Black Rock Arts Foundation – Year in Review
Burning Man Arts – To the Future!
2014 marked the culmination of Black Rock Art’s Foundations thirteen years of hard work and growth. After much planning and preparation, BRAF joined forces with Burning Man’s Art Department in July of 2014 to create the new program, Burning Man Arts. The new program will operate under the management of Burning Man Project.
We’re sure this transition sparks a few questions. To learn more, read our F.A.Q. on our transition to Burning Man Arts. In a nutshell, here are a few good things to know:
- BRAF’s programs will continue under the same rigorous criteria and efficient management that have produced and supported its projects and events.
- All currently supported projects will receive the funding committed to them.
- All donations to BRAF, earmarked for specific projects and programs, will still fund those projects and programs.
- BRAF’s 2015 grant cycle, BRAF’s Grants to Artists program, is already underway as the Global Art Grants program of Burning Man Arts, and will be juried by the same review committee, under the same rubric, as years’ previous.
- New Civic Arts projects are being considered by the same review committee, and will be supervised by the same BRAF staff that has managed over 25 previous Civic Arts projects.
BRAF was created with the goal of carrying the Burning Man ethos into the world, and to connect like-minded artists with the incredibly resourceful and supportive extended Burning Man community. In 2001, Black Rock Arts Foundation began giving small seed grants to artists and art collectives to make art in their home-town. In 2005, a series of fortuitous circumstances led to the creation of our Civic Arts program.
Over the last thirteen years, BRAF has:
- Produced or supported over 150 projects
- Produced or co-produced over 93 events
- Created a new model of inclusive collaboration that values the input and participation of local citizens, city officials, schools and youth groups, artists collectives, community organizations, volunteers, and the larger Burning Man extended community.
- Developed a successful fiscal sponsorship program that increases the reach and resources for commendable, like-minded projects and organizations.
- Cultivated fruitful and meaningful relationships with community partner organizations, such as San Francisco Art Commission, Maker Faire, Exploratorium, Presidio Trust, Illuminate the Arts, Zero One Festival, Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, San Francisco Department of the Environment, San Francisco Recreation and Parks, San Francisco Port Authority, The Crucible, city officials in San Francisco and Oakland, California, Reno and Fernley, Nevada, and other cities, and many more arts and civic organizations.
By pooling the vast resources and connections of Black Rock Arts Foundation, Burning Man Project and Burning Man, Burning Man Arts will be able to support more projects and artists worldwide. Together, we can finally offer our community’s artists the exposure and variety of support they deserve. This joining of forces will allow us to:
- Offer a unified, streamlined grant application process for all projects destined for the Burning Man event or for other cities, worldwide.
- Provide more diverse services to artists.
- Allow donors to contribute to a vast range of artistic endeavors that represent Burning Man’s expressive culture.
- Produce more interactive, community-driven art projects worldwide.
- Enlist the eager and available support of the extended Burning Man community.
This is in no way an ending of BRAF’s programming. In fact, we see this transition as our greatest programming accomplishment! The staff of BRAF (now officially employees of Burning Man Project) are motivated and ready to share their expertise and lessons learned with their new team of collaborators, and are looking forward, with great optimism, to a new chapter in the history of public art.
This moment would not have been possible without the generous support of our donors, volunteers, and collaborators. Thank you to all who have stood by BRAF over the years. We encourage you to join us in this next chapter by making a donation to Burning Man Arts.
Black Rock Arts Foundation Newsletter – Time to Sign up for JRS!
As you know, promoting our community’s artists has always been BRAF’s number one priority. BRAF artists stand to benefit greatly from this new boost of exposure and increase in resources.
The Black Rock Arts Foundation newsletter, as you know it, will technically end. However, this doesn’t mean an end to the exciting updates about past BRAF grantees, or to our promotion of their growth and current activities. Burning Man’s email newsletter, Jack Rabbit Speaks (or JRS) will now feature a Burning Man Arts section, which will link to a full, monthly report of all our artists’ happenings, both on and off-playa. Our BRAF grantee projects will now reach a readership of 160,000.
The same team of writers (Josie Schimke, Peter Bejger and Denise Li) will keep you updated with all the fun and cool events produced by our community’s artists.
This means, to continue to get updates about BRAF artists, you need to sign up for the JRS!
