Walking the Talk – New “Democratic” Process for Art Grants

BMOrg are introducing a “democratic” grant process for funding art grants, something the community has long been demanding. They have some funny ideas about participatory democracy, though.
Attendees at the Global Leadership Conference will vote on how to allocate a total of $1500 to art. The conference is invite only, and not open to the public. And artists will need to go through their local RC (Regional Contact…although in Australia RC means something else, more suited to this year’s Medici theme).

“Walk the Talk” Art Grant for GLC 2016

What is this grant?

A democratic grant process aimed at funding innovative community art projects within the Burning Man Global Network.  We are interested in projects that create collaborations, break down the distinction between audience and artist, are directly interactive and/or enhance the public, civic sphere.

Participants in a session at the annual Burning Man Global Leadership Conference will award a total of $1,500 however they wish among any qualified projects. This is meant to both serve as an exercise in structuring and judging a grant opportunity as well as a way to provide a small amount of support and encouragement to worthy projects.


–  Deadline for grant submissions is March 25th. (Midnight U.S. Pacific Time)
–  Judges will review the grants at the 2016 Global Leadership Conference (March 31st- April 3rd)
–  Winner(s) will be announced Sunday afternoon at the GLC.  (April 3rd)

Apply Here 

Who is eligible to apply?

Individuals, Groups, and Not-for-Profits are all eligible to apply.  All projects *must* be endorsed by a local Burning Man Regional Contact.   The RC does not need to be heavily involved with the process, but rather they will serve as a point of communication between the granters and the grantees.

To find out who your Regional Contact might be, see  http://regionals.burningman.org/

How much can I request?

The total amount of grants given will be $1,500. This amount could go to one project or be split among two or more, so it might be helpful to explain what you would do with the full amount as well as how you would use a smaller amount.

[Source: burningman.org]

Here are the conference details. I’m sure if you buy a Leonardo VIP ticket (on sale now for $1200) and kiss a few of the the right rings they’ll let you attend.
SF, CA March 31 – April 03, 2016

The 10th annual Burning Man Global Leadership Conference (GLC) is an annual conference of Burning Man community leadership that happens each spring in San Francisco. From humble beginnings in 2007, where 70 Regional Contacts joined us at Burning Man HQ, the GLC has since grown to include over 400 participants from around the world.

These highly-energized folks are Burning Man’s global representatives and community leaders, ambassadors of Burning Man culture in their regions who throw any of 65 Regional events in 20 countries. They participate in the GLC to share ideas, best practices and inspiration, and to make the invaluable face-to-face connections that may just lead to the next big thing.

The conference is for organizers and community leaders in the Burning Man Regional Network, and space is limited, so attendance isn’t open to the public

[Source: burningman.org]

Those of us not on the list will be able to participate by reading Tweets from the Chosen Few in attendance to see Larry dressed up as a worm, a guy with a slinky in his beard, and other hilarity. We might get to watch a few select sessions on YouTube.

In other news…
You can buy tickets to the Burnal Equinox – Night of a Thousand Guilds on March 19 at Public Works for $20.

Congratulations to Piper from Distrikt who is thrilled to be the latest member of Burning Man’s Communications team. Is she filling in the clown shoes left by departing Minister for Propaganda Will Chase? We shall see…

Screenshot 2016-02-18 17.00.16

31 comments on “Walking the Talk – New “Democratic” Process for Art Grants

  1. Any chance the room rental, snacks and insurance for “a session at the annual Burning Man Global Leadership Conference” for a “democratic grant process aimed at funding innovative community art projects within the Burning Man Global Network” cost more than $1,500? Well, maybe the insurance is included in their main event coverage.

    I am on committees in other stone soup groups that often do this all online or with teleconferences, where ANY member of the public can participate. Public notice is given 30 days in advance of such e-meetings. I am sure the marginal online conferencing fees must run into the tens of dollars per meeting.

  2. All this hullabaloo for $1,500? I really thought there was a typo and the amount being voted on was $150,000. If you want to help an artist donate directly to them.

      • Like the Medici, these rich know that their money is fungible, so they need to think that it gives them some salvation and personal value – which it does not. In this case the Borg are exploiting this desire by literally selling the chance to have “personal involvement” in the parsing of grant monies that are to the first approximation meaningless. (Seriously, could it possibly be any less? And who are the sad and sorry people who want to compete for one of the indeterminate number of $1-$1,500 prizes?)

