David Best to Build Temple at Patricia’s Green

The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) and Burning Man are pleased to announce the creation of The Temple at Patricia’s Green by renowned artist David Best, to be installed in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. Originally proposed by SFAC, and produced in close collaboration with the Burning Man nonprofit, the new temple will commemorate the 10th anniversary of Best’s Hayes Valley Temple, exhibited at the same location — on Octavia Street at Linden Street — in 2005.

Please join SFAC, Burning Man, and the Hayes Valley community in celebrating this wonderful work of public art at its Opening Reception, June 26, 2015, 11:00 a.m., at Patricia’s Green in San Francisco, California. The artist and special guest speakers will be present.

Burning Man is committed to creating experiences that inspire joy, lift the human spirit, address social problems, and foster a sense of culture, community, and personal engagement.

David Best's recent Temple in Derry-Londonderry, Ireland, 2015 (Photo by Josh Lease)
David Best’s recent Temple in Derry-Londonderry, Ireland, 2015 (Photo by Josh Lease)

“Burning Man is thrilled to be working with David Best and the Arts Commission to make this project possible,” says Burning Man’s Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives Tomas McCabe. “In our ongoing effort to make Burning Man culture accessible to everyone, we’re excited that Hayes Valley and the entire City of San Francisco will once again have an opportunity to co-create a powerful, interactive community art experience.”

The project is made possible with development impact fees from Hayes Valley private developments, which were set aside specifically for artwork in Patricia’s Green, and with additional support from San Francisco Grants for the Arts; the San Francisco Community Challenge Grant / Market Octavia Eastern Neighborhoods Area Plans Grant Program; and Burning Man.


The Temple of Grace in Black Rock City by David Best, 2014 (Photo by Scott London)
The Temple of Grace in Black Rock City by David Best, 2014 (Photo by Scott London)

In 2005, Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Arts Commission encouraged the Black Rock Arts Foundation (now a subsidiary of Burning Man) to collaborate with the San Francisco’s Hayes Valley community and 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. It demonstrated how artists, city officials and community members can collaborate to create meaningful work specific to the needs of their community, and became the model for Burning Man’s Civic Arts Program.

“David Best’s temple was universally loved and continues to be among the top most memorable temporary art installations the city has ever presented. It just made sense to bring it back for the 10th anniversary of Patricia’s Green,” says Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny.

About the Artist

In addition to his collage, painting, ceramic and mixed media sculptural works (shown at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Oakland Museum, the San Jose Museum of Art, and diRosa,) David Best is known for his massive, exquisitely decorative temples built and burned at the annual Burning Man event in the Nevada desert.

Artist David Best, 2014 (Photo credit unknown)
Artist David Best, 2014 (Photo credit unknown)

Best’s temples fill a critical societal need, providing the rare opportunity to publicly acknowledge grief and hope concurrently. The structures become a collective tribute to the shared human experiences of contemplation, reflection, sorrow, affection and hope. Most recently, Best collaborated with UK-based charity Artichoke and local community members to create a temple in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

About the Artwork

The Temple at Patricia’s Green will honor the loss of community members and celebrate the community’s dreams and aspirations for the future.

The new temple will be made of wood. On par with his other large-scale works, it is expected to be approximately 15 feet in width and length and approximately 37 feet in height (pending final plans). Best’s temples often feature alcoves and niches conducive to private reflection. Community members are welcome to write the names of, or messages to, lost loved ones, and/or their aspirations and thoughts on the temple’s walls. As people contribute to the piece, the space becomes a communal expression of very personal experiences, creating a new sense of affinity among participating community members.

As David Best says, “When we finish the temple and turn it over to the community, it is an empty building. They bring their mothers, they bring their brothers, they bring their best friends, their weddings and their celebrations to it. And then it becomes something. It has no life until the community brings that life to it.”

With the creation of The Temple at Patricia’s Green, Best will take the concept of community collaboration even further. He proposes an installation period of 10 days, from June 13 to June 21. Spanning two weekends, this will create time for both scheduled and informal opportunities to interact with the public. The new temple will be on display for at least one year.

About the author: Burning Man Project

Burning Man Project

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