As the population of Black Rock City increased in 2012, so did the number of placed art installations. We experienced a record number of art installations on the open playa in 2012 – a total of 360. By comparison, we had less than 300 art installations in 2010.Funding for art was also increased in 2012. Our art grant budget grew to about $700,000, allowing us to fund 44 artists. In addition, we increased the number of projects included in the Circle of Regional Effigies (CORE) surrounding the Man. Now in its second year, CORE grew from 22 installations to 34.
The Art Council had a major reboot in 2012, adding a new Artist Advocate, Technology Lead, and Art Support Services Manager. With the challenges created by the ticket situation, the new members of the Council really had to hit the ground running, and did a fantastic job.
Art Tours continue to progress in their professionalism and ability to showcase some of the most notable art installations on the open playa. For the second year in a row, Thursday’s “Meet the Artist” tour was broadcast on Burning Man Information Radio (BMIR) from one of the art tour vehicles. This allowed many Burners who were unable to make the playa this year the opportunity to learn more about the art from the comfort of their homes. We did hear feedback that they would like us to include more descriptive information, so they can better follow the information given on the tour. The Art Tour team will keep this in mind as they develop tour information for 2013.
For the first time ever, the Art Tour team had a plethora of art tour vehicles, which made it possible for everyone who wanted to take an art tour to do so. Securing mutant vehicles to help with the tours is one of the biggest challenges this team faces. It’s been a challenge enticing vehicles to meet at the ARTery in the early morning to do the tours. But thanks to improved communication with the Department of Motor Vehicles, every tour had a surplus of vehicles. We want to say a huge thank you to all the vehicles that donated their time and energy to make it happen!
Man Watch, the team entrusted with protecting the Man and the Man Pavilion, did a stellar job in 2012. The Man Pavilion had a beautiful 40-foot climbable art installation called the Pistil, constructed beneath the Man. Created by Gregg Fleishmann, Lightning Clearwater and Syn (the artists behind Otic Oasis), this beautiful installation allowed participants the unique opportunity to scale wooden pods that stretched up towards the base of the Man’s feet. While the structure was designed to hold more participants than could physically occupy the space, the Man Watch team had the challenging responsibility to make sure not too many folks were climbing at the same time – or trying to jump off of the Pistil onto the Man Pavilion itself. While the structure withheld the tens of thousands of hearty souls who climbed it over the six days it was available, the nerves of many of the Man Watch folks probably didn’t fare quite as well. We thank them for all their hard work in making sure participants got a chance to enjoy the Man Pavilion in a way never before offered.