Reclaim, reuse, rebuild: the San Francisco Panhandle Bandshell Project

It’s projects like this that make me proud to be part of the Burning Man community in San Francisco.


Last Sunday, on a stunning sunny summer day ( hows that for alliterative?) the Black Rock Arts Foundation unveiled their latest addition to San Franscico’s artscape, and the kicker is? It’s all made from garbage.

Made from 75 reclaimed car hoods and built entirely by volunteers, it is “a full-scale, traditional bandshell for non-amplified, acoustic neighborhood performances constructed out of reclaimed, recycled and repurposed materials, located in San Francisco’s Panhandle park, just west of the Clayton Street crossing, where it will face west to the setting sun from June 23 to September 10, 2007. ”

Here’s the why:

“The Panhandle Bandshell Project is a temporary public art installation made from reclaimed materials and designed to:

  • create a space for non-amplified, acoustic neighborhood performances such as: jazz combos, classical music, spoken word, solo instrumental performances, acoustic contemporary music, vocal and choir performances, theatrical performances, children’s performances, puppet shows, and poetry readings
  • demonstrate through creative reuse of materials that a beautiful structure can be built from material that would otherwise have been thrown away, raising collective awareness of our impact on the environment.
  • provide a place for neighbors to come out of their homes and gather in ways that support the local community and community-building.
  • provide an accessible venue for the many talented performers who live and work in the area.
  • provide a neighborhood place for play and creative expression.
  • provide a place for teaching and learning about how we in our neighborhood can support the environment through recycling, reuse and participation in the new curbside composting programs.

This is the third of the ScrapEden SF projects, a series of public art pieces designed to use reclaimed materials to create temporary public art in SF. Facilitated by the very talented Rachel Weidinger ( and generously supported by the San Francisco Department of the Environment ), an amazing array of artists–The Finch Mob, Rebar, Christopher Guillard, and Mark Sinclair built this stunning space for acoustic music out of, basically, junk. And did we mention it’s stunning?

Big congratulations to Will Chase of The Finch Mob, and everyone else who helped make this project a reality. Visiting SF this summer? Head down to the Golden Gate Park Panhandle to see for yourself.

About the author: Tom Price

Tom Price

Tom Price is the former Executive Director of Black Rock Solar. Prior to that he was the Environmental Manager for Burning Man during the Green Man theme, and was in the Gulf Coast for six months during the genesis of Burners Without Borders. He's been attending Burning Man since 1997, and he's proud to say that his decade plus streak of breaking down from sun stroke on the playa on day three remains intact.