Civic Arts Projects

In 2005 BRAF initiated our Civic Arts Program, a new model for public art placement. The program frequently works with existing artworks, many recognizable from the Burning Man community. By installing these works publicly, BRAF exposes these works to new audiences. New contexts are created, and the impact and relevance of the artworks evolve in unexpected and compelling ways, unique to each community.

The Civic Arts Program was born when Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Arts Commission encouraged BRAF to collaborate with the San Francisco’s Hayes Valley community and artist David Best to create an interactive ‘Temple.’ The Hayes Valley Temple quickly became a cherished focal point for the community, providing a beautiful space that inspired connection, dialog and civic pride. The Temple became our model of how artists, city officials and community members can collaborate to create meaningful public art work – art that addresses the specific needs of, reflects the unique character of and serves a connective function for the community.

Flock at Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, California. Photo by Scott Beale.

Flock at Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, California. Photo by Scott Beale.

BRAF has completed Civic Arts projects in San Francisco and the Bay Area, Reno, Nevada, and Detroit, Michigan, all of which have met with immense enthusiasm and appreciation from local communities, and each of which have raised the bar of community involvement, interactivity and quality of public artwork.

Sunset Piano Opus 3

Ongoing performances and outings in the Central Market area of San Francisco May 15 through September 15 of 2014! Made possible by a grant from the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, The Black Rock Arts Foundation is thrilled to collaborate with artist Mauro ffortissimo to bring his ongoing Sunset Piano project to San Francisco. Upcoming events: Check our…Keep reading >>

Homouroboros in San Francisco

BRAF is proud to support the exhibition of Peter Hudson’s Homourorboros at the Exploratorium‘s new location on Pier 15 in San Francisco. The piece will be present for a limited engagement, October 24 2013 through January 6, 2014.  The public can interact with the piece from 10am to 10pm daily. No museum admission is necessary.  The Black Rock Arts Foundation…Keep reading >>


The Black Rock Arts Foundation is proud to collaborate with the Flaming Lotus Girls artist collective to install their piece Soma in the Pier 14 tidal plaza on San Francisco’s Embarcadero waterfront. Soma by the Flaming Lotus Girls Pier 14 Tidal Plaza San Francisco, Ca, 94105 July 18, 2014 – Present Stainless steel. 12V lighting system 28′ H x 40′ W x…Keep reading >>

Big Art for Small Towns

In 2012, the Black Rock Arts Foundation, the City of Fernley, Nevada, and the Burning Man Project collaborated to launch their new joint initiative, Big Art for Small Towns. The partners were awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant (BRAF’s second N.E.A. grant), an Our Town grant, in the amount of $75,000. The Our Town grant is a matching grant, and the…Keep reading >>


In close collaboration with artist Charles Gadeken and community members in Palo Alto, The Black Rock Arts Foundation is excited to help bring Aurora to downtown Palo Alto. Aurora by Charles Gadeken Palo Alto City Hall Plaza 250 Hamilton Ave. Palo Alto, California 94301 November 1, 2013 – Present Mixed metal (steel and copper), over 40,000 L.E.D. lights 30’H x 40’W x 40’D Thanks…Keep reading >>


For decades, a particular brand of urban explorer has felt compelled to delve into the unseen and underground layers of city infrastructure. Guided by a sense of adventure and a desire for a broader understanding of the systems that support contemporary urban life, these explorations often reveal as much about the explorer as the territory explored. What is it about…Keep reading >>

Portal of Evolution

The Black Rock Arts Foundation proudly announces the installation of artist Bryan Tedrick’s sculpture, Portal of Evolution at a newly established public art location at Reno’s City Plaza next to Reno City Hall. Portal of Evolution by Bryan Tedrick Reno’s City Plaza 10 North Virginia Plaza Reno, NV  89501 July 9, 2012 – Approximately December 2013, TBD Steel. Stainless steel. 26’H…Keep reading >>

Before I Die…

The Black Rock Arts Foundation proudly collaborates on the installation of artist Candy Chang’s interactive mural, Before I Die… , at two locations in downtown Reno. These two murals will be on display, for the benefit of the community, for at least six months. Before I Die… by Candy Chang Sierra St and Island Avenue and at Apex Products at 415 East Fourth…Keep reading >>

Future’s Past

In close collaboration with the Hayes Valley Arts Coalition (HVAC) and Hayes Valley community members, the Black Rock Arts Foundation brings another admired work of art to the public park known as Patricia’s Green in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, California. We’re proud to share Future’s Past, by esteemed artist Kate Raudenbush with the San Francisco community. Future’s Past by…Keep reading >>

