Re-Writing History for the Banksters

Art historian, PhD student Stephen Mack, has written an excellent de-construction of the Burning Man 2016 art theme at The Daily Dot. The Medicis had a unicorn horn in their art collection. Who knew! And BMOrg are playing fast and loose Lorenzo Mediciwith history. Who’d have thunk it!

Please read it in its entirety – here’s the conclusion for TL;DR:

There actually is something about this period of the Florentine Renaissance thatwould appeal to the Burning Man crowd: The Florentine art patrons believed genuinely in the idea that money could be spent virtuously and they felt that spending on art was virtuous. Several scholars have gone into this idea in some depth. I think that many people in the Renaissance looked to art to engage them in learned discussion—perhaps to contemplate morality, to visualize and understand religious concepts, and even, I think, to contemplate on the ideas of nature and of representation. Spending money on art wasn’t virtuous simply because it provided the masses with beautiful objects, but because, in the Renaissance (as in most periods), to engage with a work of art was, in effect, to seriously contemplate both the world they lived in and the spiritual world beyond this one.

I imagine that the organizers of Burning Man had this type of contemplation in mind when they conceptualized the “Turning Man.” I’m sure many bros will have wonderful acid- and shroom-induced journeys staring up at Turning Man, and may indeed come out of it with a challenged view of the world. This is a great thing. And, ultimately, it is for exactly this reason that we should spend money on art in the first place. (Well, not so much the drug-culture part, but the challenging-our-view-of- the-world part. Not that the drug part is so bad, either.)

But the fanciful utopian history Burning Man has written to underpin this journey is an utter farce. And rewriting history to our own ends is never a good thing. 

That said, the Renaissance did their own rewriting of history, too. The learned elites idolized Classical Antiquity in much the same fanciful way that Burning Man now idolizes the Renaissance. In this way—though it was likely unintentional—Burning Man actually has done a decent job emulating the Renaissance. 

Read the full article at Daily Dot.

In the last year the non-profit Burning Man Project – which we’re told was created as the ultimate gift to us, giving Burning Man back to the Burners – has assimilated other charities BRAF, Burners Without Borders, and Black Rock Solar. Control of these networks is now cemented in the grip of the Project and the Ruling Group behind it. The Rulers get to play Medici in the economy of Black Rock City. They bank all the money from the Gerlach festival ($34 million), tax free (even though it’s not a tax deductible deduction for us buying tickets). They take a gallery commission on art sold outside the Playa by Burning Man artists. They get a share of the revenues of more than 100 licensed vendors approved to sell things at Black Rock City. They grant about $800,000 in cash and a couple of hundred thousand “in kind” in their patronage of the arts. Most artists are expected to raise two-thirds to three-quarters of the project costs themselves. And work for free.

My sincere hope is this “creative Maker artist” theme flavor will signify a new era from Burning Man’s owners founders controllers. Let’s hope for much more generous patronage of Burner art from the Medicis Ruling Group, both visible and invisible. 10% of revenues would be a great start – and let the artists pay themselves.

We will get a hint of the direction we’re heading soon, when the long overdue IRS public filing for 2014 for the Burning Man Project is made public. Perhaps we will get to hear soon about some of the activities and achievements of the Burning Man Project in taking our contributions to execute its mission.

 

 

The Ten Year Anniversary of Burners Without Borders

BWB_logo

Thanks to Jex from BMIR for writing this guest post. It adds to earlier stories we have published regarding Burners Without Borders:

Burners Storm The Jersey Shore

Superstorm Sandy Vs The Burners

Seeding The Future

3 months ago, Burners Without Borders got assimilated by the Borg. We hope this will lead to an expansion in the amount of good they do in the world.

 


 

The Ten Year Anniversary of Burners Without Borders

by Jex

During a recent online conversation on Burners.Me, I, as many do, found myself in what grew to be a heated discussion. Some of my final words included something of ‘why not focus on the positive in our community, showcasing volunteers and such?’. With these words, Zos offered me a voice via his publication to showcase said volunteers. A lovely opportunity to share my words on what may possibly be my biggest inspiration, as well as what I believe is a huge part of the pulse within the burner community. Thank you, Zos for sharing this piece and thank you in advance for reading…Burn Bright – Jexime, Production Director of BMIR – 94.5 Burning Man Information Radio.

