In a significant step forward, we began folding Black Rock City’s Art Department and the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) into Burning Man Project, in order to create Burning Man Arts. Burning Man Arts aims to change the paradigm of art from a commodified object to an interactive, participatory, shared experience of creative expression. Operationally, the two organizations are bringing their resources together to create one robust art program that will work on projects both on and off the playa. This vital step will create more opportunities for the creation, placement, and funding of interactive, transformative, civic art everywhere in the world, while sharing resources and streamlining processes. This change included an intensive period of gathering input from artists to learn about their creative and business processes so that the organization could refine its systems to better offer them support.
Since its inception in 2001, BRAF has funded 160 projects big and small, providing a total of more than $1,290,318 in grants and support to artists worldwide. BRAF awarded more than $430,000 directly to artists through its Grants to Artists program and installed or otherwise supported 40 projects in towns and cities through its Civic Arts program. In July 2014 this celebrated organization became a legal subsidiary of Burning Man Project. In this process, we honored existing commitments to BRAF’s grantees, and continue to nurture established public art programs through BRAF and Burners Without Borders.
2014 Achievements for Burning Man Arts include:
- BRC Honoraria — $827,000 in grants to 80 playa artists, with an additional estimated $675,000 in in-kind installation and support services.
- BRAF Civic Arts Grants — $217,836 in grants, including fulfillment of an NEA granted project to Our Town in Fernley, Nevada for Max Poynton and Andrew Grinberg’s Bottlecap Gazebo, Zachary Coffin’s Rock Spinner 6; and Pan Pantoja’s Desert Tortoise; we also donated Michael Christian’s Bike Bridge (initially installed in Oakland, California) to Gerlach, Nevada. In San Francisco, we supported the Flaming Lotus Girls’ Soma, Kate Raudenbush’s Future’s Past, Mauro Fortissimo’s Sunset Pianos and Brian Goggin’s Caruso’s Dream.
- Burning Man’s first-ever media grant supported Laurent Le Gall’s “Temples of Life” documentary which will chronicle 12 years of David Best temples on playa and in the world.
- Burning Man partnered with Artichoke to support the creation and ceremonial burning of the 75-foot tall Derry Temple in Derry~Londonderry Northern Ireland.
- BRAF Global Arts Grants — $70,000 to 15 art projects worldwide, including projects in Barcelona, Spain; Brooklyn, New York; Zagreb, Croatia and Oxford, Mississippi.
- Artist-focused Efforts — In combining BRAF with the Black Rock City Art Department, we facilitated a public forum for artist feedback, identified a nonprofit provider for artist insurance, and provided fiscal sponsorship for tax-deductible donations to on- and off-playa projects.
- Arts Education — We continued to introduce Burning Man art and artists through widely attended Desert Arts Previews in San Francisco’s de Young Museum and Reno’s Nevada Museum of Art, and through public talks including one given by Co-Founder Crimson Rose to Los Angeles County Museum of Art docents.
- Publications — We provided editorial and communications support for the first comprehensive book about the art of Black Rock City. Burning Man: Art on Fire, which has sold 14,000+ copies has remained an Amazon category bestseller since its release.
- The Global Leadership Conference featured sessions and workshops on how to facilitate the creation and placement of public art.
Thank you to all the incredible artists who commit their blood, sweat and tears to the creation of inspiring artwork!