Frequently Asked Questions about the Black Rock Arts Foundation

Download a PDF file of our FAQ. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the mission of the Black Rock Arts Foundation?

  • The mission of the Black Rock Arts Foundation is to support and promote community, interactive art and civic participation.

Who founded the Black Rock Arts Foundation?

  • The Black Rock Arts Foundation was founded by several of the partners who produce Burning Man, an annual arts festival in the Nevada desert.
  • BRAF was established to promote and support highly engaging, collaborative and accessible public art, akin to the work experienced at the Burning Man event, bringing this new genre of art to communities worldwide, “the other 51 weeks of the year”.
  • Because BRAF works beyond the borders of Black Rock City, the foundation was established as a separate identity and organization.

 Why was it founded?

  • In response to the lack of free, accessible art in the public, and to promote community-based exhibitions of socially interactive art.
  • To be a dedicated source of funding of interactive art.
  • To support the artists and art organizations affiliated with the Burning Man community.
  • To share the art we’ve come to know and love with other communities.
  • To create a movement of public art that invites interaction and personal relationship with the artworks.
  • To provide ways for artists to connect with audiences outside of traditional arts institutions.

When was it founded?

  • The Black Rock Arts Foundation was established in May of 2001.  The foundation applied for its 501(c)(3) status in July of 2001 and received it in November of 2001. Our Federal Tax Exempt ID number is 91-2130056.

What is ‘Interactive’ Art?

  • For our purposes, interactive art means art that generates social participation. The process whereby this art is created, the means by which it is displayed and the character of the work itself should inspire immediate actions that connect individuals to one another and to their community. 

What are our Values?

  • Interactivity – We value art that prompts the viewer to act. We like art that can be experienced in more ways than visually. We are fans of art that is meant to be touched, heard or experienced, as well as viewed; art that requires human interaction to complete the piece, that prompts people to interact with one another, that responds to participants and to its environment.
  • Community – We value art that builds community through education, collaboration and activism. We see that when an art project arises from the need of a community, it belongs to the public and exists for the benefit of all. When a work is freely accessible to the public, civic in scope and inclusive by nature, it challenges the traditional perspectives on art. When an interactive artwork becomes part of a community, it demands the stewardship of its citizens, engendering ownership, responsibility and pride.
  • Education – We value art that goes beyond artistic expression; we value art that educates. We support projects that prioritize collaboration with local youth and educators. We know that, with guidance and support, the creation of art is a most powerful tool to educate youth about the pressing concerns of their times, including issues around the environment, renewable energy, and climate change.
  • Activism – We value art that causes people to reflect on the larger community. We see art as a way to connect individuals, and call them to action. We commend art that challenges individuals to reexamine their everyday lives and their role in their immediate and larger community. We support art that educates about the alternatives to consumerism and the reduction of environmental impact. Through art, we seek to promote the use renewable resources, environmental justice and social responsibility. 

What are our Goals?

  • To promote a revival of art’s culture bearing and connective function by removing art from its context in the marketplace and reintegrating it into community.
  • To rekindle one of art’s most valuable functions: connecting community members in creation, curiosity, and wonderment.
  • To collaboratively produce innovative, relevant and pioneering works of public art that build community.

What does the Black Rock Arts Foundation do?

  • Black Rock Arts Foundation is a grant making organization as well as a grant recipient.  We currently have two main programs in place:
    • Grants to Artist: Furnishes artists with direct financial aid for the production and display of highly interactive, community-driven art projects. Any individual artist, organization or artist collective, from anywhere in the world, can apply for a grant. Grants amounts typically range from $2000 to $6,000. Letters of Interest are due in December. BRAF awards grants to about 10 projects each year.
    • Civic Arts Program: Working with artworks and artists you might recognize from the Burning Man community, we help find new audiences and create new contexts for artworks in public settings, in San Francisco and beyond. Civic Arts proposals are accepted by invitation only.

 Who’s on our Board of Directors?