The Bike Bridge

The Bike Bridge is currently on view in Gerlach, Nevada. The Bike Bridge By Bike Bridge students, artist Michael Christian, and The Crucible Oakland Gerlach, Nevada September 2, 2014 – Present Past exhibitions: Black Rock City, Nevada August 25, 2014 – September 2, 2014 Between 19th St and William St on Telegraph Ave, California March 8, 2013 – August 11, 2014…Keep reading >>

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…Keep reading >>

The Heart Machine

The Heart Machine debuted at Burning Man in 2010, presenting a sophisticated fusion of concept, interactivity, aesthetics and amusement to the citizens of the city. The piece is comprised of a large sculpture of a robotic, but recognizably human-shaped, heart surrounded by four 16′ pillars, or “arteries,” that display light effects and emit 25’ columns of fire when activated. The Heart…Keep reading >>

Bliss Dance

Burning Man festival participants have come to expect art that impresses, outdoes previous projects, and pushes the limits of scale, engineering, and visual spectacle. But at the 2010 festival, one work stood out among the rest. Both visually breathtaking and a feat of construction, Marco Cochrane’s Bliss Dance necessitates public exposure. A work of this caliber deserves to be shared…Keep reading >>

Market Street Blooms

In partnership with the San Francisco Arts Commission, Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) proudly supported the installation of the Market Street Blooms, two of Karen Cusolito’s 20-foot flower sculptures, at U.N. Plaza and across the street at 1123 Market Street. These sculptures made their San Francisco debut as part of SFAC’s Art In Storefronts Program (AIS). Market Street Blooms by Karen Cusolito…Keep reading >>

The Raygun Gothic Rocketship

The Black Rock Arts Foundation proudly collaborated with artists Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, David Shulman, Alan Rorie and their talented crew ( on the installation of the iconic, large-scale sculpture, The Raygun Gothic Rocketship at Pier 14 on San Francisco’s waterfront. We held an opening reception for the work on August 6th, 2010. Raygun Gothic Rocketship by Sean Orlando, Nathaniel Taylor, David Shulman, and their…Keep reading >>


In close partnership with Hayes Valley Arts Coalition, the Black Rock Arts Foundation proudly supported the installation of Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito’s sculpture Ecstasy at Patricia’s Green in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, Ca. By Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito San Francicso, California February 7, 2010 – October 21, 2011 Reclaimed steel 30’H x 9’W x 9’D…Keep reading >>

Duel Nature

Duel Nature by Kate Raudenbush graced the waterfront of the Truckee River in downtown Reno, Nevada, from May 21, 2010 to December 1, 2010. Located on the corner of Sierra Street and Island Avenue, this elegant and contemplative work transformed a once empty lot into a temporary interactive art installation, performance venue and community gathering space. Duel Nature by Kate…Keep reading >>

The Composting Contraption

com⋅post [kɒmpɒst] n. – a combination of various decaying organic substances that are being decomposed largely through aerobic decomposition into a rich black soil. con⋅trap⋅tion [kuhn-trap-shuhn] n. – a mechanical contrivance; gadget; device. The Composting Contraption by Paul Cesewski San Francisco, California May 1, 2010 – July 30, 2011 Reclaimed materials 25’H x 30’W x 20’D About the Project The Composting Contraption was a…Keep reading >>

ScrapEden – The American Dream

ScrapEden on the Playa 2008 Scrap: n. Discarded, leftover or unused material. Eden: n. A delightful place, a garden, a paradise. ScrapEden: n. This year the Black Rock Arts Foundation’s ScrapEden playa-garden draws on the likeness of a working-class American backyard. We’ll create a casual, welcoming environment strewn with clotheslines of colorful, flowing panels of fabric. We’ll lounge in the…Keep reading >>

Tree Spire

The Black Rock Arts Foundation is proud to support a permanent installation of Tree Spire. Tree Spire, by the Iron Monkeys Whitaker Park, Reno, Nevada October 2009 15′ H x 7’ W Wood, steel About the Project First funded by Burning Man and exhibited in Black Rock City 2007, Tree Spire was the first project created by the Seattle art collective, the…Keep reading >>

Celtic Forest

Celtic Forest: The Book of the Raven was the second incarnation of the urban art space in Reno, Nevada, originally inhabited by The Mangrove. The installation of Celtic Forest was an ambitious undertaking. Its scale, number of pieces and many fire effects enchanted the Reno community, as it created an interactive art environment and raised the bar for public art in…Keep reading >>

The Mangrove

From September 6, 2008 to December 13, 2008, the Black Rock Arts Foundation proudly collaborated with five different artists collectives to present The Mangrove, a collection of tree sculptures. The Mangrove by Kitty Gordon, David Boyer, Ryan Jackson, Jennifer Forbes and Jessica Reeder, and the Iron Monkeys art collective Sierra St and Island Avenue, Reno, Nevada September 6, 2008 – December 13, 2008 Reclaimed…Keep reading >>

