Press release

April 1, 2022


Sebastopol artists Team Pineapple compete in SFMOMA’s Soapbox Derby

Sebastopol’s own local artist’s group Team Pineapple will compete at the rebirth of SFMOMA's Soapbox Derby, held at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in McLaren Park in San Francisco on Saturday, April 10th, from 10 am until 5 pm.

“We’re hoping to make a splash at the derby,” said Robert van de Walle, as his partner, Dawn Thomas, applied paint to the 12-foot tall cathedral artwork on top of their custom built gravity powered tricycle. His racing team is one of 60 set to coast down the curving hill of McLaren Park’s Shelley Drive one-by-one, competing for artist-designed trophies and delightfully unusual accolades, such as “Most Colorful” and “Most Amorphous.” The vehicle’s theme, Humpbacks of Notre Dame, evokes a future where the glaciers have melted, explained van de Walle.

“Team Pineapple’s machine carries a tableau where the Humpbacks are playing at Notre Dame Cathedral, which is now mostly underwater,” said van de Walle. “Creating a human-powered spectacle is what Team Pineapple is all about!”

The derby marks the debut of the art vehicle being developed for the Kinetic Sculpture Racing circuit, a series of events featuring unique and outrageous human-powered vehicles which take place in various locations across the country. These kinetic events, such as Vallejo’s Obtainium Cup, the Kinetic Grand Championship and Oakland’s Paddlefest, have been on hold for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Often referred to as the Triathlon of the Art World, the Kinetic Grand Championship requires contestants in all-terrain human-powered art vehicles to complete a 50-mile course which includes land and water segments. Teams are judged on a variety of characteristics including speed, engineering, art, and pageantry.

Several volunteers will join the core crew of van de Walle and Thomas, including a real-life mermaid! Team Pineapple will - no doubt - be “Making Waves” with their global climate catastrophe theme.

Check out Team Pineapple’s zany, human-powered projects from previous years at the Three Feet Of Air website.

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Dawn Thomas and Robert van de Walle (dwelling on Pomo land)

(510) 388-7521

“Dawn Thomas and Robert van de Walle prepare their vehicle for the SFMOMA Soapbox Derby.”