        It is just more inducement for the monied and the sycophants to join the Borg cult, feeding the Borg NPD supplies.

  3. Don’t fund artists, don’t fund “spreading the Burning Man spirit,” DO fund setting up BRC. Period. Problem solved. You’re welcome.

    • What?! How would THAT look on the Form 990? Actually spending money on BRC is the last thing they want to do. They are so very lucky that Form 990 does not break down cash flow like the non-profit auditing sites do their analysis, or like most businesses give accountings.

      If they were a health insurance company, under Obama Care, their overhead would be limited to 20% of revenues, requiring 80% as payouts to other non-affiliated entities that actually provide services. Based on hard costs of no more than $15 million (estimated, since they are carefully hiding details), that would limit them to $3.75 million in overhead, or $18.7 million gross against the $35 million in ticket sales. That is a refund of $232 to each ticket purchase. You know… making tickets priced more like it was in 2005, when the hard costs were $7 million and the overhead less than $1 million.

      See you all at the 2005 burn! …once I get the Wayback Machine working.


      • I’m still at a loss to understand how the rise in bike theft and sexual assaults, which is directly related to the increased awareness of the event, can be blamed on the BMORG.

        • “I’m still at a loss to understand how the rise in bike theft and sexual assaults, …, can be blamed on the BMORG”? JV, I’m thinking Nomad had his bike stolen and feels he’s been fuck; pretty sure he’s not a virgin, so venting pent-up bile is my guess. My apologizes Nomad if that’s off base. 😉

        • The bike theft thing comes from a camp member who went after the sellout, and did playa art that year. He was aware of the bike thefts, and made a point of locking his bike every time – except once when he stopped to get on a mega trampoline, and when he came to get back on his bike, it was gone.

          The rape comes from reports from others.

          If either of these were on the rise in your neighborhood, who would you complain to? Most likely the police, or local government, or local codes board. In BRC, these are all the Borg, either directly or as the only burner face to the police. They could promote personal safety attention of the Rangers, giving attention instead of dismissing personal crimes. The Borg also LITERALLY choose the thieves and rapists, either buy approving their profile for ticketing, or by the DS. The Borg refuse to pick up on universal crimes like theft and rape because they are not issues they face, and the monied CCamp spectators are kept safe by their sequestered experiences.

          In an alternate universe the Borg takes on the growth pains by taking a stance and publicizing and promoting safety from personal crimes to this counter-culture group who naturally wants to work outside the envelope – which also attracts those who would exploit these circumstances for personal gain. In that way it would be like Transfomus, who have promoted “Permission” as the 11th Principle. And in that alternate universe, the Borg would actually have developed what to do to keep a counter-culture group attend to civil responsibility as it grows.

          In this universe the Borg have only developed ways to cash in, where personal gain at the expense of others IS the goal.


          • My belief is the BMOrg cares much in regards of sexual assaults, and the BRC Rangers are awesome. The difficulties are in regards of the police organizations care solely in regards of busting burners for illegal drugs, they care little in regards of safety of this manner, or thefts. The BLM Rangers are not permitted to investigate crimes, solely BLM Agents are permitted to do so, and the new Pershing County Sheriff cared solely in regards of busting hippies, and ravers, for illegal drugs. I am not of the knowledge of any reported sexual assaults within the 2015 burn, the afterburn report did not state of the medical numbers, are you of the knowledge of any reported sexual assaults within the 2015 burn?

            My belief is the bicycle thefts are in due of the priorly counter culture Burner community on the playa has been replaced in due of the difficulties of Burners gaining tickets. The 2015 Census numbers state of 27,000 virgins were on the playa, 25,000 people of solely one, or two, prior burns, and solely 23,000 Burners of more than two prior burns. It is most difficult to maintain a community when the Borg desires to sell tickets towards more virgins than towards Burners of more than two prior burns.

          • Glad that you agree that the makeup of the current people to the NV burn are under the control of the Borg.

