The ARTery: Your Art Headquarters on Playa

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about this photo

The ARTery is the headquarters of the Burning Man Art Department on playa, located at 6:30 and Esplanade. It functions as a check-in center for artists, as well as a hub for information about art.

The mission of the Burning Man Art Department is to serve and defend artistic expression at Burning Man. The goal of the ARTery as an artist resource center is to facilitate the placement and installation of art on the playa during the Burning Man event.

What We Do

  • Review your art installation questionnaire and help you through the subsequent planning process.
  • Give you support and guidance at the event on how to best create, install, burn and clean up your creative vision.
  • Keep records on the art that has been and will be, so participants can be inspired again and again.
  • Promote community and art.

What We Don’t Do

  • We don’t tell you what you should create.
  • We don’t rate, rank or rankle your artwork.

Artist Registration

There’s a lot of year-round activity with the Burning Man Art Department. From February to May, we accept your art installation questionnaires, closely reviewing them, asking questions, giving advice and sometimes even documenting your project’s development. We also pre-place art; that is, we decide, with your input, where your installation will be located.

On-playa, we help you to accomplish some essential steps. These steps include having adequate light on your artwork at night, helping you understand the precautions you must have to create safe fire art, and determining a cleanup plan to Leave No Trace.

Some artists like to be placed on the bustling Esplanade, while others prefer the serenity of the deep playa. Some people aren’t familiar with the issues of safe night lighting or protecting their art against damage and vandalism. The Art Department staff guide you through these choices and explain why guidelines are in place so they work better for all participants in Black Rock City.

Once an artist has been fully registered, we escort them to their installation location. The Art Department liaises with other Burning Man departments, including DPW and Heavy Equipment and Transportation (HEaT), to assist with artists’ needs. You see us again at the end of the event when we inspect your area for MOOP and burn scars… but otherwise we try not to bother you except to say thanks and wow.

Services for Participants

The ARTery space on the Esplanade is constantly filled with artists and other visitors. Some simply enjoy the lively atmosphere and chill out in our shade structure. Other folks want to learn more about the art installations and explore the opportunities for Art Discovery. For this purpose, one wall of our shade structure has a large map of the open playa, which shows where the art installations are located. You can also find information about burning artworks at the FAST desk. ARTerian volunteers offer a limited number of guided tours of the art installations and we also have printed self-tour guides that you can take with you. And, if you’re eager to hear more about this year’s art straight from the artists’ mouths, you can check out Art Speaks programming where you can ask your questions and hear engaging stories.  

Teams Within the ARTery


ARTerians staff the artist resource center that facilitates the placement and display of art on the playa during the Burning Man event. Every registered artist at Burning Man, no matter how big or small the project, will interact with the ARTerians when they check-in and get placed.

What ARTerians Do

  • Support and guide artists at the event 
  • Promote community and art
  • Offer a range of Art Discovery experiences, from bike tours to self-guided art tours to artist talks
  • Provide opportunities for artist appreciationOn-playa, artist registration begins and ends with the ARTerians.  This team of volunteers helps artists understand and accomplish some essential steps, such as adequately lighting their artwork at night, protecting their art against theft,, and confirming a Leave No Trace (LNT) cleanup plan. Once an artist has been fully registered, ARTerians escort them to their install location. The Art Discovery Program is part of the ARTerian team and they offer a wide range of experiences for participants to interact with and explore the art. 

Art Support Services (ASS)

Art Support Services (ASS) works with artists to help them realize their vision for their art projects on the playa. Serving as a helpful liaison with other Burning Man departments such as Heavy Equipment (HEaT), WaterWorks, DPW and Petrol, ASS helps artists streamline the process of installing art, with the aim of making it as safe as possible.

Pre-playa, ASS communicates with artists to assess their resource needs and the safety of their large, interactive artworks. On-playa, the ASS team relays artists’ service requests and tracks all provided Burning Man services as they relate to art project implementation, installation and clean up — from initial point of contact through final check-out.

ASS can be found at the “ASS Central” desk at the ARTery.

Fire Art Safety Team (FAST)

The Fire Art Safety Team (FAST) is there to assist artists in creating and exhibiting fire art safely. Made up of fire safety personnel and industry professionals, FAST provides experienced support, assisting artists in the safe execution of open fire, flame effects, and/or pyrotechnics in art installations, theme camps and mutant vehicles. FAST inspects artworks incorporating fire and issues the appropriate Burn License(s) once the artwork has been approved.

There are two kinds of FAST personnel: 1) FAST Artist Liaisons work with artists and fire safety liaisons during the pre-event evaluation process, and 2) FAST Leads oversee any burns and/or pyrotechnic shows at the event.

Eyes on Art (EoA)

The Eyes on Art (EoA) team surveys art installations across the open playa and identifies potential safety issues with art projects, unlit construction sites, and exposed rebar. Eyes on Art maintains a real-time, radio-dispatched response team that spends each night of build week and the event until 4AM checking different areas and installations for problems.

As a safety team within the Art Department, EoA’s mission is to patrol the playa starting build week and throughout the event looking for dark, dangerous, damaged and/or unregistered art. EoA focuses their efforts on educating and reinforcing the guidelines for creating safe art on playa. With a particular emphasis on sharing best practices for lighting your art installation safely, they strive to keep art, and the people experiencing the art, safe.

EoA coordinates with many of Black Rock City’s teams including Art Support Services (ASS), Fire Art Safety Team (FAST), Black Rock Rangers, Department of Public Works (DPW), and Heavy Equipment and Transport (HEaT).

ARTery Operations

Members of the ARTery Operations Team are responsible for coordinating and maintaining all aspects of the physical ARTery space. 

The ARTery Ops team is our behind-the-scenes, get-things-done, build and problem-solve, and create-order-from-chaos people. 

Interested in joining us? Learn more here.