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Office of Economic Development
Office of Economic Development

With the completion of the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza, the City of Berkeley has an innovative new public art space in its downtown that is being programmed with a variety of engaging and dynamic art installations and cultural presentations, including an ongoing series of sound art compositions and temporary sculptural installations, as well as live music and dance performances.

A series of ten sound art installations at the Downtown Berkeley

Jim McKee and the Kitchen Sisters: Coming soon!
"Speak Out — Berkeley Sonic Prayer Flags" Was inspired by Berkeley’s rich history as chronicled in archival recordings from KPFA and the Pacifica Radio Archives, "Berkeley Sonic Prayer Flags" is an eight channel sound installation featuring an eclectic mix of audio clips from the past and present. From intimate interviews and personal performances to gatherings of celebration and protest, these sound elements span a range of over 70 years including voices from the 1940s peace movement and the 1960s free speech era. This piece invites listeners to witness the sounds of the poetry, music, progressive voices, radical thinking, and activism that makes Berkeley what it is today. This piece is dedicated to Erik Bauersfeld who served as the Director of KPFA’s Drama and Literature Department for over 30 years and who mentored scores of sound artists with his love, knowledge and appreciation of the arts. More information on Jim McKee’s work can be found at     Moreinformation on the stories of the Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva) can be found at
Jim McKee Photo 
Composer James McKee (Photo by Maria Gilardin)

Yann Novak and Robert Crouch: October 18, 2019 - January 17, 2020
"Histories of the Present" is a multichannel site specific sound installation featuring field recordings from Berkeley’s urban, industrial, and natural environments interwoven with recorded multilingual texts sourced from the City of Berkeley’s municipal codes. The artists digitally processed and synthesized the sound samples to create a harmonic composition which moves through the plaza space and becomes a meditation on the contingent relationships between the array of human activity taking place in Berkeley and the area’s ecological systems. More information on the artists’ work can be found at

Yann and Robert
Open Composers Yann Novak and Robert Crouch (Photo by Chrisopher Wormald)


Maggi Payne: July 18 – October 17, 2019
“Immersion—Bay Area Soundscape” is a discrete eight-channel installation using sounds of nature the artist recorded in the Bay Area over many years. The sonic environment this work creates is reminiscent of sounds that once likely existed in this very location—windstorms, thunder, rain, streams, a seashore, underwater sounds, frogs, crickets, and birds. “Immersion” follows water from storm to creek and ocean portraying nature’s water cycle, which is so critical to the life of this planet. Sounds travel both laterally and through the four pairs of speakers, providing an immersive experience for people standing still or traversing the space. For more information on the artist’s work visit

Maggi Image 4
Composer Maggi Payne (Photo by Brian Reinbolt)


Ed Campion: April 18 – July 17, 2019
"Berkeley Rain" by composer and sound artist Edmund J. Campion. “Berkeley Rain” is a site specific music composition and sound installation created for the Berkeley BART Plaza. It is a timepiece, not for telling time, but one whose mysterious sonic repetitions express a continual and immersive now. Inspired by the unifying effects of rain and resonance, the sounds drip and pulse as they spatially accompany each passer-by. This audio soundscape is thirty minutes long and repeats on the hour and half hour. The work includes singing voices from the University Chamber Choruses at UC Berkeley, led by the Director of Choral Programs, Wei Cheng. Steve Adams provided the saxophone fragments and Jeremy Wagner, from the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT), assisted with recording and spatial audio mixing. Edmund Campion has been active as a composer, performing artist, software developer, collaborating artist, sound artist, and educator for over 25 years. He is a Professor of Music at the University of California, Berkeley, and is the Director at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies ( More information can be found at
Composer Ed Campion (Photo by Alex Coughlin)

Gregory Robinson: January 18 – April 17, 2019
"The City, The Block, A Village Amongst Us…" by sound designer, composer and recording engineer Gregory Robinson is a soundscape representing the City of Berkeley's rich cultural and racial diversity, its history of political protest, and its atmosphere of creativity and artistic expression. Created for the BART plaza sound poles, Robinson's audio composition weaves together an array of evocative sounds taking listeners on an auditory journey of the city through sound.Greg Robinson
Composer Gregory Robinson (Photo by Erica Deeman) 

Chris Brown: October 18, 2018 – January 17, 2019
The first sound art installation presented on the plaza was an original site-specific composition by local composer and electronic musician, Chris Brown, called "Flow in Place" which is comprised of field recordings of musical performances and natural and urban environments from around the world. These recordings were shuffled together into sequences that accompany the movement of people heading from the BART station entrance through the plaza, suggesting conversations and connections between distant places and global environments. More information on Brown and these recordings is available at:
Chris Brown
Composer Chris Brown (Photo by Lenny Gonzales)

Upcoming installations:
Jim McKee                                             January 18 – April 17, 2020
Thea Farhadian & Dean Santomieri       April 18 – July 17, 2020
Danny Clay                                            July 18 – October 17, 2020
Margaret Noble                                      October 18, 2020 – January 17, 2021
Spiritual Technologies                            January 18 – April 17, 2021

A large-scale sculpture called “Home” by Berkeley-based artist Michael Christian is on display for one year. Home resembles an oversized desktop globe. It is made of multiple layers of steel with cutout imagery of street maps from around the world. At night, light from within the piece casts shadows of these maps on the surrounding plaza. At any time of day, the artwork evokes the interconnectedness of all people and places around the world. Home was originally created for Burning Man, but has gone on to have a life beyond the desert art festival. For more information on Michael Christian's work: 
Bart Plaza Home Photo
Photo of Michael Christian's sculpture, Home

The plaza also showcases music performances, as well as other community and cultural presentations. Through a collaboration with the Downtown Business Association and with support from the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission, this cultural activation program (called "Berkeley LIVE!") is being produced with the guiding principles of "equity, quality, community and frequency" and is managed initially by Berkeley-based Taylor Street Productions.
Link to Berkeley Live! website 

Artists who are interested in performing as part of the Berkeley LIVE! Program are invited to submit an application here (Click on "Perform on the Plaza" link):  

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