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Black Rock Arts Foundation Joins Burning Man Organization


“Burning Man Arts” brings together Black Rock Arts Foundation and Black Rock City’s art department to streamline grant processes & better support the placement and enjoyment of art worldwide

San Francisco, July 26, 2014 — Burning Man today announced a reorganization of its arts programs to place more art in communities around the world, make more art available for the annual event in the Black Rock Desert, and create more opportunities for artists and donors.

Black Rock Arts Foundation, which is now a subsidiary of the non-profit Burning Man Project, is joining forces with Black Rock City’s art department to create one program called Burning Man Arts. 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.

“This change breaks down the barriers. Art for the playa and art for the world will be one and the same,” said Burning Man’s founder Larry Harvey. “It makes it easier for artists to apply for grants and support, and it enables donors to contribute to the entire spectrum of expressive culture that is pouring out of Burning Man.”

So far in 2014, the Black Rock City art program has provided more than $1 million in grants and support to artists preparing works for the annual event in the Black Rock Desert during the last week of August.

Since its creation in 2001, Black Rock Arts Foundation has funded 149 projects worldwide, providing more than $2,500,000 in grants and support to artists. BRAF has awarded 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. BRAF has also produced 82 memorable events and provided collaborative public art consulting services.

“Together, these two organizations will have an even bigger impact on donors, artists, and the communities that benefit from an active, engaged and supported arts community,” said Tomas McCabe, Executive Director of BRAF. “In addition to supporting artists on and off the playa, the new program is exploring an expanded range of offerings, including increased collaborations and partnerships with like-minded organizations and additional support services for artists.”

For donors, this development means that financial gifts to art projects for the Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert can be tax deductible and opens up a wide range of new opportunities for supporters of the arts. All existing grants and support will continue uninterrupted. They will be completed within the framework of BRAF in collaboration with Burning Man Project.

About Burning Man

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 into the larger world. Black Rock City is the seminal manifestation of the 10 Principles-based culture known as Burning Man. The gathering, which last year included participants from all 50 states and 40 countries around the world, happens the last week of August in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. For more information, visit


Frequently Asked Questions

What’s happening?

Black Rock City’s art department and Black Rock Arts Foundation are coming together to create one unified art program called ‘Burning Man Arts’. This will result in more art being placed in communities worldwide, more art available for the annual event in the Black Rock Desert, it will streamline operations, and create additional services for artists and opportunities for donors.

Isn’t that a merger?

No, it’s not technically a merger. Legally speaking, Black Rock Arts Foundation is becoming a subsidiary of Burning Man Project. Operationally, the two organizations are bringing their resources together to create one robust art program that will work on projects both on and off the playa.

What are the benefits of doing this?

This change will benefit artists and donors, and will ultimately lead to more art being created and enjoyed by more people around the globe. It breaks down the barrier between art on playa and art in the world, and instead creates one entity that will work in the interest of both. Artists will have more opportunities to receive funding and other forms of support, and donors will have a new range of options for supporting the arts.

What is the timeline for this to take place?

The legal transaction was completed on July 24, 2014. The transition and restructuring of the entities will occur over the coming months and into 2015.

What happens to the BRAF Board?

Many of the BRAF Board members have stepped down and we thank them for their dedication and service building a vibrant, successful arts organization over the past 13 years. A scaled down version of the BRAF Board will continue to exist. We are working with members of the board to engage them in new ways with Burning Man Project and Burning Man Arts.

How will decisions on grants be made?

Burning Man and BRAF grant programs will continue to award grants based on the same criteria as before. While we will create some additional efficiency by merging these programs and sharing tools and other resources, we don’t anticipate making immediate changes to our grant criteria or decision-making bodies.

How are current BRAF programs being affected?

We don’t expect the transition to have any major immediate effect on existing projects, grants or grant applications. They will be completed within the framework of BRAF in collaboration with Burning Man Project.

What new programs are being planned for?

None at this time, but there are some ideas being explored for the future.

How does this affect current BRAF staff?

Current BRAF staff will continue to administer former BRAF grant programs as employees of Burning Man Project.

What becomes of a donation I already made to BRAF?

Your previous donations to BRAF will still fund participatory and collaborative community art projects around the world, funded under the same criteria as the BRAF Grants to Artists and Civic Arts programs. If you’ve donated to a specific BRAF project or program, your funds will still support that project or program. If you made a “general” donation to BRAF, your funds will support future public art projects produced by Burning Man.

What if I want to make a donation to Burning Man Arts moving forward?

