SFMOMA is putting on a fun-for-the-people event in McLaren Park that was first and last held in the 1970s, and it's all about artists creating kooky contraptions in which to roll down a hill.
The Artists's Soapbox Derby is happening again, now known as the 2022 Soapbox Derby, returns to McLaren Park on Sunday, April 10. Dozens of artists are reportedly participating, and each will see their creatively constructed/decked-out soapbox get a moment to shine in a descent down Shelley Drive. Then they'll be rewarded a number of artist-designed prizes for things like "Most Colorful" and "Most Amorphous" vehicle.
Individual timed trials for each soapbox vehicle begin at 11 a.m., and the 2022 edition of the event will be emceed by KQED's Pendarvis Harshaw and ABC7's Kumasi Aaron. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will also feature live music, food trucks, and more.
SFMOMA's video above shows the Artists' Soapbox Derby races that took place in 1975 and 1978, before the event mysteriously went away for 44 years. And as you can see, one artist, Dorcas Moulton, brought a car "made" out of bread to the 1978 race. (Road & Track did a story on the soapbox derbies back in November, but it's firewalled.) Moulton will be back this year as a judge.
"Dozens of local artists, organizations, and community members ... have all been asked to dream big and design their own custom soapbox cars," SFMOMA says in an announcement. "If their art-on-wheels can roll, steer, and stop, anything is possible!"
"We’re going to have sixty freaky cars flying down the hill. What else do you need to know?" says Joseph Becker, SFMOMA’s associate curator of architecture and design, who managed the trophy artist selection process this year.
The museum says that the two derbies in the 1970s included commissions — either vehicles or trophies — from over 200 artists, including Ruth Asawa, Robert Arneson, Ant Farm, Viola Frey, Mike Henderson, Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Richard Shaw, and Carlos Villa.
Henderson will be providing a trophy for the 2022 contest as well, as SFMOMA announced in this pictorial history of the soapbox derby trophies. Other trophy designers include artists from the current Bay Area Walls exhibition Liz Hernández, Leah Rosenberg, and Muzae Sesay, and also Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, Jessalyn Aaland, Walter Hood, and Wanxin Zhang.
Sunday's event is free and open to the public, but you're being asked to RSVP anyway on Eventbrite.
NBC Bay Area talked with two of the soapbox vehicle artists, Andrew Sungtaek Ingersoll and Oliver Hawk Holden, who have built a shrimp-mobile for this year's contest.
Top image via SFMOMA/YouTube