            But ABP, you seem to be accepting civil responsibility things as-is. My understanding is that the Rangers are the primary interface between the burners and LE, or at least that should be the case. If the Rangers are encouraged to relay to LE bike theft and other personal civil crimes, at least LE would have to reject such reports – reports which would be a way to better refocus LE efforts, or at least illustrates that LE needs better management. The reports would also discourage theft and other civil crimes that are “accepted” now. Hell, the Borg should charge a $5 fee (HEY LARRY: MORE REVENUES) to “register” your bike to your BRC address, and work on recovering and returning stolen bikes. (I would suggest follow-up on the many burner ideas for bike theft, but with the Borg’s track record of rejecting burner ideas that would be pointless.)

            They take corrective action, Borg complaints of bike moop should be treated as if they were complaining about their own personal hygiene.

          • I am in agreement of much of which you state, Nomad, it is solely the specifics that are the difficulties. The Borg has sold out to the BLM, and to their police, permitting them to gain control of Black Rock City, utilizing their Unified Command at BLM headquarters, in the manner stated within the rubbish afterburn PR report, but it is not desired the police have more control over Burners. Might the Borg care in regards of lowering bike theft, they might boot, from Burning Man, any thief pinched stealing a bike, and publicize it. All Burners should place their name, and camp, on their bike purposed to gain the return of the bike might it be stolen.

  4. Wtf! $1500!!! Less than the price of 4 people’s tickets?! My art project that barely made a blip at burning man last year cost nearly that much.. How the hell could they be so stingy to the artists that put their blood and souls into making their multimillion dollar event.

    • Keep in mind that this grant is not for BRC art, but for the art “outreach” that justifies their horrendous overhead operations the other 50 weeks of the year that figures so prominently in the totals, but not the details, in their Form 990.

  5. I am curious of what might be the budget, from ticket sales, for grants to the playa artists within 2016, the BMOrg knows this number, but, they hide it from the artists, and from the Burner community. There must be much disagreement, within the BMOrg, upon the 2016 theme of artists licking the arses of rich Patrons to gain cash to pay for the costs of their art. The BMOrg desires the regional representatives contacts to raise the cash to pay for the near to 30 Maker Faire spaces, in the dust, within the Piazza near to the Man, but the BMOrg solely desires to pay the usual $500, or $1,000, to each space, and the regionals must pay the other thousands of dollars of cash to create each space. This is in despite of the BMOrg gains near to $35 million in due of ticket sales within 2016, or, near to $38 million might the Nevada Live Entertainment Tax levy be added within this number.

    In addendum, the BMOrg, at present, is hiding the artist contract from the Burner community, and from the artists of 2016. The artists must query themselves in regards of what is so bloody wrong within a contract that the organization desires to hide the contract from the artists for as much time as the BMOrg is of the ability to do so, and does not permit the artists to labour, together, purposed to gain a fair contract. Few Burners are of the knowledge that the BMOrg does this rubbish to the artists, the temple, and other art, is funded to solely one third, to one half of their costs, and the artists must grant the Burning Man Project the rights of the IP of the images of their art, and the artists must pay back much of the art grant might the artist sell their art.

    Burners, please donate your cash to the pay the costs of the artists in due of the BMOrg is too bloody cheap to pay the costs of the artists, desiring to pay solely three per cent of ticket sales in the manner of grants to the artists.

    • ABP, we know you would like to see more of the gate go to support the artists, but the latest farce of this BM post is EXACTLY their response to such protests. This lets them check off the “More Art Funding” list, as well as blur the line between monies to go to the event and their 50 weeks of largely useless overhead for other “art.” As JV suggests, they should instead drop all direct art funding and focus on the event.

      But as you suggest the Borg SHOULD have artist contracts and pay for blanket insurance that enable the artists to do art.

      • The art funding, and the artist contract, is a big discussion in regards of the 2016 burn, might you view some of the prior discussions upon these matters? Larry did the 2016 theme of artists licking the arses of rich Patrons to gain the cash for the costs of their art, he agrees with you, and JV, in regards of Burning Man should not pay for the costs of the art, or the costs of the temple. The artists, and most Burners whom care in these regards, are appalled by this, and the Borg PR is most insistent in doing damage control upon this. The proper manner of doing damage control is to state the 2016 budget, from their $35 million of ticket sales, purposed towards playa art grants.

