Support Services

Art Support provides communications, logistics management, and infrastructure interface for various needed resources as related to the implementation of art at the Burning Man event.  This team maintains familiarity with the large-scale art planned each year and steps in as appropriate to assist with on-site artist delivery logistics; coordinates with Support Services for heavy machinery, coordinates special needs with event infrastructure; and provides light equipment resources, as available and necessary.  This team fills the gaps between other event departments in relation to supporting art at the event.


2006 brought changes to Art Support.  The Heavy Machinery team was redesigned and given the title “Support Services”.  To avoid confusion, the name “Art Support Services” was shortened to “Art Support.”

Within the larger context of the Art Department, Art Support applies resources specifically to aid artists in achieving their creative vision.  Art Support helps track heavy machinery labor hours, equipment usage, transportation needs, and clean-up efforts for the purpose of providing feedback to artists about the actual cost of their artwork, and to Burning Man staff for department budgets.

Art Support’s central mission is to monitor art funded by honoraria from the Burning Man Project, beginning with the initial proposal through the funding phase, through pre-playa development and construction, through arrival on-playa, through on-site construction, to teardown and removal of every trace from the playa at the end of the event.  The team expanded its mission this year to include non-funded, large-scale art projects in an effort to promote artist participation in Black Rock City.  During this 4th year for Art Support, a few new team members became involved and helped to further develop the organization.

Bruiser cranes for the Cathedral.PAST CHALLENGES

The challenges faced by the Art Support team vary proportionally to the variety of art and the nature of the change and growth of the various departments within Black Rock City.  The 2005 event brought the first test of efforts to integrate Art Support with DPW Heavy Machinery (HM).  In 2006, the job of dispatching heavy machinery became a separate and distinct department unto its own, called “Support Services” under DPW.  While major improvements were made to on-site artist support, challenges remain in quantifying these activities in 2007 and tracking equipment used and labor involved will continue to be a high priority.  Also a priority is the review of staff resources and an increase in staff during the last 4 days of the event when most of the team is exhausted.


Growth happens!  The 2006 event gave Art Support opportunities to settle into a working relationship with Support Services.  Improvements made to the structure of Support Services allowed the Art Support team to handle more of the logistical needs of artists and less time monitoring heavy machinery logistics.  This major change allowed Art Support to reach into new areas of attention with artists and within the ARTery.  Tracking artists’ activities begins as early as February.  Support Services begins contact with specific artists who require extensive logistical coordination on site.  Both teams will address issues involving the quantity and type of equipment needed, as well as review the need for new team members.  2007 offers a new opportunity to improve the organization and implementation of Art Support!

Submitted by
Roger Ripps