An update on what’s going on with grants for Art Projects, from Burn After Reading magazine:
Let’s face it, this year’s been full of surprises (not all of them pleasant).
After the lottery debacle, many burners planning to bring an art project to the playa this year are wondering about the status of their Burning Man Art Grant Proposal. An announcement date of early March was originally given to those who applied. However, that time frame has come and gone and we still don’t know which lucky applicants will receive BM art grants. As with all things this year, Burners broke another record by submitting 349 proposal requests. According to a recent BMorg email to grant artists, “The art grant committee has read through all approximately 7,678 pages of proposals, peered through budgets asking for over $4.95 million dollars, dissected almost 1500 images, and more.” Its mid-March and we’re patiently waiting at our inboxes, hoping that email will come through and tell us where our money’s coming from.
It’s not surprising. The Burning Man Organization (BMorg) has a lot on its plate. With the fall out from the lottery, STEP going live, and record numbers of burners vying for a limited amount of resources, BMorg is experiencing overloads on more than just their ticketing servers, that includes the Grants Application Process.
Why would this effect grants?
There were a lot of things that took priority over art grants. What good is a grant that funds a piece of on-playa art if the people and camp producing it don’t have enough tickets to make that project a reality?
Everything got jumbled around after the lottery. Plans were changed, announcements were made, theme camps pulled out, and new policy was put in place, all in the matter of a few short weeks. The open sale was canceled, and directed ticketing had to be…well….directed.
As of March 9th, BMorg didn’t know what its final budget for Art Grants was going to be.
But they’ve had an extra 2 weeks!
And a higher request load than normal and unplanned pitfalls. BMorg can’t afford another Burner Relations disaster like the lottery. They’re taking their time, in hopes of getting it right, because they’re burners too, they breathe the same dust we do and they love it. They’re there to help us succeed at building Black Rock City, not fail. So they’re taking their time, good, now isn’t the time for another disaster and they know that.