        The horrible artist contract has a long history, and the Borg hides the artist contract from the Burner community, and, at present, from artists desiring to gain an art grant within 2016. View temple2014 dot net for discussions upon this matter. My belief is Ross Asselstine is awesome for labouring for the artists to gain a fair contract, and it would be most appropriate might he pen a guest post upon burners dot me upon these matters.

        • ABP, I see your desire to continue the Borg funding and control of The Man and other recurring art elements, but that leads to most of the problems with the event. They have followed a typical corporate model of having paid hierarchical management staff run things, asking for funding for what they manage – the art. As the event expands they have more and more staff who have to preserve and expand their operations as event overhead, demanding more burner slave labor and contribution funding. Just as they recently could not fund the Vegas art parade, but COULD fund additional staff for the same scratch, they are focused on management and staff, only using art as justification.

          Since their primary “product” is the NV burn, the staff have to justify their efforts the other 50 weeks of the year, and thus the added attention to “spreading the [unspecified and indeterminate] spirit” activities for those 50 weeks.

          This staff/management model asks for more and more funding, and more (free) labor to manage. As this self-feeding process continues, it needs more and more funds. Since the number of tickets has maxed out, they need to increase the price and add fees to increase revenues, and now really need major contributions to continue. Given this model, their need to justify their daily bread as well as expand to support Borg “career” positions becomes overwhelming. You get farces like this $1,500 grant pot to tease out free labor hoping for a pittance.

          In an alternate universe, the Borg would operate like the stone soup groups I am a member of. Paid staff would do the bidding of volunteer members. ALL substantive decisions are made by the member committees, who pay for their participation in meetings – which are open to the public as well as any other members. In that universe the control and decisions are made by the volunteer members, who literally make their particular group’s stone soup. The group grows organically from those who volunteer to participate in making the soup and managing the group. And refining this self-supporting model truly would be worth spreading to the world.

          This is why I agree with JV that the Borg should focus on the event, not on themselves and what they want to do the other 50 weeks of the year to look busy, even if it is a token “art” activity to satisfy complaints like those you make.

          • I am in agreement of much of what you state, except of my belief is art is much of the event, and the Borg should fund the art, and temple, and piazza, and paying all DPW a very fair wage in addendum of their free tickets, and doing whatever they might to pay for the costs of camps, and mutant vehicles, entertaining their $35 million of ticket buyers.

            Might you be interested in the history of this arguement in regards of the art within Burning Man, view this newspaper article on the Borg II rebellion of the artists within 2005. Larry, and the Borg, are still desiring to fight in this manner, in the place of treating the awesome artists with the respect, of which, they are most deserving.

          • Where we differ is that you want to cajole and plead with the Borg to influence the amount they use to support art and how they use it. I think they should get out of any substantive curation of the event, and instead turn that over to the burners, either by explicit process, or by default. They should also get out of the business of spending a horrendous overhead to maintain an elite constituency to dole out pittance grants – pure NPD.

            As it is, the Borg are setting the theme for their private party, selecting all the decorations, but expect the invited (but paying) guests to bring the food, drinks and entertainment – all subject to Borg pre-approval. Not my type of scene.

  6. Hey, a man’s gotta justify that $20 million in overhead somehow. Charging a private invitation group $1,200 pp to “democratically” decide who gets a cut of the $1,500 grant pot must look good on their Form 990.

    Wonder how long until this will all be on American Greed – and I wonder if the Borg are trying so hard because they are worried that they only warrant a half episode so far.

    • The BMOrg regional representatives contacts are not charged to attend the GLC, but they must pay the costs of their travel, and of their hotels, or airbnbs, the BMOrg does not pay for this, in despite of the BMOrg gaining near to $35 million of ticket sales, they desire the regional contacts to labour, for free, for the BMOrgs Burning Man(tm) brand, in addendum of organizing the regionals parties for free, and administering all Burning Man(tm) Facebook groups, halting of any free speech of which is not of the proper flavour of CoolAid, for free.

      • Others whom attend the GLC, by invitation, are charged to attend. The regionals parties might be organized by other awesome Burners, but the Borg assimilates the regionals parties, requiring of numerous rules to utilize Decommodification LLCs Burning Man(tm) brand trademarks, enforced by their regional representatives within contract to the Burning Man Project.

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