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

Sunset Piano Opus 3 at the Central Market Microhood

Join us for the first BRAF-supported happening of Sunset Piano Opus 3 by artist Mauro ffortissimo! Come hear talented local musicians perform, or grab the opportunity to play your own melodies on one of the pianos!

The project will be a highlight of this month’s Central Market Microhood event, produced in collaboration with the Bold Italic. This free event features an evening of live performances, great deals from local merchants and unexpected surprises between 6th Street and 8th Street. Come celebrate the Central Market neighborhood’s many arts organizations, awesome shops and purveyors of delicious coffee, food and drinks.

On Thursday May 15, this stretch of Market will be transformed with music, dance and interactive events.

Sunset Piano Opus 3 at the Central Market Microhood
Thursday, May 15, 2014
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Market Street, between 6th and 8th Streets.
San Francisco, CA 94103

Central Market NOW host events every second Friday that activate, promote and celebrate the local arts and businesses in Central Market.

Read more about this wonderful new BRAF collaboration.

Read about the entire Sunset Piano project at and about the documentary film by Dean Mermell on the project

Join a Facebook group and follow the entire project

See a wonderful gallery of the previous projects at

Sunset Piano Opus 3 Poster


Fiscal Sponsorship for Burning Man Honorarium art

Artists creating work for Burning Man face many challenges. They must find a way to raise the money needed to fund their project on top of the figuring out how to actualize their vision in a way that can survive the harsh conditions of the Black Rock Desert, recruiting and supporting a large crew, and getting a potentially massive and elaborate structure, once built, to the playa. For first-time Burning Man artists and veterans alike, these challenges often make for a very stressful, if rewarding, summer.

As one small way to help make their dream a reality, BRAF is launching a pilot program to provide fiscal sponsorship to artists bringing work to the playa. This will allow artists who sign up to receive tax-deductible contributions and potentially open up other sources of funding, hopefully easing the burden of fundraising.

Burning Man art engages, creates, and interacts with community in ways that are a perfect fit for BRAF’s mission and values. With recent changes to Burning Man’s organizational structure, BRAF is able to directly lend our support to on-playa art activities. This is a very exciting moment!

For this first year of the program, BRAF is offering sponsorship to artists already receiving an honorarium from Burning Man that only partially funds the piece. This will allow us to work in close collaboration with the Burning Man Art Department to ensure that tax-deductible funds are used appropriately, so that you can make such a donation with confidence.

Artists are currently signing up for the program and we we are very excited to announce the art projects that we will be supporting in our next newsletter, as well as to begin providing a way to make a tax-deductible contribution to these projects. Stay tuned!


Artist Updates

Ever wonder what happens to all your favorite Burning Man art projects after the event? Well, sometimes they sit in warehouses, waiting for the funding to help them see the light of day again, which is why your donations to BRAF are so important.

But sometimes these wonderful works of art have a happy ending. Here are two stories of works that were purchased by certain individual and corporate art lovers who clearly have excellent taste!

However, this is not the norm. We don’t have exact statistics, but the number of projects that are purchased or installed publicly by BRAF are a fraction of those that need our support. You can help by making a donation to BRAF so we can share these works with the rest of the world. Thank you, dear BRAF and public art supporters!


Bryan Tedrick – Artist Update

Bryan Tedrick, artist of BRAF-funded project Portal of Evolution in Reno, NV, reports that his piece Coyote, shown at Black Rock City in 2013, has been sold to Ken and Diane Wilson of Wilson Wineries in Sonoma County. He invites all to come visit Coyote at 1960 Dry Creek Road in Healdsburg, CA.

Coyote by Bryan Tedrick at Burning Man. Photo by Aaron Muszalski.

Coyote by Bryan Tedrick at Burning Man. Photo by Aaron Muszalski.


Five Ton Crane – Artist Update

Those of you who miss the unforgettable Streampunk Tree House will be thrilled to see footage of the piece in its new home. Watch HGTV’s piece on the artwork (with a nice Five Ton Crane mention and a few cameos during the installation.) The Steampunk Tree House was one of Five Ton Crane’s first large-scale works, and have since, of course, gone on to build the BRAF-funded project The Raygun Gothic Rocketship and other incredible endeavors.

'Steampunk Treehouse' photo by Waldemar Horwatt.

‘Steampunk Treehouse’ photo by Waldemar Horwatt.


Grantee Updates


2014 Grantee – Compression Sesquicentennial Peregrinations

Controlled Burn is ricocheting around Northern Nevada, bringing together Burners, community activists and artists to create Compression events with a diverse flavor. If you’re interested in learning more, Reno’s KNPB Channel 5 will air a piece called “The Work of Artown” on May 12, featuring footage of Compression 2013.

Nevada residents and visitors will have four chances to join in the fiery fun in Nevada! In Lovelock, on June 20, Compression collaborates with the Nevada State Firefighter’s Association for their Annual Conference. In conjunction with their Multicultural Festival, Compression hosts events in Fernley on June 28. On July 12, an event will be held on Smith Creek Playa (a dry lake bed near Austin, NV) as part of the International Land Sailing World Championships. And finally, in downtown Reno, the Compression Art and Fire event will be held on July 26 as part of Reno’s Artown arts festival.

