New System For Arts Grants Announced

Earlier this year BMOrg announced that its Black Rock Arts Foundation non-profit subsidiary, would be absorbed into its Burning Man Project non-profit master organization, to become a new department called “Burning Man Arts”.

Now, they have announced that this will mean a change to their Arts Honoraria process as well. Perhaps “announced” is too strong of a word: they’ve said they’re going to change things, and if you want to know in what way…the details are “coming soon”.

From (emphasis ours):

2014 ass on bike

Black Rock Ass Foundation

Burning Man Arts — the new department combining the Black Rock City Art Department with the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) — will launch a new online system in mid-November designed to make it easier for artists to apply for honoraria grants for art destined for Black Rock City.

This year, applicants will be required to first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI), which will allow the Grant Committee to select which projects will be invited to participate in the full grant application process, saving everybody time and effort.

The system will go live in mid-November, and LOI submissions will be accepted for four weeks. The Grant Committee aims to inform artists if they are invited to participate in the full grant application process by the beginning of 2015.

All artists hoping to receive a Black Rock City honorarium will need to participate in this new LOI process.

More information will be made available via the Jackrabbit Speaks and on the Burning Man Arts web pages as the rollout approaches.

So basically, if you have an idea for an art project, start working on your letter of intent.

It’s hard to tell if the “new online system” will be anything more than a web submission form that lets you upload a few attachments. It’s also hard to say if this is really going to make life easier for artists, or just easier for BMOrg. We invite any Burning Man artists reading this to share their opinions – perhaps anonymously, as we’d hate for freedom of speech to prejudice the Letter Evaluation Committee against them.

What are the criteria for which projects letters get selected, and which get rejected? Spelling? Grammar? Innovation? Insurance? Aesthetic beauty? Or the artist’s existing relationship with BMOrg’s arts overlords?

Will next year’s theme even be announced before the Art Project ideas are submitted? “Mid November” is only a couple of weeks away, and “the beginning of 2015” in BMOrg-speak does not necessarily mean January 1. They haven’t even been able to update their web site in the 2 months since the Man burned, to list the dates for 2015.

The event begins in 304 days.


7 comments on “New System For Arts Grants Announced

  1. Pingback: Art Versus Money | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. Are the big installations, which are only getting bigger and more expensive each year, really worth all this crap? Not just the redtape, but the justification for things like Commodification Camps and the”We need the billionaires, they pay for the big art!” Who cares about the big art, really? It’s what draws the tourists so they can stand in front of and take selfies. But how much time do most of us spend interacting with it? For me and most I know, it’s the smaller scale stuff that’s the coolest, the art you stumble across in deep playa, or some cool little project some dude has in front of his camp. THAT’S the stuff that inspires conversation and interaction, and it doesn’t require the BMORG and/or billionaires to fund. And, it’s not the stuff that Will Smith will pay many 1000s of dollars to come for, nor does it make for clickbait on the NYT website.

    I’d GLADLY dispense with all the giant crap. Even the Man. It’s fucking Disneyland at this point.

  3. Great comment from the official blog:

    “Letter of Intent:

    Dear Burning Man Organization,

    I intend to bring together about 50 hard working guys to build the biggest wooden spiritual thing that has graced the playa. I intend to gifit hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars into this project; blood sweat and tears. I fully accept that the hardest part of this endeavor will be powering through all the paperwork and bureaucracy that is put by you in my way of progress, in order to justify your soulless lives.

    In the end it will burn. I will have enjoyed about 1 day on the playa, the day of rest from total exhaustion and frustration. I will be made to feel guilty for that small pleasure.

    I plan to go into debt that will lead to my inevitable bankruptcy and divorce, all so hipsters can stand in front of my amazing work of huge fucking whatever it is and take selfies to upload to their Facebook accounts.

    Please let me know if this is acceptable and I will begin lubing my asshole right away.

    Kind regards,

    Joe Artiste”

  4. I am curious as to the opinion of the awesome artists.

    My two bits are of the BMOrg does not desire to negotiate a fair contract, nor fair payments, with the artists, they desire to impose their unfair contract upon the artists, and solely pay 30% to 40% of the costs of the art, yet again within 2015. This is purposed solely to force the artists to declare their loyalties towards the BMOrg, in a divide and conquer manner, and place the artists under control of the BMOrg, from November forward, in place of the artists labouring together to negotiate a fair contract.

    Ross Asselstine, whom attempted to construct the Temple of Descendents with his mates, but refused to sign the BMorg’s unfair contract towards the artists, penned a modified contract, linked from here, but the BMOrg does not desire a BORG 3 rebellion of the artists.

    In addendum, how many thousands of dollars did the BMOrg, dishonourably, leave the Pier group in debt for their awesome Embrace? Their costs were near to $270,000, the BMorg paid solely near to $100,000, solely $1.50 of each $380 or $650 ticket, and the BMorg paid solely $11 of each ticket towards the other art.

    • The BORG 2 rebellion of the artists a decade prior

      ‘The demands were delivered last month in a letter, an online petition, and a full-page ad in the Bay Guardian. “Give us our event back or we leave,” read the statement signed by hundreds of Bay Area artists, including some of the most storied figures in Burning Man’s history, from Dr. Megavolt to the Flaming Lotus Girls.’

      ‘The We Have a Dream Petition sought a renewal of the event’s art scene by increasing the funding to 10 percent of the total take, democratizing the art selection process, rotating guest curators drawn from the Burning Man art community, facilitating big ideas, and generally emphasizing art over the competing foci of the party and the community.’

  5. They used a system kind of like this – short proposal before actual application – for the Souk and presumably CORE.

    I liked it.

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