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Peru_BWB website

Ten years ago, on August 29th, 2005, the third largest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall on the United States showed its wrath on Louisiana and Mississippi. Hurricane Katrina, the namesake of this monster storm, peaked at a category 5 with over 175 mph winds. It left New Orleans 80% underwater, with a death toll of 1,577 people in the state of Louisiana, and another 238 fatalities in neighboring Mississippi. Katrina caused over 15 million people to evacuate their homes and left what may exceed an estimated 150 billion dollars in economic damage, with hundreds of thousands of citizens left unemployed, displaced, and homeless.

Hurricane Sandy Relief_BWB website

BWB Grant Program_BWB websiteTen years ago, on August 28th, 2005, Burning Man presented us with ‘Psyche’ – exploring psychology: self-expression, self-reflection and the unconscious power of dreams. Who are you? Who are we? What is this ‘we’, this ‘I’, we speak of so commonly on a daily basis? As burners pondered the very existence of their symbiotic relationships between I, we, and the power of dreams, a plethora of self-expressing art filled the clockworked city streets, giving unique avenues for self-discovery.

 

During this journey of self-reflection, as Hurricane Katrina simultaneously destroyed the lives of millions of people, one of the most important and phenomenal representations of Civic Responsibility was born. When word made its way through the dust of the devastation of Katrina, a group of burners discovered a profound sense of self and reflection of those in need. They headed straight to ground zero of the disaster area to help rebuild the destroyed communities.

 

Bayou_BWB website“As the volunteer numbers grew, they focused their initial efforts on rebuilding a destroyed Vietnamese temple in Biloxi, Mississippi. After several months, that job done, they moved to another needy Mississippi community, Pearlington, to continue to work hard – gifting their time – to help those in need. Over the course of eight months, BWB volunteers gifted over $1 million dollars worth of reconstruction and debris removal to the residents of Mississippi.”

-BurnersWithoutBorders.org

 

This solitary event opened the doors to one of the greatest grassroots, volunteer driven, organizations to emerge from our ever growing community – Burners Without Borders. With a goal to empower local communities, BWB supports their volunteers from all around the world in finding creative solutions through community efforts to aid in disaster relief. They believe in the power of collaboration and community driven leadership to make solid and effective change. The BWB mission statement reads:

 

“BWB promotes activities around the globe that support a community’s inherent capacity to thrive by encouraging innovative approaches to disaster relief and grassroots initiatives that make a positive impact.”

-BurnersWithoutBorders.org

 

Haiti_BWB websiteSince Hurricane Katrina, BWB has supported major global projects including; Will Ruddick’s project of Kenya’s alternative currency, Green Peace’s Water Patrol with several members of Buklod Ng Kabataan, the communities affected by the Colorado Floods, participation in a one month artist residency at Jakmel Ekspresyon in Haiti (a program set up and run by Su Frame, a Chicago based art educator and activist) as a response to the horrific earthquake to hit Haiti in 2010, relief for those affected by Hurricane Sandy, and a multi-year earthquake disaster relief project in Peru. BWB sets up programming for volunteers to contribute to ongoing efforts such as these, as well as offering $100-$1000 dollars in grant money every April for civic projects that make a positive impact.

 

Project Hope Art_BWB websiteAs the ever growing nucleus of Burning Man and its diaspora continues its shift, feeding upon the current state of our populous, us burners find ourselves at the target of hyper criticism and challenges to our foundation’s ethics. Drama saturated rants infest social media – shrieking cries of billionaire plug and play camps echo far and wide as if they were the Mordor of Burning Man, while playa famed EDM DJs curse the dust over power discrepancies. We shockingly discover our beloved Ten Principles are mere reflections of our own ideals, held so tight they started to fall, vowels and consonants shattering into shards of morals and attachments, leaving us holding our knees, shaking in deep Playa, desperately asking ‘whatever shall we do?’. We look to the creators to change what is quite possibly in OUR hands to change. Perhaps, Burning Man is our true mirror and the evolution of our precious world and the fate of our community is our responsibility? Our Civic Responsibility. Let’s say the Borg are not our metaphorical parents, but are the gatekeepers who give us the blank canvas to create what we desire to reflect. Rules are inevitable – we are a society of rules, whether we’d like to admit it or not. However, are these rules a reflection of the chaos we are impassioned by? Are we subconsciously choosing entropy as our community religion? Are we the destructors of our own world while struggling through cloudy vision, unable to see we have the ability to come together to create change?