At this time you can still donate through the BRAF website, here: In the very near future there will be a new way to donate to art programs through the Burning Man Project. While details are yet to be determined, donors will have the option of directing support specifically to arts.

What will happen to the BRAF website, newsletter and other communication channels?

We are working to fold in the content of the BRAF website into the new which will be launched before the end of this year. We are looking at options for what to do with the newsletter and social media tools. We would like to have a unified voice for sharing information with artists, donors and the wider community about Burning Man Arts. Burning Man’s communication channels will be sharing information about the activities and opportunities of Burning Man Arts.

I’ve got a great idea for an art piece, community event, etc.! How can I get the Project’s support?

We are not developing new programs at this time. You can email info -at-  (   if you have an idea you’d like to have considered in the future.

Burners Without Borders and the Bangla Pesa Program

BWB - Logo LargeBurners Without Borders is making history in Kenya. It is enabling the country’s poorest residents to become radically self-reliant by helping them take control of their local economies. The introduction of a parallel currency, Bangla Pesa, removes dependency from development and is poised to transform the traditional aid paradigm in Africa.

Scarf it Down with Burning Man Project

Burning Man Project is offering an awesome grey cotton scarf to thank $150 donors to its end-of-year fundraising campaign. It’s a really soft, cuddly, stretchy, organic cotton fabric lovingly screened with the BMP skyline logo.

It’s versatile, unisex, machine washable. Its heathered, dark grey color navigates the line between goth/fashion editor/Gate, Perimeter and Exodus basic black and smoky/sultry/ashes-of-the-Man-at-Sunday-sunrise charcoal. You can wear it as a turban, a dust mask, a shawl, a sarong, a belt, or wrap it around your neck. As scarves go, it’s pretty great. But it’s mostly great because it’s a thank you GIFT for a crucial $150 donation. The scarf is 18 x 80 inches.

Burning Man Project’s purpose is to bring the lessons and values of the playa to the larger world. Through events, discussions, demonstration projects, and a growing platform of online learning, we are gearing up to share the Burner ethos with the broadest possible audience. All of this takes funding beyond the price of tickets to Black Rock City. So we are embarking on a new era, asking the Burner community to join us on this year-round adventure. We are inviting your involvement in making Burning Man Project into a worldwide force for participation, inclusion, and expression. And yes, we are asking for your donation.

So what does all of that have to do with a scarf? This is the first time we have used a gift as part of a donation campaign. We are treading lightly, understanding that the topic of money has special significance for the Burner community. But we need to function as a nonprofit to do this work in the world. And we want to show you our appreciation, so you can show the world you want this venture — and adventure — to succeed.

So accept our invitation, make a donation of $150, and let us gift you a scarf (or 2014 calendar, if you prefer.) Make a donation of any size, and receive our tremendous thanks and enthusiasm. Here’s the link.  And here’s to a great 2014 for you, for Burning Man Project, and for the world.

Youth Education Spaceship (Y.E.S.) extends Las Vegas stay

The Youth Education Spaceship (Y.E.S.) – a collaboration by artist Dana Albany, kids from San Francisco’s Tenderloin and Hunters Point neighborhoods, Burner families, Burning Man Project and several like-minded organizations has landed in Las Vegas.

Y.E.S. is a mobile spaceship classroom and collaborative art project that gave the kids experience creating and exhibiting their creation, which has gone on tour to Burning Man, the Exploratorium, Hunter’s Point Open Studios, and Maker Faire in San Mateo.

Downtown Project, working with Burning Man Project, helped bring Y.E.S. to Las Vegas, where it opened to the public at the Learning Village November 15, with a variety of family friendly programming including spaceship tours, mosaic workshops with recycled materials, wiring and interactive robotic demos. The spaceship has taken up temporary residence at Zappos headquarters.

Burning Man Project collaborated with Black Rock Arts Foundation, Black Rock City, The Crucible, Exploratorium, and Maker Faire to work with Albany and the kids to build a 10’x 12′ space ship from repurposed and found objects.

Crowdfunding: Trends in the Sharing Economy

Burning Man Project hosted a free panel discussion on trends in the sharing economy in early December. Crowdfunding and the sharing economy reflect our principles of gifting, communal effort, civic responsibility and decommodification, and we brought together Kate Drane from Indiegogo, Daniel Miller from Fundrise, and Harry Pottash from Kiva to talk about the future of crowdfunding.

More than 50 people turned out to discuss the state of crowdfunding, the challenges they’ve faced, and new ideas on how this movement can be used to empower underprivileged projects through the democratization of fundraising.