Bike Bridge – Gateway to the Uptown sculpture garden

27 Jul

You might have read earlier this month that the opening date of the Uptown sculpture garden has been delayed from December 2011 to March 2012, but have you heard about the centerpiece sculpture chosen for the space? Because I’m often a month behind on blogs (except for a few), I was ecstatic this morning to read a Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) blog post written a month ago about this piece.

From the beginning of this fight – when advocates including myself convinced the City Council to approve an arts space instead of a surface parking lot in the lot between the Uptown apartments and the Fox Theater – I dreamed about Burning Man style art being featured there. I’m often frustrated that San Francisco gets to publicly display so many East Bay Burning Man art pieces, like Ecstasy and the Raygun Rocket Ship, and I thought this was the perfect space for Oakland to showcase East Bay art. Well, my dreams have come true.

Actually, this art piece is even better than what I imagined. The project is being led by one of my favorite Burning Man artists, Michael Christian, but it’s being created by 12 young Oakland women. Also, it’s made of reclaimed bike parts. Here are the details from BRAF’s blog:

The Black Rock Arts Foundation is thrilled to announce the award of $10,000 granted from the National Endowment for the Arts for our newest project, The Bike Bridge. This new project, which launched in April of 2011, is the next evolution of our community-focused public art projects. This educational and creative program is designed specifically to engage youth living on Oakland, California.

The Bike Bridge is a collaboration with the youth of Oakland, artistMichael Christian, and with partner organization The Crucible. The 12 enrolled participants, all young women, begin the project with classes in welding and art-bicycle creation, generously hosted by The Crucible. The program culminates in the collaborative creation of a large-scale sculpture made entirely of reclaimed bicycle parts, led by Christian.

In the second phase of the project, artist Christian will work with The Crucible’s instructors and the youth participants to design a “skeleton” structure that can later be embellished by the youths. These embellishments will be made of reclaimed bicycle parts, connecting with “green,” urban bike culture and tapping into the exciting, creative buzz around “art” bikes.

The plan is for Bike Bridge to serve as a gateway to the sculpture garden, and I couldn’t imagine anything more appropriate.

In case you’re having a hard time visualizing this process, here are some photos from BRAF’s Flickr page:

If I hear about any of the other art pieces planned for the Uptown space, I’ll be sure to post about them, and if you hear anything, please let me know.

Previous posts on the Uptown surface parking lot/sculpture garden saga:

2 Responses to “Bike Bridge – Gateway to the Uptown sculpture garden”

  1. Christopher Kidd July 27, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Ugh, gross. Why have icky art when we could have a beautiful surface parking lot instead? =P

  2. Naomi Schiff August 1, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    I would like to make sure we scatter a lot of seeds on that unprogrammed dirt area, come fall, and have been saving some of the native seeds from my yard. Hang on to those Calif. poppy seedpods for us, folks! So far I have phacelia, CA poppy, clarkia, helenium seeds. We’ll need a lot though, in order to make sure we have a beautiful unparking lot!

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