 

A mindful and ever so humble suggestion: Look to the example of those who have come before you. BWB is a pure example of the power we have to create something fantastic, something mind-blowing, something truly capable of changing the world.   They are not just an organization working toward aid of physical disaster relief, they are a symbol of how community, solid leadership, and how the true sense of Civic Responsibility can create massive waves. Be the change you want to see, in whichever community you dance in. Start with your passion, connect with those like minds who share it, rid yourself of mental clutter, and watch what can unfold. You can add to the poetry of those who have come before you and contribute to building a better world.

Haiti_2_BWB websiteProject Hope Art 2_BWB website

“When we connect our passion to the community purpose, anything is possible.”

-Carmen Maulk, BWB

 

BWB_Infiinte PossibilitiesThis 2015 burn, we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Burners Without Borders. May you continue to succeed exponentially, for many years to come. Thank you for the inspiration.

 

Visit http://www.BurnersWithoutBorders.org to find out more and get involved!!

SmallVersionBWBinfographic1

Image: Burning Man

Wanted: Someone To Make The Whole Dream Come True

robin-hoodhigh engagement philanthropy

Remember when BMOrg wanted to become a non-profit, raising funds from Burners to further its mission of spreading Radical Self-Transformation throughout the world?

Well, guess what. It’s still happening. And now, you could be the actual one to make it happen. Yes, one lucky Burner gets to be responsible for manifesting this entire vision of BMOrg, the Borg, Larry & Co, McLarry, and everyone else in the hierarchy of inclusion that is Burning Man 2.0. The rainmaker! The funds taker! The gifting staker!

From Painter Executive Search (emphasis ours):

Burning Man

Director of Philanthropic Engagement

Position Description

 Painter Executive Search is supporting Burning Man in their search for an experienced and entrepreneurial fundraiser to help shape and execute a fundraising strategy that honors Burning Man values and invites the whole community to share and spread Burning Man culture around the globe.

Burning Man Project (Burning Man) is a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation whose mission is to facilitate and extend the culture that has issued from the Burning Man event (AKA Black Rock City) into the larger world. Burning Man is committed to nurturing Black Rock City as the seminal manifestation of the 10 Principles-based culture, while developing a support infrastructure to connect, celebrate and facilitate the sharing of the culture in communities around the world. Based in San Francisco, California, Burning Man employs a diverse staff of creative professionals with extensive knowledge of art, civics, and community building who seek to bring experiences to people in grand, awe-inspiring and joyful ways that lift the human spirit, address social problems and inspire a sense of community, culture and personal engagement.

Burning Man exists and grows from the vibrant and creative contributions of a largely volunteer community. “Burners” who are transformed by their experiences in Black Rock City and embrace the 10-Principles culture, seek to contribute to the social good “off-playa” when they return to their home communities. Burners gift their personal resources in a range of ways, through financial support, labor, creation of artwork, public art, community building, civic action and other forms of participation. It is this gifting culture that fuels the community’s creativity and powers the social transformation which has led to the dissemination of 10 Principles-based work in the world.

The Burning Man organization seeks to be a node in this highly dispersed network by facilitating learning, sharing ideas and technical knowledge, developing resources to seed and foster grassroots work and by celebrating the culture and gifts that flow from it. Burning Man supports this diverse community by awarding grants for art and civic engagement projects, producing interactive art exhibitions and events, offering fresh and unique interactive public art and performance experiences, as well as providing technical, operational or administrative support for efforts to influence social change in local communities. They also share their values and ideas in public speaking engagements and connect leaders, informal groups and like-minded organizations who are working to develop a vibrant, life-enhancing world of civic participation. Burning Man’s community of artists, event participants, and volunteers spans the globe and includes over 60 community produced regional celebrations and gatherings as well as civic engagement work in more than 24 countries.

