As the Burning Man Project continues its efforts to grow and spread Burning Man culture around the world, the groups in our Cultural Network are the boots on the ground, making it happen. Each of them represents a demonstration of Burning Man’s principles, manifested in the real world.
The oldest of them, the Black Rock Arts Foundation, takes the gifting principle and combines it with art – arguably Burning Man’s cultural lifeblood – as they help fund community-based, interactive art around the world. This small non-profit works diligently year-round to raise funds to be awarded to deserving artists through its Grants to Artists, ScrapEden and Civic Arts Programs.
In another corner of the Burning Man headquarters you’ll find the offices of Black Rock Solar, Burning Man’s spin-off non-profit that works to provide no- or low-cost solar power to institutions in the Northern Nevada area who can’t otherwise afford it. From schools to hospitals to churches, clinics, museums and more, BRS has gifted over 1 million megawatts of solar power since its founding in 2007, and have added a valuable education component to its offering, training others to become licensed solar installers.
Burners Without Borders was formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and has since grown its reach to provide disaster relief in Haiti and Peru, as well as community improvement projects around the world. BWB facilitates a loosely-affiliated collection of grassroots volunteers who are interested in gifting their time and talents to help others, wherever help is needed – it’s civic responsibility, participation and communal effort in action.
Given the success these groups have seen, it’s safe to say there will be more of them added to the Cultural Network in the coming years, actualizing Burning Man’s principles in the real world.