2007 was a challenging, but successful year for the ARTery. Building off of 2006, the ARTery was able to continue its strategy of cross-training the staff on two key on-playa roles: Concierge and Field Ops. Many of the ARTery staff took the opportunity to learn how to help support artists on-playa. The ARTery continued to have a high number of returning volunteers, which aided in making the on-playa process run smoothly.
One challenge ventured to overtake the ARTery staff (as well as everyone at Burning Man): the weather. Due to the dust, it was difficult for the Field Ops team to locate GPS coordinates for each art project. However, the ARTery staff tenaciously took this on as a challenge. While several afternoons of thick white outs made it very difficult to help artists find their installation coordinates, the team was successful in locating each installation spot. Kudos to the Playa Restoration team for razing small playa dust dunes nearly as quickly as they developed, enabling the ARTery team to continue its efforts.
The ARTery location experienced an evolution in its design in 2007. The Burning Man organization helped plan for and construct a meeting space for the ARTery and PST staff. This space, located behind the main ARTery headquarters, enabled the team to meet and discuss process issues, artist status, and team activities.
The greeter table continued to be a hit, improving the flow of artists and participants through the HQ. Having a dedicated “welcome center” for the artists helped direct them to the appropriate space within the ARTery to check in or start them on the registration process.
The giant wall map for art placement was a major attraction and a boon for planning and communication. The map was placed to be as visible as possible from the concierge tables and to participants walking into our space. The map is the primary tool for the ARTerians in identifying positions for installations, as well as informing artists of their placement. It’s also a real-time informative guide, showing the art as it is placed across the playa, from the 3:00 plaza to the Man base to the trash fence.
Artist Resource Meetings
The ARTery council continued to grow and thrive. 2007 saw the birth of the artist resource meetings. These meetings, held at the Burning Man offices, brought together the grant artists to discuss their plans for how to accomplish their art project. The artists discussed and brainstormed ideas on how to best motivate and retain volunteers during the build process, particularly during the months leading up to the event. Other issues shared included transportation to the playa, maximizing resources while on site, and promotion of the installations both before and during the event. These meetings were well received, and will evolve in 2008 to include the Man base artists as well.
Another important function of the ARTery is as an outpost for Material Culture collection. Participants drop off artifacts of playa gift items at the ARTery during the event, or mail them to the office throughout the year. The ARTery helps maintain the physical archive at the San Francisco office, and the online photos of playa artifacts contains close to 1000 items. If you have playa artifacts gifted (or to be gifted) at the Burning Man event, please see the instructions on submitting photos to the online gallery, which can be found in the Playa Artifacts FAQ EDITOR. Objects may also be mailed to: Archives, PO Box 884688, San Francisco, CA, 94188.
In the eternal effort to educate artists about how to successfully create artwork for the playa (no small feat, that), the Art Installations and Art of Burning Man sections of the website were further updated in 2007. The pages were improved to better inform artists on procedures for building playa-proof art installations and structures, lighting artwork, burning artwork, and ensuring your art installations Leave No Trace.
A Greener World
All in all, 2007 was a chance for the Art team to show what it was made of, and the team pulled together to help create a phenomenal event.
Beth Scarborough, Lady Bee, Crimson Rose