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Burning Man Project staff were joined by 25 volunteers at Burning Man 2013, encouraging participants to “take the playa to the planet” and keep the fire burning long after Black Rock City disappeared.
“We had a tremendous group of volunteers who took time out of their Burning Man preparation to familiarize themselves with our goals and programs,” said BMP Program Manager Heather White. “They made sure everyone got a warm welcome and good information on all the ways burners stay involved year-round.
Burning Man Project joined Black Rock Arts Foundation, Black Rock Solar, Burners Without Borders and the Global Network of regional contacts at the Everywhere Pavilion on the Esplanade near the Keyhole. The Project’s goal was to help visitors understand how BMP is inspiring and supporting burners seeking to create positive change in their communities.
Everywhere visitors were treated to buttons and stickers, perused informative banners and display materials and volunteers and staff encouraged them to consider how participants manifested Burning Man culture in their own lives.
“People are always talking about how they want the rest of their lives to ‘be like Burning Man’,” White said. We simply showed them what other burners are already doing in the world which is exciting and inspiring and a great gift to take home to the default world.”
Burning Man Project volunteers teamed with the Black Rock City Earth Guardians to teach San Franciscans how to turn ordinary blue jeans into Matter-Out-Of-Place (MOOP) bags that Earth Day SF participants used to clean Civic Center Plaza.
“It’s fun to create something that’s also useful,” said Earth Day SF participant Yolanda Raes. “It’s nice of them to do this.”
Burning Man Project co-hosted a MOOP bag workshop with Black Rock City Earth Guardians once before, but this was their first collaboration at Earth Day SF. Burning Man promotes a “Leave No Trace” policy to ensure anything brought to an event returns home with participants and Burning Man Project used Earth Day as an opportunity to convey the 10 Principles that reflect the community’s ethos and culture as it has organically developed since the event’s inception.
People stopping by the Project / Earth Guardians booth could pick from pre-made bags or make their own, using a pre-sewn bag which they’d attach to a donated dress tie and decorate with paints.
“It was awesome to see the art and spirit of protecting our Earth catch on,” said Karina O’Connor, volunteer Black Rock City Earth Guardian Manager at Burning Man.
Black Rock City Earth Guardians host regular workshops for participants to craft MOOP bags and learn more about Leave No Trace. The full schedule is on their website at EarthGuardians.net.
“The term MOOP is a great example of the creative culture of Burning Man – taking something like picking up garbage and making it fun,” explained Heather White, Program Manager for Burning Man Project. “With the help of the Black Rock City Earth Guardians, we had great conversations with people as they selected, or made, a MOOP bag of their own.”
The Black Rock City Earth Guardians are dedicated to educating and inspiring people to practice “Leave No Trace” and other green practices. They are a fixture in Black Rock City in the Nevada desert and have expanded their work to include families, schools, organizations and public officials, encouraging everyone to improve and protect the planet.
One of our missions at Burning Man Project is to catalyze community around art and civic engagement. Our recent partnership with Downtown Project in Las Vegas, is a true collaboration in this spirit. Former NYC Regional Contact Cory Mervis, now a proud resident of the Nevada city, is leading the charge as the Cultural Attache between our organization and Downtown Project.
Cory and her family were drawn to glittering Las Vegas because they saw a vibrant and growing arts community. Cory had been creating community events and organizing ideas into action since 2000. After she moved to downtown Vegas, she immediately attended a monthly coffeeshop meeting and shared the idea of a Halloween Parade with the Mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman. He loved the concept, and since then, she has been producing this massive event, with much support from the city government. The parade has grown by leaps and bounds to 12,000 attendees, and each year it unites people of all types to create art together and ultimately participate in claiming their culture and community.
Beginning Nov. 1, 2012, Cory has brought the same excitement and enthusiasm for community-building to the collaboration between Downtown Project and Burning Man Project. Cory’s role is to serve as a consultant and project manager around areas of interest for Downtown Project.
