Big Art for Small Towns opening reception

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Updated: 8/07/2014 8:16 am
FERNLEY, Nev. ( & KRNV) -- Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF), Burning Man Project and the City of Fernley will unveil three art pieces in Main Street Park on Thursday August 7. The project will include the Desert Tortoise -- a new, permanent piece by local artist Pan Pantoja using mosaics created by local students and community members.

The opening reception is from 6-8 p.m. at 610 Main Street, August 7. The event will feature live music, speakers and arts activities for children and adults.

The park and artwork are the latest effort by BRAF and Burning Man Project as part of their Big Art For Small Towns program, funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“Several thousand participants pass through Fernley each year on their way to Burning Man and we felt compelled to share the cultural and economic benefits with the surrounding communities,” said BRAF Executive Director Tomas McCabe. “We’re tremendously grateful for the community’s enthusiastic participation and contributions to the project, without which it couldn’t have happened.”

Desert Tortoise is a 25-ft. long, 17-ft. tall sculpture crafted from boulders. The boulders come from a local quarry and have thousands of 4”x4” painted ceramic tiles of images reflecting the culture of Fernley and surrounding area. Pantoja worked with students from every school in Fernley, along with community members who took part in a community painting night.

“The tortoise fosters community,” Pantoja said. “The tiles were a way to include participation from the majority of the residents and their children.”

Rockspinner 6 is a nine-ton stone slab by artist Zach Coffin rotating on an axis that a single person can set in motion.

“I design my pieces to encourage people to interact with them – and experience the surprise that something so massive can move so effortlessly,” Coffin said. “It’s a great feeling to know the people of Fernley will have a chance to experience it.”

Bottlecap Gazebo, by artists Max Poynton and Andrew Grinberg, was designed to be a social meeting place fostering interaction and connection. The name comes from the thousands of recycled bottle caps that were individually smashed flat, drilled, and strung together with wire in the form of leaves, creating complex lattices of glimmering colors and patterns.

The Big Art for Small Towns project is a collaboration between Black Rock Arts Foundation, the Burning Man Project, and the City of Fernley. The founders of BRAF and the Burning Man Project have a personal investment in giving back to the Burning Man event’s neighboring communities.

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