How to Submit a Temple Proposal

The application process for our 2024 grant cycle is CLOSED.

Before applying, please make sure you’ve read about the Black Rock City Temple Grant and check out the proposal instructions and FAQ below. It’s mandatory that you submit your proposal through our online process; we will not accept applications via email or mail.

Preview of Application Questions

All of the questions on the 2024 Temple Grant proposal form are available in a preview document.

2024 Temple Grant Program Timeline

  • September 26, 2023 at noon Pacific Time: the online application for the 2024 Temple Grant opens
  • October 3, 2023, 11am – 12:30pm Pacific Time: Temple Grant Q&A
  • November 16, 2023 at 5pm Pacific Time: deadline for submissions
  • Notifications will be sent to applicants by December 22, 2023.

Late or incomplete proposals will not be accepted.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who is eligible to submit an application to build the Temple in Black Rock City?
A. The Artist(s) of the Temple must have been to Black Rock City at least once and they must have participated in building something while there, preferably a relatively large or complex project. The environment and culture in BRC is unlike anywhere else on earth, and having build experience on playa will ensure greater success for the Temple artist and crew.

Q. How much money should I ask for?

Burning Man Project awards $100,000 for the Temple Grant. We understand that this is generally only a portion of the total project costs. It is important to think through your expenses; the application process includes an optional budget template that can serve as a guide (available below). Note that Temple artists are responsible for fundraising for all expenses beyond the grant funds.

Q. What expenses are eligible for funding?
A. When considering what expenses you would like to request funding for, please refer to the BRC Temple Grant Budget Template (available as a Google spreadsheet). While we only award funds for particular expense categories, all of your expenses can and should be considered a part of your total costs when calculating your budget and making your Temple plans and proposal.

Eligible for Grant Funding

  • Materials and supplies, including tools, consumables, hardware, fuel, and Leave No Trace supplies
  • Transportation of your materials and supplies to and from the playa
  • Specialty services such as welding, laser cutting, etc.
  • Build space rental

Ineligible for Grant Funding

  • Burning Man tickets (these are provided)
  • Artist and crew flights/transportation
  • Crew food
  • Camp supplies
  • Artist fees
  • Ground anchors (we can provide these, but you are required to provide hardware and cabling to secure your piece to the ground anchors for stability)
  • Post-event expenses such as storage
  • Legal expenses such as LLC formation or insurance

Q. Does Burning Man provide resources to the Temple team on-playa?
A. In addition to funding $100,000 of the project costs, the Temple team receives up to $15,000 of on-playa resources such as decomposed granite, potable water, fuel (dyed diesel, clear diesel, gasoline, propane, firewood), light towers, scissor lifts and porta-potties at the build site. We also provide the use of a 500-gallon potable water tank and a 250-gallon grey water tank plus pumping services for that tank. In addition, Burning Man Project may offer the use of a large solar shade structure capable of powering a moderate light design for the Temple. However, this is subject to additional requirements such as abstaining from using fuel-powered generators for the build on playa. These resources are unique to the Temple as a municipal structure and not transferable or typically available for regular Honoraria art projects. The Temple crew will also receive a placed art support camp after they submit the art support camp registration form through the Placement team.

Q. Does Burning Man provide heavy machinery I can use?
A. While we prefer that you are able to be as self-sufficient as possible, given the scale of the event and the Temple project our Art Support Services (ASS) and Heavy Equipment and Transport (HEaT) teams are available to assist with heavy equipment if needed. Typically this includes crane support, as well as other equipment such as VRs (telehandlers), scissor lifts, and boom lifts. Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly what equipment you might need; we work closely with artists to identify what equipment works best and what’s available.

Q. Would I need to buy insurance for the Temple project?
A. Burning Man Project does not require insurance. However, some artists have sought to obtain insurance to cover their work on playa. If your proposal is selected, we can connect you with previous Temple artists to learn how they managed this.

Q. How much time can I be on playa to build the Temple?
A. The Temple crew is allowed to build on-site for up to 15 days before the event begins. Please see Significant Dates on the What to Expect page for details.

Q. What Leave No Trace (LNT) activities am I responsible for at the temple site?
A. Leaving No Trace is one of the 10 Principles of Burning Man. Our community respects the environment and we are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave places in a better state than when we found them. Because Leaving No Trace is an integral value in our community, you will need to identify an LNT Lead and submit an LNT plan with your proposal. Please read this page for general information on LNT for Black Rock City artists before writing your LNT plan.

