Berkeley Spark to provide a taste of Burning Man

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Artismobilus, a mobile art gallery and “art incubator”, will be part of Berkeley Spark on Saturday. Photo: Steve Rhodes

A mobile art gallery, numerous dancers, DJs, artists, art cars, and a host of surprises are in store when Berkeley Spark is held on Saturday at Civic Center Park. The 10-hour free festival will bring a touch of Burning Man’s Playa to downtown Berkeley.

Berkeley Spark was conceived both for “Burners” deep into preparations for the annual gathering at Nevada’s Black Rock Desert at the end of August, and for Berkeleyans to get a dose of the free spirits and creativity of Burning Man.

“We’re offering a space for other creative instantaneous collaborations to occur,” explains Kat Parkin, project manager for Berkeley Spark. 

From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, the park will be filled with craft and art vendors, music, dancing and interactive experiences. From 3 p.m., local beer from the Drakes Brewing Company and honey wine from The Mead Kitchen will be sold in the beer garden in the park. There will be local food vendors as well. (The Saturday farmers market will run as usual from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

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Amy Stabler’s Arc of Reflection will be installed in the center of Civic Center Park for Berkeley Spark. Photo: Jason L. Gohlke

“We’re really excited about how it’s all coming together,” said John Caner, executive director, Downtown Berkeley Association, which was instrumental in conceiving Berkeley Spark. “It’s a platform to bring artists and art to downtown. We see this literally as the spark of a bigger movement and engagement.”

Among the works at Berkeley Spark are Pongo Lounge’s UNAVERZ car, Amy Stabler’s “Arc of Reflection” (which was created for Burning Man in 2003), live painting by San Francisco Freespace artists Michael Covington, and interactive painting with Artmobilus. Dance and music will be provided by Barefoot Boogie with DJ Christina Tuccillo, Soul Sanctuary with DJ Daniel Ari, Dance Journey with DJ Baron von Spirit, and Ecstatic Dance Oakland with DJ Neptune.

Although some of the funding for Berkeley Spark has come from the Downtown Berkeley Association and other donors, the organizers are seeking broad public support through a Kickstarter campaign for $1,500. All of the money raised will go to artists participating in Berkeley Spark.

Berkeleyside is a sponsor of Berkeley Spark.

Berkeley Spark plans to bring the Playa to downtown (05.28.13)

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  • bingo

    cool concept. (sarcasm on) …and if it follows the same trajectory as burning man in 6 years it will have 10,000 people in attendance (sarcasm off)

  • suckatash

    Great hipster cafe name: “A Taste of Burning (Man)”

  • West Side Guy

    This certainly sounds fun but please, please bring back the cherished How Berkeley Can You Be? Parade. That was a unique event with a healthy dose of Playa culture but lots more as well. A true slice of Berkeley culture and my favorite event of each year when it was running.

  • batardiamo

    sounds like a good description of the coffee at Roma and Peets, “taste of burning..”

    I’ll stick with better coffee at Local 123 and Bartevelle

  • Guest

    I agree. I’ve lived in Berkeley for twenty years, and the HBCYB Parade and the Berkeley Kite Festival are the most memorable of the community events I’ve been to.