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 burningman.com (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.