Where would Black Rock City be without art? Burning Man art is inevitably provocative, silly, and profound … and it always makes 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.

Even in the face of an economic recession, artists from across the country and around the world created fantastic artworks for Black Rock City, many of which included interactive features found nowhere else on Earth, as well as areas of solitude and meditation, flame-erupting creatures, and even a giant slide. Creating art for Burning Man is a profound test of the human spirit and an artist’s skills – and this is at once its greatest challenge and highest reward.

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. The safety teams created in 2008, Eyes on Art and Man Watch, continued to monitor art installations on the open playa and the Man base, respectively.

Art Support is the Art Department’s liaison to DPW Support Services, coordinating heavy machinery for artists who need cranes, 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. While 2009 saw a small dip in the number of fire art installations, the team was kept busy as the number of flame effects on mutant vehicles continues to grow. After the event, the PST changed its name to Fire Art Safety Team (FAST).

The Fire Conclave remains the largest group of fire performers and support staff ever to assemble in one place at once, and their performance before the Burn made up for not having been able to do so in 2008.

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.