POSITION SUMMARY

Working in collaboration with the leadership team, the Director of Philanthropic Engagement (Director) will lead the development and execution of a fundraising strategy which celebrates a culture of gifting and extends the opportunities for those who embrace Burning Man’s mission to participate fully in support of that work. Reporting to the CEO, the Director will provide strategic and operational leadership and manage the department staff and programs including annual, major gift and capital campaign initiatives while continuing to nurture and celebrate the unique and vibrant volunteer culture.

This role is highly creative and calls upon an experienced fundraiser to establish sound fundraising practices which embrace 10 Principles-based culture. Deep experience with fundraising mechanics, including clear policies, infrastructure and process development, as well as substantial experience in donor engagement and major gifts is critical. Engaging with donors of a wide range of means, including volunteers whose gifts of time, expertise and passion are essential to the culture will be highly important. Working through ideas and programs that develop a range of opportunities aligned with donors’ and volunteers’ interests and celebrating all contributions with equal enthusiasm is critical for this role.

ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES, HISTORY AND PROGRAM

10 Principles and a Gifting Culture

Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey wrote the 10 Principles in 2004 as guidelines for the newly-formed regional network. Importantly, they are descriptive rather than prescriptive and are a reflection of the Burning Man community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception. Understanding these 10 Principles will be critical in developing a culturally sensitive and effective fundraising program. While these principles rose from the experience of Black Rock City, they define Burning Man culture on and off the playa–how they inform the work of Burning Man continues to be explored and evolved as the work of the community moves off-playa and around the world.

…Burning Man both raises funds for programmatic needs, core initiatives and grantmaking programs, and distributes a range of support grants for arts, civic engagement and training.  Burning Man also highlights and supports other mechanisms that fund and support artists, celebrations or civic efforts—elevating multiple channels for support. Challenges to fundraising methods will arise when philanthropy seeks to influence in ways that are contrary to other Burning Man values such as Decommodification or Radical Inclusion; where contributions can be seen as class-driven, transactional or as a shortcut for personal participation. Maintaining an even playing field, where people are treated and thanked with equal care for their unique contributions–regardless of background or level of personal wealth–are important to members of our community.

…In 2011, they recruited a Board of Directors and formed the nonprofit organization, The Burning Man Project, in a formalized effort to extend the principles, creativity, and culture of Burning Man into the world, year round. The nonprofit received its 501(c)3 status in May 2012. In order to more fully realize the vision of the new nonprofit, the Board of Directors and Burning Man’s leadership developed a strategy of aggregating the programs and organizations into a single entity. This strategy ultimately brought together Black Rock City LLC, the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) and Burners Without Borders (BWB) under the umbrella of the Burning Man Project nonprofit. Today the Burning Man Project, simply known as Burning Man, is positioned to support these key programs through its focus on three core areas of work; The Event, The Culture and The Network.

In the past, the LLC raised nearly all of its money from ticket sales to the annual event in Nevada, but that alone cannot support the flourishing global expansion of Burning Man culture. In order to seed and support the dreams of inspired Burners year-round, the organization needs to grow charitable contributions from the community to help support this important work.

The mission of Burning Man Arts is to change the paradigm of art from a commodified object to an interactive, participatory, shared experience of creative expression.

In the Fall of 2014, all art initiatives, were joined to create a single, robust program that strives to provide more streamlined services to artists, produce more interactive, community driven art and inspire more civic engagement projects. The Burning Man Arts program supports artists on and off the playa, and is exploring an expanded range of offerings, including increased collaborations and partnerships with like-minded organizations and additional support services for artists, including fiscal sponsorship.