  • The members of the Black Rock Arts Foundation Board are Alix Rosenthal, Amber Marie Bently, Breanna de Geere, Christina Pettigrew, Crimson Rose, Dave Aiazzi, Freddy Hahne, Harley K. Dubois, Jeremy Sugerman, John Mueller, Larry Harvey, Mark Sinclair, Nick Morgan, Rachel Carpenter, Terry Gross, Tracy Burton, Warren Trezevant and Will Roger Peterson.
  • Board meetings are held semi-monthly at the Foundation’s office in San Francisco. The Executive Director runs the Foundation’s programs from the main office.
  • The board is unpaid for any and all activities associated with Black Rock Arts Foundation endeavors, although individual members may be associated with particular projects.

How is Black Rock Arts Foundation funded?

  • We receive funds from grants from other foundations and organizations, and from donations from individuals and community groups. Our primary source of funding is donations from individuals.
  • BRAF’s past supporters have included the Bill Graham Foundation, the Bains Family Foundation, the Brown Foundation, the Buchheit Foundation, the City of Reno Arts and Culture Commission, the Darby Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, the Koret Foundation, the La Vida Feliz Foundation, the Leatherback Foundation, the Mental Insight Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, the Pittman Family Foundation, the Robert B. Hawkins Foundation, the Rock Paper Scissors Foundation, the San Francisco Grants for the Arts Hotel Tax Fund, and the San Francisco Port Commission.

How and where is BRAF legally incorporated?

  • The Black Rock Arts Foundation is incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the State of Nevada and has its primary place of business and office at 995 Market St – 9th Floor, San Francisco, California.
  • The corporation is also registered as a foreign corporation in the State of California. The corporation filed for charitable 501(c) 3 tax-exempt status with the I.R.S. in July 2001 and received its initial determination letter in 2001.

Who else makes Black Rock Arts Foundation happen?

  • Black Rock Arts Foundation employs three full time staff members, the Executive Director, Program Assistant and Office Manager, and one part time Bookkeeper.
  • We also have an Advisory Board, made up of community members and interested parties.

What are BRAF’s current projects on display?

  • Bliss Dance by Marco Cochrane
    The Great Lawn, near 9th and Avenue of the Palms, Treasure Island, San Francisco, California
    May 6, 2011 – Present
  • Future’s Past by Kate Raudenbush
    Patricia’s Green at Octavia and Hayes St, San Francisco, California
    May 10, 2012 – Approximately March 2014
  • Portal of Evoloution by Bryan Tedrick
    10 North Virginia Plaza, Reno, Nevada
    July 9, 2012 – December 2013
  • The Bike Bridge by Michael Christian and youth artists
    Between 19th St and William St on Telegraph Ave, Oakland, California
    California March 8, 2013 – Present
  • Check our website (www.blackrockarts.org) to read about numerous ongoing and upcoming BRAF and BRAF Grantee projects, worldwide.

What’s in our future?

  • In 2012, BRAF was awarded a $75,000 matching grant from the N.E.A. towards the launch of our newest initiative, Big Art for Small Towns. Working in collaboration with the City of Fernley Nevada and the Burning Man Project, BRAF will use the funds to develop and install large-scale works of art in this small Nevada town to promote arts-led economic and civic development.This two-phase project will happen over the course of two years. In Phase 1, the City of Fernley, Nevada, the Burning Man Project and BRAF’s Civic Arts Committee are working together to install two pieces of large-scale sculpture in a new city-owned park in Fernley. These works are scheduled to be installed either the winter of 2013 or spring of 2014, pending park completion.For the Phase 1 projects, the experienced leaders of BRAF’s Civic Arts Committee presented several proposals for artwork to the City and provided guidance in the selection of the artworks. The Phase 2 project will be lead by a competitively selected Lead Artist, who will work with local residents to create an original public artwork that reflects 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.

How do I contact the Black Rock Arts Foundation? Where’s our office?

Black Rock Arts Foundation
660 Alabama St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 626-1248
info @blackrockarts.org  (info @blackrockarts.org)