Artists’ Symposium

  • Date and Time: May 03 - May 03, 2015 @ 10:00am - 9:00pm
  • Format: Panel
  • Location:
    Fort Mason Center
    2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123 (directions at
  • Cost: $20
  • Tickets: Buy tickets or RSVP

Burning Man Arts Presents: The Artists’ Symposium and Desert Arts Preview

Burning Man Arts is pleased to invite our community’s artists to an all-day Artists’ Symposium. In the spirit of community engagement, we’ve created this fun and informative event as a follow-up of last Fall’s Artist Forum. The event will be a catalyst for sharing knowledge and connecting around mutual goals and needs. The veteran artists of our community hold a wealth of knowledge and experience: possibly the most valuable resource of all to other artists, and one that has been inadequately tapped until now.

While this event is intended exclusively for artists, the content of the Symposium will be available online for the general public to enjoy after the event.

During the day, there will be scheduled forums and working meetings where we’ll discuss the needs and goals of your projects. We’ll begin the evening with a salon event, where you’ll connect with other artists and arts supporters in our community. After that, we’ll open the doors to the public for the much-loved and greatly anticipated annual artists’ lecture, the Desert Arts Preview.

At the symposium, you’ll have the chance to:

  • Meet and network with other artists; learn best practices.
  • Pick the expert brains of the Artists Support Services staff. Ask us detailed questions about fire, heavy equipment, on-playa services, etc.
  • Meet 2015 Black Rock City Honoraria and Burning Man Global Art Grantees.

At the Desert Arts Preview, you will:

  • See presentations of works in progress for Burning Man 2015 to the general public, potential volunteers and supporters.

The $20 ticket cost registers you for the full day event, including a catered dinner which will be provided at the end of the Artist Symposium, before the Desert Arts Preview.

We will be video recording  the sessions, and archiving video for your viewing and educational pleasure.

It’s a whole weekend of art! In addition to the Symposium and Desert Arts Preview, you’ll also be right next door to the Art Market, the Bay Area’s premier contemporary and modern art fair, and to stARTup Art Fair, independently produced contemporary art fair for unrepresented artists. If you’re in town for the weekend, be sure to hit these events on Saturday, before you attend the Symposium on Sunday. Visit their websites to purchase tickets.


Time Topic
10:00 am – 10:45 am Welcome Remarks.

  • Tomas McCabe, Crimson Rose, and Elizabeth Scarborough
10:45 am – 12:00 pm The Art Lifecycle: Case studies in collaboration, installation, and long-term planning.

  • Moderater: Stuart Mangrum
  • Team Building
    • Presenter: Catie McGee (Artist, Flux Foundation)
  • Build Week
    • Presenter: Zach Coffin (Artist)
  • Burn
    • Presenter: Dave X (Burning Man Arts)
  • Beyond the Playa
    • Presenter: Kate Raudenbush (Artist)
12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Lunch: Enjoy the many food vendors at the nearby farmer’s market
1:30 pm – 1:45 pm “Yes Bob” with Tomas McCabe & Stuart Mangrum
“Choose Your Own Adventure” Concurrent Workshops and Artery Tradeshow
1:45 pm – 4:00 pm Ask the experts about your playa-specific needs!

  • Build It : Art Support Services / Heavy Equipment.
  • Power It: Electrical / Solar Resources
  • Burn It: Fire Art Safety, Fuel & Pyro
    • Presenter: Dave X (Burning Man Arts)
1:45 pm – 2:45 pm Workshop 1: Project Management Basics

  • Moderator: Melissa Alexander (Exploratorium)
  • Team Leads
    • Presenter: Jess Hobbs (Artist, Flux Foundation)
  • Volunteer Management
    • Presenter: Pouneh Mortazavi (Artist, Flaming Lotus Girls)
  • Logistics
    • Presenter: Cathryn Blum (Project Manager for Peter Hudson)
1:45 pm – 2:45 pm Workshop 2: Fundraising Basics

  • Moderator: Rae Richman (Philanthropy Advisor)
  • Creative Fundraising
    • Presenter: Julia Whitelaw (Fundraiser)
  • Grant Seeking
    • Presenter: Josie Schimke (Burning Man Arts)
  • Crowdsource Fundraising
    • Presenter: Alisa Cordesius (Indiegogo)
  • To Schwag or not Schwag
    • Presenter: Melissa Barron (Artist)
2:45 pm – 3:15 pm Break
3:15 pm – 4:15 pm Workshop 3: Engineering Basics. Learn how to create safe and sturdy art.

  • Moderator: Jonathan Knowles (Director of Strategic Initiatives, Autodesk)
  • Design and Stuff
    • John “Parts” Taylor (Artist, Lumigeeks)
  • Electrical & Lighting
    • Presenter: Joejoe Martin (Artist)
  • Structural Requirements
    • Presenter: Eric Kneer (Engineer, Holmes Culley)
  • Climbing Considerations
    • Presenter: Zach Coffin (Artist)
3:15 pm – 4:15 pm Workshop 4: Your Art in Public Places: Getting Your Work Funded and Placed Off-Playa

  • Moderator: JD Beltran (President of the Board of the San Francisco Art Commission, Art Institute of San Francisco)
  • Navigating Civic Bureaucracies
    • Presenter: David Shulman (Artist, 5 Ton Crane; CFO Digital Obscura)
  • Community Engagement in Public Spaces
    • Presenter: Maria Jensen (SFMOMA)
  • Delivering the Perfect Pitch!
    • Presenter: Kate Raudenbush (Artist)
  • Representation Modalities
    • Presenter: Laura Kimpton (Artist)
4:15 pm – 4:30 pm Closing Remarks
4:30 pm – 5:30 pm Dinner & Cocktail Hour
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Desert Arts Preview
8:00 pm – 9:00 pm After Party!