The Panhandle Bandshell

The Panhandle Bandshell was a collaboration between BRAF, The Finch Mob, REBAR Group, CMG Landscape Architecture and the North of the Panhandle Neighborhood Association (NOPNA). Panhandle Bandshell by The Finch Mob and REBAR art collectives, and Christopher Guillard of CMG Landscape Architecture San Francisco, California June 23, 2007 – September 3, 2007 Reclaimed materials 25’H x 30’W x 20’D About the…Keep reading >>

Temple of the American Dream

The Black Rock Arts Foundation is proud to partner with Motor City Blight Busters in the creation of The Temple of the American Dream in Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood. The Temple was completed in June, 2008. Temple of the American Dream by Lead Artist, David Best, and crew Grand River and Lahser Road, Detroit, Michigan Reclaimed scrap wood from toy construction 25’H x 15’W x…Keep reading >>

Homouroboros in San Jose

From May 15 to June 15, 2008, The Black Rock Arts Foundation proudly collaborated with artist Peter Hudson to bring his masterwork Homouroboros to downtown San Jose, Ca, exhibited at the Discovery Meadow, near the Children’s Discovery Museum. BRAF is thrilled to have had the opportunity to bring this groundbreaking interactive work to the diverse community of San Jose at…Keep reading >>

Stan: The Submerging Man

The beloved work of Northern California artist Finley Fryer, Stan: The Submerging Man, took up fresh roots in a new urban park as part of neighborhood beautification. The work was on display, free to the park’s visitors and community, from May of 2007 till April of 2008. Stan: The Submerging Man by Finley Fryer Victoria Manalo Draves Park, San Francisco, California…Keep reading >>

Sol Flor

A colorful recycled mosaic series, Sol Flor was designed by artist Jennifer Alexander for the Juri Commons, located at 25th Street & Guerrero in San Francisco.  Sol Flor was created in collaboration with the Juri Commoners, a group of area residents and park enthusiasts. Sol Flor by Jen Alexander Juri Commons 25th and Guerrero St, San Francisco, California Reclaimed plastic…Keep reading >>

The Dreamer

San Francisco residents and visitors enjoyed this enchanting addition to the cherished and familiar landscape of Golden Gate Park. The Dreamer by Pepe Ozan Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California May 2007 – November 2007 Mixed media 18’H x 24’W x 24’D About the Project The Dreamer was commissioned by Burning Man in 2005, as part of its theme ‘Psyche’. Inspired…Keep reading >>

Casa de la Imaginacion

Artist Wendy Testu collaborated with students from the Leonard R. Flynn Elementary School and The Mission Parents Group, to create a small open play space constructed from leftover building supplies, tree branch trimmings, rubber bicycle tires, and plastic milk cartons, among other things. Casa de la Imaginacion by Wendy Testu Parque Ninos Unidos 23rd Street & Treat San Francisco, California…Keep reading >>


June 16th, 2007 marked the opening dedication of both Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito’s sculpture, Passage, and the newly renovated breakwater which is now a public access pier. Passage by Dan DasMann and Karen Cusolito Pier 14 on the San Francisco Embarcadero, California June 16, 2006 – November 2007 Reclaimed steel 30’H x 20’W x 9’D About the Project Passage, originally…Keep reading >>

ScrapEden – Hope and Fear

ScrapEden on the Playa 2006 Scrap: n. Discarded waste material, often metal suitable for reprocessing.  Eden: n. A delightful place, a garden, a paradise. ScrapEden: n. 1. A delightful garden made of re-claimed discarded waste material, often metal suitable for reprocessing. 2. Black Rock City’s First Participant-Based Community Garden, created by the community for the community 3. A project of…Keep reading >>


Pepe Ozan’s whimsical Monicacos enjoyed a brief installation on San Francisco’s Blue Greenway waterfront. Monicacos by Pepe Ozan The Blue Greenway, San Francisco, California June 2006 – December 2006 Steel, wire mesh, fiberglass and polymer resin Four figures, ranging in height, tallest is 14 feet.   About the Project The dedication of Pepe Ozan’s ‘Monicacos de Esperanza’ with Mayor Gavin Newsom and…Keep reading >>


In conjunction with Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office, BRAF worked to bring Michael Christian’s Flock to Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco. Flock by Michael Christian Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, California November 2005 – February 2006 Steel 40’H x 30’W x 20’D About the Project This 42-foot tall sculpture of welded-steel conjures both plant and animal shapes. The form of an otherworldly…Keep reading >>

Hayes Green Temple

In 2005, Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Arts Commission encouraged BRAF to collaborate with the San Francisco’s Hayes Valley community and artist David Best to create an interactive ‘Temple.’ Known for his breathtaking and poignant temples at the Burning Man event, Best and his crew created a temple in recognition of the Hayes Valley community. The Hayes Green…Keep reading >>