Burning Man Arts provides a range of grants focused on Black Rock City, Global Arts and Civic Arts. This year Burning Man provided more than $1 million in grants to artists. In the previous 13 years, the Black Rock Arts Foundation had funded 149 projects worldwide, providing more than $2,500,000 in grants and support to artists and more than $430,000 through its Grants to Artists program and installed or otherwise supported 38 projects (with direct grants of $770,000) through its Civic Arts program...

DIRECTOR OF PHILANTHROPIC ENGAGEMENT

RESPONSIBILITIES

The Director of Philanthropic Engagement will build a sophisticated and sustainable fundraising program that seamlessly integrates into Burning Man’s programmatic initiatives to advance the organization’s mission. The role focuses on both fundraising program development and relationship building, including identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of contributors to Burning Man from individuals, foundations and companies, public agencies as well as a large number of volunteers including artists, regional leaders and event participants whose creativity and participation is the cultural capital upon which Burning Man is built.

Goals for the Director include establishing a culture of fundraising that invites broad participation in the development of leadership and major gifts and ensures that all gifts are welcomed with a spirit of gratitude. The Director will also create systems and processes that enhance the ability to deepen relationships with donors and volunteers and that effectively acknowledge their contributions in a timely and affirming manner. The Director will be responsible for increasing both the base of individuals and foundations contributing to Burning Man annually, and in deepening the support through effective storytelling, engagement and participation. They will lead the efforts to creating an increasingly healthy and dependable annual fund, as well as prepare the infrastructure for a future capital campaign or special project need.

Specific responsibilities include managing a portfolio of leadership donors and prospects, supervising staff and participating as a member of the leadership team. The department is being constituted by existing staff members from other departments, but the Director will have the opportunity to hire as needed. The current department is envisioned as a Major Gifts Officer, an Individual Gifts Officer, a Fundraising Grants Officer, an Information Systems Development Assistant, a Special (Fundraising) Events Manager, and a Stewardship and Volunteer Appreciation Programs Manager. Aligning the existing fundraising efforts and building understanding and consistency across all fundraising programs will be an important focus for the position.

DUTIES & ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS

LEADERSHIP, STRATEGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Support and partner with the CEO, Board members and other key leadership to develop and execute a fundraising strategic plan;
  • Actively work across the organization to set and communicate specific fundraising objectives, strategies and goals in support of the mission and strategic plan;
  • Work with the CEO to engage and activate Burning Man’s Board of Directors, including establishing a Fund Development Committee and supporting, motivating, training Board volunteers in their fundraising efforts;
  • Actively understand, reflect, and promote Burning Man to the public, effectively and joyfully sharing the fundraising opportunities and needs of the community;
  • Engage with volunteers in a manner that affirms their importance and value to Burning Man culture and both facilitates and celebrates their personal contributions of creativity, participation and time;
  • With the CEO and leadership team, steward the strategic vision of the organization, participating in weekly leadership team meetings, communicating priorities and goals, and building a positive team culture that reflects the organizations values;
  • In consultation with others, craft organizational messaging about Burning Man’s programs to communicate and motivate current and prospective donors to strengthen their organizational and philanthropic commitment;
  • Working across the organization, help establish an awareness and a vocabulary for communicating outcomes of Burning Man’s highly diverse and creative work;
  • In coordination with Burning Man Communications, drive development-related content in such publications such as Jack Rabbit Speaks, newsletters, annual reports, fundraising appeals, e-mail, and other communication channels;
  • Engage in positive leadership development within the team to advance Burning Man as a great organization;
  • Play a leadership role in capital campaigns and discussions that ensure the long-term sustainability of Burning Man and its programs.

MANAGEMENT AND PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT

  • Manage the day-to-day responsibilities of executing the development program;
  • Identify, develop, and mentor the development team; promote professional development of the staff and creatively organize them to maximize their effectiveness and clearly define their roles, relationships, and expectations;
  • Collaborate with the Finance Director to develop and implement Burning Man’s financial strategy; oversee the development and monitoring of the annual budget for the department;
  • Oversee research of funding sources and trends, with foresight, to help position Burning Man ahead of major funding changes or trends;
  • Oversee development and execution of all fund development proposals with a long-term relationship-management approach;
  • Monitor donor and fundraising information; regularly provide and present data and analysis to the board and senior leaders, reporting progress and challenges to fundraising efforts;
  • Develop and implement a stewardship program aimed at cultivating deeper ties with donors;
  • Oversee and provide supervision for hands on/engaged experiences, receptions and events;
  • Assist in the creation, publishing and maintenance of process documentation.