There is still space at each event for artists, performance troupes (particularly youth and alternative groups), art cars, fire garden sculptures, theme camps and playa projects.  Volunteers are always and forever loved, appreciated, and needed.

Visit the Compression’s Facebook page for information, locations, times and updates.

To get involved, contact Erika at erika  (erika   .

2014 Grantee, Compression.

2014 Grantee, Compression.


2014 Grantee – Why Can’t the First Part of the Second Party be the Second Part of the First Party?

Bernie Lubell’s new large-scale interactive wood installation monitors San Francisco’s Intersection for the Arts’ building systems. The installation uses wooden computers to slowly get nothing to happen. Adamantly low-tech, consisting of a complex system of gears, cranks, wheels, and pulleys that relies entirely on participant engagement to come to life, the piece offers an experience is much more than purely visual – it also engages touch, hearing, movement, teamwork, and collaboration. As participants pedal, crank, and play together on the sculptural installation, they become active partners in the construction and understanding of the work, and an essential component of a complex system that participants can see activated as a direct result of their movements.

For more information about the artist, visit

Bring a friend and take part in this interactive experience!

Ongoing exhibition
April 9 – June 7, 2014
Gallery Hours: Tuesdays – Saturdays, 12–6pm
925 Mission Street
San Francisco, California 94103

For more information about the exhibit, visit

A piece by 2014 Grantee, Bernie Lubell.

A previous piece by 2014 Grantee, Bernie Lubell.


2012 Grantee – The Pool

Jen Lewin’s new 2014 version of The Pool just returned from an exhibit in Singapore where it received an amazing response, including front-page coverage and personal tweets from the prime minister! It will next be traveling to Vivid Light festival in Sydney opening May 23 through June 9, then returning to the U.S. and heading to Burning Man as part of an honorarium to create a Super Pool.

For more information on Jen Lewin’s art visit

2012 Grantee, The Pool.

2012 Grantee, The Pool.


2007 Grantee – Mavis Muller

Mavis Muller, who always reminds us “life is not a support system for art, it’s the other way around,” told us about the 27th enactment in the Burning Basket series, which took place in the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. Using locally gathered materials, she created a woven sculpture of a fractured heart symbolizing the collective fractures left in the wake of devastating oil spills.

The piece, titled Life Support – The Basket of Sustenance & Solidarity, was first featured at an environmental art conference held in conjunction with World Water Day and 25th memoriam of Alaska’s massive oil spill.

It then moved on to be featured at Louisiana’s State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where legislators, lobbyists, activists, and visitors of all ages were invited to tie a colored ribbon of solidarity for the protection and restoration of the waters, cultures, fisheries, lives and livelihoods injured by traumatic oil spills in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico.

The basket sculpture was transported to the heart of the bayou where it continued to gather ribbons of solidarity at the T-Bois Blues festival. Life Support was then ignited and burned, releasing and dispersing positive intentions in the sparks and flames.

Follow Mavis at and

“Art can be a powerful way to connect communities that are separated by distance, disparate and incomparable, but share the heartbreak of loss due to traumatic oil spills. We can creatively merge our communities as we continue to heal and to shape our future. Imagination can create reality.”
– Mavis Muller
Life Support by 2007 Grantee, Mavis Muller.

Life Support by 2007 Grantee, Mavis Muller.


2004 Grantee – Reverend Billy & The Church of Stop Shopping Choir

Reverend Billy on his righteous struggle in defense of the honeybee…


We’re swarming at Times Square and Harvard University and Monsanto – a corporation that drenches the land with bee-killing pesticides and GMO crops. We returned from Cambridge, where we confronted designers of the Robobee, the robot slated to replace the Honey Bee as the real bee slides into extinction.

The Robobee lab at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) was exorcised by me and the Stop Shopping Choir, dressed as queen bees and singing a song in honor of the threatened Honey Bee. The Robobee would replace the Honey Bee with the capacity for artificial pollination. It is likely that the drone-makers (DARPA) at the Pentagon are also looking to use the science developed in this lab. (The lead scientist at the Micro-Robotics Lab is a DARPA fellow.)

On Sunday, May 4, we opened The HoneyBeeLujah Show at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater in New York City. Our “Fabulous Saint” this first Sunday was beekeeper Joseph McElroy, an urban farmer from the Bronx.

Directed by Savitri D., with Music Director Nehemiah Luckett, the performances feature the 40-member Stop Shopping Choir, fronted by yours truly, and accompanied by the five-piece Not Buying It Band. We have eight consecutive shows on Sundays at 2pm – with activist events during the week.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at or 212.967.7555.  Discounts are available, too, if you contact us Revbilly .

Will you join us? Will you shout out to your friends and family in New York? Spread the good word on your electronic networks on the web. RSVP on Facebook for The HoneyBeeLujah! Show. We’d also be honored if you followed and retweeted us @RevBillyTalen.

– Reverend Billy

Watch a clip of Reverend Billy’s most recent exorcism. Earthalujah!

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