Where would Black Rock City be without art? Burning Man art is inevitably provocative, silly, and profound, always making for a wild ride in the desert we call home. The Burning Man art department works with many others to facilitate and support the creative efforts of the talented artists in our community.

The art of Black Rock City has become a genre in its own right, where playing, climbing, testing the strength of construction (as well as creative visions) has become the norm in this desert gallery.

The ARTery is the Burning Man Art Department’s headquarters for processing art on the playa. The ARTery team works year round to anticipate all the challenges that go into creating art in a hostile environment, and to make the project registration process as smooth as possible. New teams were created under the guise of the ARTery in 2008, including the Man Watch and Eyes on Art crews who kept an eye out for potentially hazardous situations with art installations.

Art Support is the art department’s liaison to DPW Support Services coordinating heavy machinery for artists who need a crane, fork lifts, trenchers and cherry pickers, making large-scale art possible.

The Performance Safety Team (PST) once again worked to ensure that artists who work with fire do so safely, whether it be Open Fire, Flame Effects or Pyrotechnics. 2008 saw more fire than ever before. Pre-event conversations between the team and fire artists prepared and set expectations on both sides, contributing to the most successful burning of art at Burning Man yet.

In 2008, The Man was constructed atop its tallest pedestal ever, a 90’-high obelisk bedecked with flags of all nations, featuring a climbable spiral staircase and several viewing decks. This marvel of engineering and construction is testament to the energy and commitment of the crews who work through the year to design and build this centerpiece of our collective community.

The Fire Conclave remains the largest group of fire performers and support staff ever to assemble in one place at once. For the first time, weather kept the conclave from performing before the Burn.

The Special Events Team keeps the fires burning the other 51 weeks of the year, as it essentially acts as the San Francisco Bay Area’s own regional group. As long as there are Burners in the Bay Area, they will create those special gatherings that make this a vibrant place for our community.

Submitted by,
Beth Scarborough