INDIVIDUAL FUNDRAISING

  • Manage a portfolio of leadership gift prospects ($25,000 and above) contributing to achievement of the overall fundraising goals for Burning Man;
  • Regularly meet with the CEO to review the fund development prospect pool and devise specific strategies for individual engagement and solicitation.

EXPERIENCE

A successful candidate will likely have:

  • Ability and successful experience in conceptualizing a comprehensive strategy for institutional advancement; possess a deep command of the fund development body of knowledge;
  • Demonstrated success in identifying, cultivating and soliciting individual donors which resulted in a robust pipeline of new relationships and significant increases funding;
  • Experience building and/or significantly growing a sophisticated, complex development function, ideally within a visual arts-related organization or cultural institution;
  • Excellent relationship-building skills and agility to build rapport with internal and external stakeholders around innovative ideas and programs;
  • Able to work effectively with artists, board members, donors of all financial capacities and colleagues across the Burning Man community;
  • Experience fostering deep relationships with volunteers and valuing their contributions of time expertise and passion as equal to any financial contribution;
  • Ability to both motivate and engage volunteer leaders in fund development activities, including making ‘the ask’;
  • Exceptional communication skills; articulate, with proven ability to write effectively and speak persuasively;
  • Superior organizational skills, with a strong sense of detail-orientation and excellent time management skills;
  • Demonstrated success in working with a diverse volunteer leadership; donors and donor prospects; and corporate, community, and government leaders;
  • Demonstrated leadership skills in order to establish and build a finely-tuned fund development department;
  • A bachelor’s degree, preferably a Graduate Degree;
  • Valid Drivers’ License and a clean driving record;
  • Direct familiarity with Burning Man as a result of participating in the annual Black Rock City and/or official Burning Man regional events in other locations;
  • Ability to adjust work schedule seasonally and work away from home (on playa) for up to 10 days during the months of August and September.

ATTRIBUTES

  • Dedicated to principles of behavior and ethics of the Burning Man organization; able to embrace the organization’s evolving mission and the sweep of its vision, and will fit well within a culture of impassioned, driven, creative, and dedicated professionals;
  • Dynamic, highly organized, and strategic individual with a deep understanding of their personal value and a commitment to express that value creatively and with passion;
  • Inspirational, able to bring out the best in others and joyfully approach challenges as opportunities for growth and learning;
  • Ability to think on his or her feet, problem solve, critically think, and remain calm under stress;
  • Friendly, personable demeanor conducive to effectively presenting information and responding to questions from executives, managers, staff, vendors, artists, local community members, participants, BMP board members, and the general public;
  • Ability to prioritize tasks in a fast-paced environment along with the ability to accept interruptions as part of the routine; confidence in managing multiple projects and deadlines;
  • Exercise a keen sense of organizational diplomacy, able to maintain personal integrity and uphold high standards of confidentiality;
  • Committed to building a responsive, efficient, and highly lucrative fundraising program within a dynamic cultural enterprise;
  • Possesses a high degree of emotional intelligence, self-awareness and fortitude.

 

For additional information or to be considered for this role contact:

Nancy Painter

Nancy@painterexecutivesearch.com

(415) 202- 6240 [Source]

If you know anyone who you think might be suitable, please suggest them to Nancy. I can definitely think of a few candidates.

The stakes are high: if this person does a good job, then the entire Burning Man Project vision of the past 30 years could actually be achieved.

Anyone care to venture a guess as to what happened to the last person in this role?

High Engagement Philanthropy: taking it to the next level. $25k and up.

High Engagement Philanthropy: taking it to the next level. $25k and up.

Source: Columbia University

Seems like a positive career trajectory. Source: Columbia University