In September 2011, First Friday LLC (allied with the Downtown Project) acquired the First Friday event, which is produced monthly by a very talented team of artists, producers and extraordinary organizers. Today, Cory is working with the team to help as needed with programs like manifesting a Leave No Trace ethos for the event.
Downtown Project is rocking downtown Las Vegas by building community via arts, participation, and radical self-expression. Burning Man Project is thrilled to be a part of this with Cory at the helm!
In the past decade, our world has been struck with an incredible series of natural disasters – including record-breaking hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes. Each of these events wreaks havoc on the lives of thousands, if not millions of people, and recovery can take years. Even the most organized and motivated communities could use a little bit of help – which is exactly what Burners Without Borders (BWB) sets out to do. Right now BWB is busy with two major initiatives, the Jakmel Ekspresyon project in Jacmel, Haiti, and some heavy-duty cleanup in New Jersey, following in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Jakmel Ekspresyon: Rebuilding Economy through Art
After it was hit with magnitude 7.0 earthquake in 2010, the town of Jacmel was left in shambles – along with its vibrant artisan community. To meet the needs of many artists seeking a place to work and grow, the Jakmel Ekspresyon Community Arts Center was founded later that year. Since then, it has become a vital community resource for the city – run by one paid employee and a hardy staff of volunteers.
Jakmel Ekspresyon’s (JE’s) leadership believes that they can help community members develop their personal voices and economic stability by providing resources, training, and equipment, all without discrimination. Discrimination is unfortunately a problem in Haiti, and has escalated during this time of prolonged stress and hardship.
BWB supports JE in their mission and, as a result, is helping to launch the Screenprinting Project Residency, which will be in motion beginning Spring 2013. Screenprinting will bring a new form of artistic expression to Jacmel, as well as offer a new resource of revenue to the town and its resident artists. Jacmel does not currently have a local screenprinting shop for publicity materials, so businesses have to travel two hours to Port au Prince. Screenprinting would allow those businesses to spend their money locally and provide the local artists with income and business training. This project also brings with it an artist-in-residency program as well as many opportunities to get involved as a volunteer.
If you’re interested in helping make this project a reality, check out the Indiegogo campaign and share it with your network! Also stay tuned for more volunteer opportunity announcements.
Sandy Turns Lives Upside Down; BWB Helps Community Get Back on Its Feet
Much farther north, back in the US, BWB has mobilized in New Jersey to help clean up the mess of decimated houses and buildings that megastorm Sandy left behind. Upon first arriving in the town of Manasquan, NJ, in early November, BWB’s Richard Scott was invited to build a fire sculpture for the local Thanksgiving celebration. The event brought out the entire town, signifying the beginning of the healing process BWB and the community would be embarking on together.
Since then, BWB and multitudes of volunteers have been firing up the bulldozers and getting their hands dirty on the ground, clearing houses that were destroyed or had floated (literally) off their original property and onto another. As posted on their blog on Dec. 8:
After weeks of meetings, creating documents and shaking hands, we’re doing what we set out to do. In the last two days, Richard Scott and Michael Craddock cleared seven storm-decimated properties using a donated John Deere 200c track excavator, “with a thumb” Richard said, “It’s the beginning of the end.” He paused, then elaborated, “of the clean up phase, and the beginning of the beginning of the rebuilding phase.”
Restoring a community anywhere is no easy task, and will likely take years – even with all of the support possible. If you are interested in getting involved with BWB, sign up to volunteer or make a donation. And again, please tell your friends and help amplify this story far and wide.
Burners Without Borders is mobilizing bulldozers and volunteers to help with some of the hardest-hit areas from Hurricane Sandy. First stop, Massaquan, New Jersey, where BWB-directed teams are pitching in to help clear debris and enable residents to rebuild. Burning Man Project is now BWB’s fiscal sponsor, and gratefully accepting donations of funds on their behalf.
Please follow this link to donate:
Burning Man Project