How to Submit a Letter of Intent

If you’re interested in applying for funding for an art installation bound for the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City, you MUST 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 proposal process. The 2015 grant cycle is now closed. If you are interested in applying for funding for an art installation for the 2106 event, the Letter of Intent deadline will be in December 2015.

All artists hoping to receive a Black Rock City Honorarium will need to participate in the LOI process.

To apply, please make sure you’ve read about the Black Rock City Honoraria program, and check out the LOI Instructions and FAQ.

Preview of Letter of Intent Questions

Our online Letter of Intent will give you the opportunity to provide us with the following information:

  • Name of contact person, contact person’s phone number, email address, and mailing address
  • Name of the lead artist (if different from the contact person)
  • Name of artist group or collective (if applicable)
  • Project website (optional)
  • Name of proposed art installation
  • Brief project summary (300 characters)
  • Description of the philosophy of the installation (1500 characters, which is about 250 words or 1 double-spaced page)
  • Physical description (1500 characters)
  • Description of how the installation fits the mission of Burning Man Arts (1500 characters)
  • Desired location (at Burning Man/Black Rock City, outside Black Rock City, or both)
  • Current status of installation (proposed concept or existing artwork)
  • Expected cost range
  • One to three images (drawing, sketch, photo, etc.)

It’s mandatory that you submit your proposal through our online process; we will not accept hardcopy/paper applications.

Timeline

  • The online LOI application for our 2105 cycle is now closed.
  • LOIs for the 2106 event will be due in December 2015.
  • Selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal in January 2016.
  • Proposals are accepted by invitation only, and will be due in February 2016 (four weeks after invitation).
  • Selected grantees will be announced in late February/early March 2016.

Late or incomplete Letters of Intent will not be accepted. No exceptions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why is Burning Man Arts using an LOI process?

A. We understand that submitting a full grant proposal can be time consuming. The LOI is a much shorter application, which will save everyone time and effort.
Also, we receive applications each year that don’t match our stated criteria. With the LOI process, if your proposed installation isn’t a good fit for the program you won’t have spent all the time on a full proposal.
Q. When is the deadline to submit an LOI?

A. The online submission form for LOIs will close in December 2015. Late LOIs will not be accepted. No exceptions.
Q. Who can submit an LOI?

A.

  • Individuals, artist collectives or groups, and established 501c3 organizations are all eligible and welcome to apply.
  • Grants are for the creation of interactive artworks that are destined for display at the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City.
  • We fund art installations from artists across the globe. There are no geographic restrictions on who can apply.
  • If you’ve applied for or received a Burning Man (or BRAF) grant previously, you may apply again.

Q. If I don't submit an LOI by the deadline, is there any other opportunity for me to receive funding for my BRC art?

A. No. You must submit an LOI to be considered for funding. If you submit an LOI and you aren’t invited to submit a full proposal, we would still love to have your art at Burning Man! Please check back in the Spring to fill out the Art Installation Questionnaire.
Q. May I submit more than one Letter of Intent?

A. Yes! Our online application system is hosted by SlideRoom, and it requires each LOI to be submitted under a separate SlideRoom account. You will need a different email address for each LOI you submit.
Q. I have a technical question about the submission process in SlideRoom.

A. Please check out SlideRoom’s Frequently Asked Questions and Step by Step Guide.
Q. Will I have a chance to include images with my LOI?

A. Yes! In fact, we require you to submit at least one image which can be a drawing, sketch, photo, etc. If you have a maquette, please submit a photo of it. We will only be accepting physical maquettes at the full proposal stage.
Q. Can I start the LOI application in SlideRoom and then come back to it later?

A. Yes. Once you create a SlideRoom account and provide your full contact information, you will have the chance to Save & Exit. You can log back in later to complete your application. Note that incomplete applications will not be accepted; you must submit the application for it to be considered complete.
Q. What kind of contract with Burning Man will I need to sign if my art installation is funded?

A. With the creation of Burning Man Arts, we have reviewed and revised our artist contract; you can read more about the changes here.
Q. By submitting an LOI, am I obligated to create a full proposal if invited?

A. No. We understand that circumstances change, and you are certainly allowed to withdraw your LOI or decline the invitation to submit a full proposal.
Q. Does my art installation have a better chance of being funded if it's related to the theme?

A. No. We welcome proposals for art installations that are related to the theme or not related to the theme.
Q. My project is easily scalable. I'm not sure how much funding to request or how to indicate that on the LOI.

A. The LOI form asks for an estimated cost range, so you enter a minimum and maximum amount of requested funding.
Q. Can the expected budget range change if/when we submit a full proposal?

A. Yes. We know concepts and budgets can evolve from inception to actual grant proposal, and will ask more detailed budget questions in the art grant application.
Q. Who will review the LOIs?

A. We have a committee who has a long history of being involved with Burning Man’s annual grant cycle. This committee leverages their personal experience of creating art on playa.
Q. What percentage of LOIs will be invited to submit a full proposal?

A. In 2015 we received 510 LOIs and invited 222 to submit a full proposal. We aren’t aiming for a certain percentage; our goal is to help fund as much interactive, engaging art as possible.
Q. What can I expect if my LOI is accepted and I'm invited to submit a full proposal?

A. Once you are notified, we will provide a link to the online application form. We anticipate the deadline will be four weeks after the invitation to participate. The application will be similar to the 2015 Grant Application, with some revisions for 2016.
To learn more about the process if you submit a full proposal and your art installation is accepted as an Honorarium, check out What To Expect.
Typically grantees receive their first funding in early April, with a subsequent payment typically four weeks after the first payment. Burning Man retains a performance deposit which is paid post-event.
Q. If I am invited to submit a full proposal, how likely is it that I'll be funded?

A. This is difficult to define. Historically Burning Man has received about 325 grant proposals, and has funded up to about 60. With the LOI in place in 2015 the number of incoming full proposals was reduced substantially.
Q. Who do I contact with further questions?

A. Please be sure to read the Black Rock City Honoraria FAQ for more information about the grant program. You can send any other questions to artgrants@burningman.com. We’ll try to be as helpful as we can and will answer each email individually.