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Burning Man playa takes root in downtown Reno
by Krystal Bick
Sep 12, 2008 | 2176 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Krystal Bick - Part of “The Mangrove” Burning Man art exhibit located on the corner of Sierra Street and Island Avenue, the Bottle Cap Tree sits among five other scrap metal and recycled material tree scultures.  The Bottle Cap Tree was made by Kitty Gordon of San Rafael, Calif.
Tribune/Krystal Bick - Part of “The Mangrove” Burning Man art exhibit located on the corner of Sierra Street and Island Avenue, the Bottle Cap Tree sits among five other scrap metal and recycled material tree scultures. The Bottle Cap Tree was made by Kitty Gordon of San Rafael, Calif.
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On a corner lot in downtown Reno, six trees now stand, some reaching over 10 feet tall. The urban forest overlooks the nearby Truckee River, branches spread high above providing shade for all who walk past it.

The unusual part — they’re made of steel and other recycled garbage.

Entitled “The Mangrove” collection, these trees for a limited time are bringing Burning Man playa art to the streets and people of Reno, located on the corner of Sierra Street and Island Ave.

First displayed at Burning Man of 2007, the collection is put on by the Black Rock Arts Foundation as well as the city of Reno Arts and Culture Commission.

The garden-style exhibit has a handful of eclectic Burning Man-inspired motifs — many made from steel, bottlecaps and construction waste. “The Mangrove” features both local and west coast artists, two of which are from Reno.

Reno resident Ryan Jackson, who has since moved to San Francisco to pursue sculpture, is one of the featured artists. Jackson’s piece, “Pan’s Perch” is a 13-foot tree made from scrap metal from the steel factory he used to work at as well as materials from the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, which were used to make the leaves.

“I rarely use anything new,” Jackson said. “Everything is recycled.”

Making a statement about the growth of urban cities, Jackson said he wants viewers to take something away from his artwork.

“There’s a huge loss with the way cities are growing,” Jackson said in regards to the depletion of natural habitats. “(Pan’s Perch) reflects how man and nature interact.”

Having attended Burning Man since 1995, Jackson has been producing his artwork for the past couple of years. But, he has always been a nature fanatic, Jackson said.

“I am the guy that stops to smell the flowers,” Jackson said, explaining much of his inspiration comes from a single plant. “I’m always looking at plant life or anything that’s living.”

Behind Jackson’s and other “Mangrove” artists’ trees is the full-wall sky mural “Transcendence” overlooking the empty lot. Director of art management for Burning Man and member of the BRAF board of directors, Crimson Rose, said the lot selection was easy in Reno.

“Reno is a perfect spot,” Rose said. “We’ve been eyeing it for some time. And I love seeing an abandoned lot become something else.”

Future locations for “The Mangrove” exhibit are being considered, Rose said, with the selection process depending heavily on the art, the location and the surrounding environment. Sparks is among those being considered, Rose said.

Ultimately hoping to serve the community, Rose said she wants to provide an artistic outlet unique to Burning Man both to those who attend the event and those who do not.

“When everything gets dismantled at Burning Man,” Rose said, “it breaks my heart. This has been a love of mine for a long time. We’re giving back to the city Reno.”
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