BRAF Staff’s New Roles
All of the BRAF staff are now employees of Burning Man. Eli Peterson will continue to oversee administration the off-playa (Global Art Grants) program. Joe Meschede, BRAF’s newest employee, will continue to offer administrative support to our public art projects. Josie Schimke will continue to tell the stories of our artists via our monthly artist updates, public relations, and grant-writing.
BRAF Executive Director, Tomas McCabe, will continue as the Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives. In this new role, McCabe will have the opportunity to connect more partners, community members, and potential collaborators with the artists of our community. McCabe’s focus will be on developing special projects and partnerships. McCabe looks forward to connecting BRAF’s and Burning Man’s established supporters with new ventures.
In 2014, BRAF maintained its diverse revenue stream, with almost 64% coming through fee-based program services. The Black Rock Arts Foundation is a financially sound, effective organization that has been managed using non-profit best practices.
Sources of Revenue
BRAF’s largest source of revenue is its contributions portfolio, which is as diverse as the communities that we serve. Most of our revenue was contributed by individuals like you.
53% of BRAF’s contributions come from individuals.
Over 75% of BRAFs expenses were program related in 2014. This means that most of our spending went directly to artists who are creating art in their community, worldwide.
Projects and Events
In February of this year, artists Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn‘s unveiled their piece, And My Room Still Rocks Like a Boat on the Sea (Caruso’s Dream). The work is a permanent site-specific artwork commissioned by Avalon Bay (through a request for proposals organized by BRAF) for its new 17-story residential high-rise at 55 Ninth Street, San Francisco, California.
Says Goggin of the work, “The whole piece is inspired by this moment when the opera star Enrico Caruso was awakened by the Great Calamity of April 18, 1906, while he was staying at the Palace Hotel. He did not know if he was awake or still dreaming as he was walking to the window to see the results of the ongoing earthquake.”
Opening Reception – February 23, 2014
The Unveiling Happening Event for And My Room Still Rocks Like a Boat on the Sea (Caruso’s Dream) was a spectacle to behold. Artists Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn introduced the work to a crowd of at least 1000. The angelic voices of opera singers soared throughout the city block as aerialists descended from the 18 story high-rise, landing on the sculpture and unveiled it for all to see.
Bay Lights Anniversary – March 6, 2014
The Bay Lights turned one-year-old this March. On its anniversary, the piece went dark for ten minutes. Artist Leo Villareal will led a countdown to the re-lighting at Market Bar in the San Francisco Ferry Building. This event was free and open to the public. In addition, KFOG-FM 104.5 broadcasted the event and with a special 20-minute Bay Lights soundtrack.
Illuminated Bike Ride – March 7, 2014
BRAF, the SF Bicycle Coalition and SF Bike Party lit up the streets with this illuminated bike ride. The ride began on the Embarcadero, in front of the “Cupid’s Span” bow-and-arrow sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The group then met up with Ben Davis, the visionary behind the Bay Lights concept, who spoke of Leo Villareal’s monumental contribution to public art. Volunteers from SF Bike Party then led the group on a fun and safe ride through the city with stops to dance and socialize along the way. Participants decorated their bikes with all kinds of L.E.D. and other colored lights, while showing off their illuminated costumes.
Big Art for Small Towns
This two-year, National Endowment for the Arts (N.E.A.) funded project debuted in 2014 with the installation of all three public artworks and two receptions. In 2012, BRAF and the City of Fernley, Nevada, launched this new initiative. A collaboration with the Burning Man Project, the project was awarded BRAF’s second N.E.A. grant, an Our Town grant, in the amount of $75,000.
Through the Big Art for Small Towns project, BRAF and the Fernley community curated and produced three works of public art: Rockspinner 6, by Zachary Coffin, The Bottlecap Gazebo, by Max Poynton and Andrew Grinberg, and the new, collaboratively created work, Desert Tortoise, by Pan Pantoja and the children of Fernley. The works were installed in July, 2014.
Big Art for Small Towns – Public Preview – March 13, 2014
The City of Fernley and the Black Rock Arts Foundation hosted an informal informational presentation and reception for Big Art for Small Towns. Attendees enjoyed a brief talk by Desert Tortoise artist, Pan Pantoja and a presentation by BRAF representatives on the entire Big Art for Small Towns project. The event coincided with an exhibit of visuals in Fernley’s City Hall.
