This guest blog post was written by Josie Schimke, the Program Development Associate for the Black Rock Arts Foundation. Through her administrative and program support over the last five years for BRAF, Josie has had the privilege of watching promising art proposals mature into exceptional achievements of public art.
The Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) is close to fulfilling a dream and needs the community’s help. We have art. We have a place to put it. We have 12 extraordinary young artists worth celebrating. All we need now is a few more dollars to make it happen!
If you’ve been following this blog, then you’ve heard mention of The Bike Bridge. We can’t say enough about this project, and it’s so close to becoming a reality. The City of Oakland has approved the installation of the sculpture in a new park on Telegraph Avenue, between 19th and 20th Streets, adjacent to the beautifully renovated Fox Theater.
The sculpture was created by 12 young women from Oakland schools and artist Michael Christian, well known for his large-scale metal works displayed at Burning Man. We partnered with The Crucible to teach the young women welding and art-bike creation. These courses imparted the skills needed to undertake the creation of a large-scale work of art. Working together, the youth designed and fabricated a sculpture using reclaimed bicycle parts. The entire process was incredibly collaborative and the results are inspiring!
This is just the kind of project the BRAF staff and Board have been dreaming of, ever since the organization’s inception in 2001. Founded by several of the partners who produce Burning Man, an annual arts event in the Nevada desert, BRAF was established to share the benefits of interactive, community-driven art projects with the rest of the world.
At Burning Man, we’ve seen how participatory art experiences can build community. Collaborative art projects encourage cooperation, dialog, negotiation and exchange of ideas. The artworks created are far more than the sum of their collaborators’ inspirations. When many creative minds work together, the potential of public art expands, both in form and in function. A public art piece can be more than a static representation of one artist’s vision. When approached collaboratively, the creation of a work of art engenders meaningful connections between individuals, bringing them together in the spirit of creativity, wonder and community pride, thereby strengthening the community as a whole.
The Bike Bridge demonstrates these values in a new, exciting format. This educational and creative project is designed specifically to engage Oakland’s youth, providing them with a fun, empowering new means of self-expression.
We’re so close to making The Bike Bridge a reality. To fully fund this project we need to hit our goal of $20,000.
Make a pledge to the project’s new Kickstarter campaign and get cool special gifts! Every dollar helps!
Watch a great video about the young artists and their creation at www.youtube.com/blackrockarts
Why give to BRAF’s Kickstarter campaign?
Donate now and get cool new BRAF gifts!
- BRAF Stickers, T-Shirts and Hoodies.
- A limited edition signed print of Michael Christian’s Flock
- Your name on a plaque at the sculpture site!
- A tour of Bay Area artists’ studios for you and 25 friends on the fabulous art car, the Kazbus!
These talented young artists deserve recognition. Thank you for joining us in celebration of their achievements!
Previous posts on the Uptown surface parking lot/arts space:
- 9/7/12: Uptown art park to open this fall, City puts out call for art
- 7/26/11: Bike Bridge – Gateway to the Uptown sculpture garden
- 3/16/11: Our dream of an Uptown sculpture garden is becoming a reality
- 10/7/10: We did it! The Uptown sculpture garden will soon be a reality
- 5/6/09: The power of the blogoaksphere
- 5/5/09: Another chance to stop the Uptown surface parking lot
- 4/29/09: CED Committee approves surface parking lot, but changes overall outlook on parking and transit
- 4/20/09: Take Action: Stop the Council from approving a surface parking lot in Uptown!
- 3/30/09: Imagining an alternative to a surface parking lot in Uptown