Q. What design features does Burning Man look for in a Temple proposal?
A. While we do like for each Temple to have its own unique characteristics, there are a few things that we look for in a successful proposal:

  • Visual appeal
  • Adequate niches or smaller spaces for participants to place small offerings
  • Protection from the elements at ground level so the wind doesn’t blow away offerings
  • A central gathering place, possibly with smaller alcoves for more private reflection
  • Multiple entrances/exits
  • While not required, we do suggest including some kind of fence, enclosure, or markings to keep bikes out, mutant vehicles at a distance, and to cue participants that they are entering a more reflective, quiet space than is found elsewhere in Black Rock City.
  • The Temple design should not be based on a particular religion, belief or theme as it’s meant to be inclusive for all Black Rock City citizens.
  • In the spirit of sustainability, we are especially interested in moderately scaled designs; bigger isn’t better.

Q. Are there materials I should NOT use for the structure of the temple?
A. While engineered and glue-laminated wood have excellent strength and may be useful in larger structures like the Temple, they are also designed to be fire-resistant. Through experience, we have found that these types of beams can often end up mostly unburned and can remain upright long after the rest of the materials have burned. The result can be the need to hold the perimeter for the time that it takes for the remaining unburned sections to be made safe. There may be a way that these can be used in limited horizontal runs but this should be discussed with the Fire Art Safety Team (FAST) Team early in your design work and before those designs are finalized.

Q. What materials are to be avoided in order to avoid excessive embers during the burning of the Temple?
A. Over the years we have found a short list of materials that when burned create excessive embers and floating burning materials. These loose sources of unintended ignition can cause issues for participants and mutant vehicles at the burn perimeter as well as nearby art projects.

Materials not to be burned due to embers include:

  • Fabric
  • Cardboard and Sonotube
  • Large sections of papier-mâché
  • Thin wood laminates
  • Plywood less than 5/8th” thick
  • OSB, chipboard, and particle-board

Q. What is it like to assemble a crew to build the Temple?
A. Building the Temple is a communal effort. Please anticipate that your Temple crew will not only be comprised of professional artists and builders, but also citizens of Black Rock City who have very limited previous building experience. One of Burning Man’s 10 Principles is radical inclusion; we welcome and respect the stranger. It is important to honor this principle when assembling your crew.

Q. What previous experience do I need to be selected to build the Temple?
A. The Lead Artist(s) of the Temple must have been to Black Rock City at least once and they must have participated in building something while there, preferably something relatively large or complex.

Q. Would my team be responsible for guarding the Temple during the event?
A. No, you would not be responsible for guarding the Temple during the event. Temple Guardians will be there around the clock to protect the Temple and those who visit it.

Q. Would I be responsible for burning the Temple too?
A. No, Burning Man’s in-house pyro team will make sure it burns quickly and evenly. This team will meet with you early in your planning to make sure the Temple is built in a way that can be burned and collapsed in a predictable and safe manor. Your help will be needed early Sunday to strike the non-burnables and help to place the additional firewood and or scrap.

Q. What is the process for applying for a Temple grant?
A. For the 2024 Temple grant cycle, the online application form to submit a proposal opens on September 26, 2023. The submission deadline is November 16, 2023 at 5:00pm Pacific Time. Proposals are submitted via Burner Profiles.

Q. What is the selection process?
A.The selection is made by an art grant committee that has a long history of being involved with Burning Man Arts’ annual grant cycles and award processes. This committee has extensive personal experience in creating and managing art on playa, particularly with the Temple.

We make our selection from the proposals that are submitted; most years we receive about a dozen applications. The committee reads and discusses every submission. We look for designs with strong visual appeal that meet the criteria and are able to be feasibly built in a short time frame. We appreciate proposals that include well-crafted images that give us a good idea of the proposed concept. And in the spirit of sustainability, we are especially interested in moderately scaled designs; bigger isn’t better.

Because we partner so closely with the lead artist, we’re especially interested in selecting someone whose values are aligned with our culture, who possesses a balance of leadership skills and humility, and who is motivated by offering a gift to the community. We check references and conduct interviews with a short list of finalists before making our decision.

Q. Where can I find a full list of the questions on the proposal, to understand what’s required in the application?
A. The 2024 Temple application questions are available in a preview document. We suggest that you make a copy of this preview doc, compose your response first in that separate document, and then copy and paste them into our form before submitting. Please note that we cannot accept any applications in other formats; all proposals must be submitted via our online application form.

Q. How do I send or hand deliver a maquette or small model of my project?
A. Due to a dispersed workforce and grant committee, we are no longer able to accept maquettes or small models via mail or hand delivery. If you build a maquette, you may submit an image or video of it as part of your grant application form.