Big Art for Small Towns Opening Reception – August 7, 2014
The installation and debut of these three public works was cause for celebration, indeed. BRAF hosted a lively Opening Reception for a crowd of 300 community members, featuring art-making activities for kids and adults, aerialist performances, live music, remarks by Burning Man and BRAF Board Member Crimson Rose and by Fernley Mayor LeRoy Goodman.
2014 Grantees – April 1, 2014
In April, BRAF announced 2014’s BRAF Grants to Artist grantees. This year, the Black Rock Arts Foundation Grants Committee awarded more money than ever, $70,000, to more projects than ever before (15 in total.) Awardees included such diverse and ingenious projects such as:
- Interactive L.E.D. murals in Bombay and Dharamasala, India
- Mini art museums made of shipping containers in Oxford, Mississippi
- A performance/installation illustrating the waveforms of its visitors’ pulses in Barcelona, Spain
- A spirited and entertaining free fire art festival in Reno, Nevada
- A thriving, free, and accessible art studio for low-income and homeless artists in San Francisco, California
- A roaming cabinet of curiosities in Wales, United Kingdom
- An impressive program of visual, installation, and performance art in Caracas, Venezuela
- A garden of oversized, glowing flowers, each made from intricately folded plastic, which respond to visitors with motion and sound in San Francisco, California
- … and more. Read on for complete descriptions of all 15 projects.
BRAF is proud to foster the evolution and growth of these projects, and will continue to report on their progress through Burning Man’s Jack Rabbit Speaks.
BRAF was founded out of the sincere wish to support, in every way possible, artists who are breaking the traditional mold of public art, who are prioritizing community involvement, and sharing their art with their community in the spirit of generosity and service. With this intent, BRAF launched a fiscal sponsorship program that has supported various public art projects since 2007.
Fiscal Sponsorship of Burning Man Projects – May 9, 2014
When Burning Man transitioned to non-profit status, BRAF was finally able to offer fiscal sponsorship to artists creating work for Black Rock City. BRAF announced this new pilot program and introduced an impressive selection of sponsored projects on May 9, 2014.
BRAF has been funding off-playa projects since 2001. As the original offspring non-profit organization of the Burning Man event, BRAF recognizes that the art projects shared at the Burning Man event meet and actualize BRAF’s mission to a high degree.
Going forward, supporters are now able to offer tax deductible donations to projects bound for the playa though BRAF. We hope that this creates new fundraising opportunities for worthy and inspired projects such as these.
Sunset Piano Opus 3 – May – September, 2014
Made possible by a grant from the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, The Black Rock Arts Foundation collaborated with artist Mauro ffortissimo to bring his ongoing Sunset Piano project to San Francisco. In this iteration, Sunset Piano Opus 3 placed temporarily places pianos in public places in the Market Street district of San Francisco, California, inviting both local musicians and the general public to play a tune. The results were a harmonious array of dramatic, playful, moving and lively melodies!
The project hosted a total of fourteen events, and will most likely continue the projects next year.
KQED Burning Man Art Beyond the Playa Wins Award – June 14, 2014
The KQED team that produced a segment about the impact of Burning Man art off of the Playa 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. BRAF congratulates Executive Producer Joanne Elgart Jennings, Producer Lori Halloran, Reporter Thuy Vu, and the rest of the crew.
Future’s Past De-install – July 14, 2014
July saw the deinstall of Kate Raudenbush’s Future’s Past after its two-year stay in Hayes Valley in San Francisco. BRAF was thrilled that it was so welcomed and loved by the local residents, and that its stay was extended for so long. What was meant to be a one-year exhibition was extended to two. Many thanks to the Hayes Valley Arts Coalition, Raudenbush’s crew of tireless workers, all the project’s donors and supporters, and, of course, to Kate Raudenbush for her inspiring work.
Defenestration De-install – July 31, 2014
In July, we had to say goodbye to a beloved work of public art. Defenestration, fiscally sponsored by BRAF in 2010, by Brian Goggin, transformed a San Francisco building into a renowned art site in 1997, and for seventeen years it remained. This multi-disciplinary sculptural mural displayed seemingly animated furniture; tables, chairs, lamps, grandfather clocks, a refrigerator, and couches, their bodies bent like centipedes, fastened to the walls and window-sills, their insect-like legs seeming to grasp the surfaces. Against society’s expectations, these everyday objects flooded out of windows like escapees, out onto available ledges, up and down the walls, onto the fire escapes and off the roof.
