.”


The Black Rock Arts Foundation seeks to sustain the momentum of building support and growth, and to develop lasting partnerships. Our recent addition of eight new Board Members has further invigorated this momentum, and exciting new initiatives are underway. Our new Board Members are Dave Aiazzi, Amber Marie Bently, Breanna DeGeere, Tracy Ericson, Christina Pettigrew, Jeremy Sugerman, and Warren Trezevant

Our continuing BRAF Board Members are Alix Rosenthal, Crimson Rose, Freddy Hahne, Harley K. Dubois, John Mueller, Larry Harvey, Mark Sinclair, Nick Morgan, Rachel Carpenter, Terry Gross, and Will Roger Peterson.

Thus far, BRAF’s impressive catalog of projects has been managed by BRAF’s three full time staff members. BRAF also has a very active and engaged Advisory Board and crew of volunteers who contribute to the direction and execution of our projects.

financial pie

BRAF is a financially sound, growing non-profit that has increased its net assets steadily for the last six years. BRAF is currently operating at a surplus and is responsibly managed – over 70% of expenses are directly program related. BRAF has no long-term liabilities and substantial cash reserves. The Foundation received its first audit in the spring of 2012.

Revenue Pie Chart



In our eleventh year, BRAF enjoys recognition for our unique contributions to communities. As our visibility and esteem increases, numerous opportunities for new projects and ventures present themselves. Our potential for growth is tremendous, but can only be met with sufficient resources.

Our goal is to sustain the momentum of building support, growth, and collaboration we’ve enjoyed, and to build lasting partnerships in communities. We seek to replicate our successful models of programming in other areas of the country, and to set a standard of community collaboration in public art.

In 2013, we will support even more public more public art projects in other urban and rural cities. Through our Grants to Artists program, we will encourage community transformation and personal empowerment by supporting projects that connect people in new and meaningful ways.

BRAF supports artists who are breaking the mold of the current expectations of public art, pushing perceived boundaries in form as well as cultural function. We endeavor to establish a new standard that can be shared around the world – an expectation of community collaboration in public art – and to empower individuals to manifest art in their own communities.

Comments are closed.