Art Support Services progressed in 2005, its third year. Significant changes were implemented through the organizational efforts of the Heavy Machinery manager of the Department of Public Works (DPW). This team’s central mission involves monitoring art funded by honoraria from the Burning Man Project, beginning with the initial proposal through to funding, pre-playa development and construction, arrival on the playa, erection and completion on-site, through teardown and removal of every trace from the playa at the end of the event. The team expanded its mission mildly this year to include other nonfunded, large-scale art projects in an effort to promote artist participation in Black Rock City.
Within the larger focus of the Art Department, Art Support Services applies resources specifically to aid artists in achieving their creative visions. Art Support tracks heavy machinery labor hours, equipment usage, transportation needs, and clean-up efforts for the purpose of providing information back to artists about the true cost of their artwork and to Burning Man staff for department budgets. For more information, see the 2004 Afterburn Report
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). While major improvements were made to the on-site support of artists, challenges remain in quantifying this activity for next year. Tracking the equipment used and labor involved continues to be a high priority for 2006. The addition of team members will be reviewed with an eye toward increasing staffing during the last 4 days of the event when most of the team is well worn.
Growth happens. The 2005 event gave Art Support increased opportunities to work with artists doing large-scale art. The Heavy Machinery manager for DPW took on responsibility for carving out Art Support Services resources to improve access, tracking, and management on site in Black Rock City. The efforts to track artists’ activities begin as early as February. Heavy Machinery begins contacts with specific artists who require extensive logistical coordination on site. The next round of artists offer new challenges. The team will address issues involving the quantity and type of equipment needed, as well as reviewing the needs for new team members.