Defenestration was created by Brian Goggin with the help of over 100 volunteers, and individual works were restored four years ago with generous community support, including artwork donated by Banksy.
BRAF was proud and pleased to work again with the Flaming Lotus Girls to bring their interactive sculptural installation, Soma, to Pier 14 in San Francisco, California. Originally displayed at Burning Man in 2009, Soma depicts two communicating neurons connected by an axon bridge. A soma is the cell body of a neuron, with branching dendrites projecting away at different angles, and an axon which conducts the nerve signal electrochemically to its neighboring cell.
Soma translates the anatomy of neurons into metal, fire and light, magnifying the microscopic world to an epic scale. In this urban installation, Soma features interactive LEDs to create a spectacular daytime and nighttime experience.
Soma was BRAF’s third piece installed at the Pier 14 Tidal Plaza on San Francisco’s Embarcadero waterfront. BRAF previously collaborated with the Port of San Francisco in 2007 to bring Passage by Karen Cusolito and Dan Das Mann and in 2010 to bring the Raygun Gothic Rocketship by Sean Orlando, David Shulman, Nathaniel Taylor, Alan Rorie, and the Five Ton Crane crew to the same location.
Soma Opening Reception – August 1, 2014
On August 1, the public was invited to a boisterous celebration of this fantastic large-scale work. The event included special presentation by the Flaming Lotus Girls artists, other special guest speakers, music, dancing, and lighting ceremony.
BRAF at Burning Man August 25 – September 2, 2014
Once again, BRAF returned to our source of inspiration: Black Rock City. This year, we hosted even more events at the Everywhere Pavillion, including daily panel discussions, receptions, and social event. The highlights of the panel discussions included presentations by BRAF Grantees and a talk by renowned “temple” artist, David Best.
Social gatherings celebrated the many outreach efforts by the affiliate groups: Black Rock Solar, BRAF, Burners Without Borders, and Burning Man’s Global Network. BRAF’s annual cocktail party was a delightful opportunity for BRAF supporters and collaborators to mix and mingle, as well as hear about BRAF’s future as Burning Man Arts.
In 2012, BRAF received its first N.E.A. grant for the creation and installation of the Bike Bridge. Public art and Burning Man artist Michael Christian was selected from a pool of applicants to lead the project. Christian collaborated with twelve girls from seven different high schools in the design and creation of this large-scale work of art, using reclaimed bicycle parts as their primary medium. The results were impressive and inspiring!
Bike Bridge moves to Burning Man – August 15, 2014
The Bike Bridge ended its one-and-one-half year stay in Oakland, California, but continues to live on. In August, Burning Man facilitated the exhibition of the piece in front of the events Center Camp Cafe, where it seemed right at home amidst the many bicycles parked. Burning Man participants were moved by the inclusive and educational aspects of this project’s creation.
Bike Bridge moves to Gerlach – September 11, 2014
After its stay at Burning Man, The Bike Bridge moved to its new permanent home in Gerlach, Nevada. The artists and BRAF are thrilled to share the work with the small town of Gerlach, the closest town to Black Rock City. This phenomenal example of the Burning Man spirit, as it embodies the principles of communal effort and self-expression, is one small way BRAF can thank this small community for its support of the Burning Man event.
Artumnal Gathering – November 22, 2014
This year’s Artumnal Gathering was certainly the most splendid and elegant Artumnal to date! The evening was full of dear friends, impressive performances, irresistibly danceable live music, and surprising delights for the eyes and ears at every turn. 250 dinner guests enjoyed an animated live auction and a scrumptious dinner. Later, a crowd of 1000 revelled to live music and Dj’s, and enjoyed captivating performances, original artworks, a silent auction featuring one of a kind experiences and items, an art gallery, and abundant expressions of creativity.
Over 200 volunteers, artists, performers, and crew contributed their talents and energy to the event. The Artumnal Gathering is truly a communal effort and celebration of our artists and culture.
Together with the event’s guests, we graciously acknowledged BRAF Grantees and Civic Arts artists as well as the artists of Burning Man. This year’s Artumnal Gathering raised funds for future Burning Man Arts projects.
Illuminate the Arts Walk – December 6, 2014
Once again, BRAF and San Francisco Travel’s Illuminate the Arts hosted this celebration of illuminated public artwork. The walk visited 15 luminous public artworks by internationally renowned light artists including Jim Campbell, Ned Kahn, James Turrell and Leo Villareal. This was the first event of this season’s art walks.