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 which will allow the Grant Committee to select which projects will be invited submit a full proposal. 

To apply for a 2020 BRC Honorarium, please make sure you’ve read about the Black Rock City Honoraria program, check out the LOI Instructions and FAQ below, and then submit a Letter of Intent via Burner Profiles. It’s mandatory that you submit your LOI through our online process; we will not accept applications via email or mail.

Preview of the Letter of Intent Questions

All of the questions on the 2020 BRC Honoraria LOI form are available in a preview document; you can create your own copy of the preview document to draft your responses before entering them in the online form.

2020 Timeline

  • October 15, 2019 at noon Pacific Time: online LOI application for our 2020 grant cycle opens
  • November 14, 2019 at 5pm Pacific Time: deadline for LOI submissions
  • December 17, 2019: notification
  • January 15, 2020 at 5pm Pacific Time: deadline for full proposals (accepted by invitation only)
  • Late February: selected grantees are notified

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why does Burning Man Arts use 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, before instituting the LOI process, we would receive applications each year that didn’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 the time on a full proposal.
Q. When is the deadline to submit an LOI?

A. The last day you may submit an LOI is November 14, 2019 at 5:00 pm PST. Note that late LOIs are not accepted. No exceptions. 
Q. Who can submit an LOI?

A.

  • Individuals, artist collectives or groups, and established 501(c)(3) organizations are all eligible and welcome to apply.
  • 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.
  • We recommend that you attend Burning Man at least once before applying, but it’s not required; we do fund some artists who have not yet been to Black Rock City.

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 for you to bring your art to Burning Man! Please check back in the spring to fill out the Art Installation Questionnaire, which will be open from late February through early June.
Q. May I submit more than one Letter of Intent?

A. Yes! Our application system allows you to submit multiple LOIs if you have more than one project you are interested in proposing.
Q. Do I need to have a Burner Profile to submit an LOI?

A. Yes. Our art grant application portal is accessed through Burner Profiles. This allows you to have a secure record of all the drafted and submitted applications you’ve created. If you don’t already have a Burner Profile, from the landing page please click “Login” and you’ll be brought to an option to register for a new account. 
Q. I have a technical question or a problem with the form. Can you help?

A. Please use the Contact Us function in Burner Profiles, and select Art Grant Application Support from the drop-down menu.
If you’re experiencing an error, it’s helpful to let us know what browser (Safari, Chrome, etc.) and operating system (Mac, Windows) you are using.
Please note that the Burning Man office will be closed from December 24 through January 1 and we may be unable to respond to inquiries at that time.
Q. What are the technical requirements for submitting an LOI? Can I submit it from my phone?

A. Unfortunately, we’re not set up for you to be able to submit via a mobile device, such as a phone or a tablet. Please use a computer and a recent version of a major web browser (we have tested the forms on recent versions of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Internet Explorer). You must have JavaScript enabled in your web browser. Usually, this is on by default. 
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. You may also submit a video in addition to an image. Your images can be as simple or complex as you need them to be; the goal is to help the Grant Committee fully understand your proposed concept. If you have a maquette, please submit a photo of it. We only accept physical maquettes at the full proposal stage.
Q. Can I start the LOI application and then come back to it later?

A. Yes. Once you log into your Burner Profile and start an application, after filling out the preliminary info about your project you will have an opportunity to Save & Continue. You’ll get an email with a unique link that will bring you back to your LOI where you left off so you can come back to your draft application anytime before the deadline to continue working on it. Note that incomplete or draft 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. Please read more about What to Expect if you Receive a BRC Honorarium. Specifically around the contract, we reviewed and revised our artist contract in 2014 with the creation of Burning Man Arts; you can read more about those 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 what level of funding to request.

A. Please estimate the amount it would take for you to realize your vision. If your project is scalable, you’ll have an opportunity to describe various levels of funding in the full grant proposal. Please read more about budgeting in the BRC Honoraria FAQ
Q. Can the expected budget change if/when we submit a full proposal?

A. We know concepts and budgets can evolve from inception to actual grant proposal, so we understand if there is a small change in funding request from the LOI to the full proposal however significant budget changes are not acceptable. You will be asked to provide a detailed budget in the full art grant application and we have an optional budget template that can help you fully articulate your expenses.
Q. Who will review the LOIs?

A. We have an art grant committee that has a long history of being involved with Burning Man’s annual grant cycles and award processes. This committee has extensive personal experience in creating and managing art on playa.
Q. What percentage of LOIs will be invited to submit a full proposal?

A. In the 2019 grant cycle we received 677 LOIs and 340 completed a full proposal. We aren’t aiming for a certain percentage; our goal is to be able to support artists as best as possible while having 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 on Dec. 17 you will receive access to the online application form. The deadline for full proposals will be on January 21 at 5:00pm Pacific Time.
The full proposal application will be similar to the 2019 grant application, with minor revisions for 2020.
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 payment in April, with subsequent funding usually 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 500+ Letters of Intent and has funded about 70 projects per year.
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.org. Please note that the Burning Man office will be closed from December 24 through January 1 and we may be unable to respond to inquiries at that time.