Fiscal Sponsorship

What is fiscal sponsorship?

Fiscal sponsorship is an activity by which a public charity facilitates tax-deductible donations to a project by providing some oversight of projects that serve a public benefit but do not have their own non-profit status. Fiscal sponsorship allows projects to receive tax deductible contributions that an independent project might not otherwise be able to receive.

What is Burning Man’s History with fiscal sponsorship?

Burning Man Project inherited the program from the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) in 2015. In 2014, BRAF started offering fiscal sponsorship to projects that had received an Honoraria grant from Black Rock City, LLC to bring art to the Burning Man event. When Burning Man Project merged with BRAF, Burning Man Project continued to support the program. Since 2015, Burning Man Project invested in capacity building around this program. From 2015 – 2018 Burning Man sponsored 71 projects, which raised a combined total of $872k using the program over the four year period. At the end of 2018, after reviewing the national landscape of fiscal sponsors and its own ability to provide an impactful and sustainable service to the community, Burning Man decided to roll back the program in favor of refocusing its capacity in other program areas. We will only offer fiscal sponsorship in a few select cases.

May I apply for Fiscal Sponsorship with Burning Man?

Burning Man Project no longer offers this as a standard program, if you think you may qualify for an exception please email fiscalsponsorship@burningman.org.

Does Burning Man still sponsor project or organizations?

On rare occasions, Burning Man may continue to offer or engage in a new fiscal sponsorship agreement with a mission aligned project or organization.

If you have any outstanding fiscal sponsorship needs, please refer to the two resources linked below and/or send an email to fiscalsponsorship@burningman.org.

More information:

National Network of Fiscal Sponsors

Fiscal Sponsorship Directory

Black Rock Arts Foundation

BRAF-Logo-blackThe Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) was founded by several of the partners who founded and produce Burning Man, with the mission to support and promote community, interactive art and civic participation.

The foundation received its 501(c)3 status in November of 2001. In 2014, BRAF joined with Black Rock City’s Art Department to create Burning Man Arts, dedicated to facilitating art everywhere around the world, including Black Rock City.

In 2014, BRAF joined with Black Rock City’s Art Department to create Burning Man Arts, dedicated to facilitating art everywhere around the world, including Black Rock City.

Black Rock City has created a unique venue for art, and has rekindled one of art’s most valuable functions: connecting community members in creation, curiosity, and wonderment. At Burning Man, we observe how art brings people together, inspires participation and engenders meaningful connections between individuals. The art experienced at Burning Man invites individuals to interact with both the work itself and with their community at large.

BRAF was established to bring this modality of creating and coexisting with art to the rest of the world, with the vision that community-driven, inclusive, and interactive art is vital to a thriving culture. Through its Grants to Artists and Civic Arts Program, BRAF has worked with communities around the world to collaboratively produce innovative, relevant and pioneering works of public art that build community and empower individuals — and it will continue to do so as part of Burning Man Arts.

Black Rock Arts Foundation Founders

Harley DuBois
Marian Goodell
Larry Harvey
Will Roger
Crimson Rose

Black Rock Arts Foundation Board Members

Dave Aiazzi
Christopher Bently
Amber Marie Bently
David Best
Tracy Ericson Burton
Rachel Carpenter
Christian ‘Dicky’ Davies
Breanna DeGeere
Harley DuBois
Marian Goodell
Terry Gross
Freddy Hahne
Larry Harvey
Mark Higbie
Robin Hyerstay
Drea Lester
Phil Linhares
Nick Morgan
John Mueller
JoAnne Northrup
Joe Olivier
Christina Pettigrew
Rae Richman
Will Roger
Crimson Rose
Alix Rosenthal
Mark Sinclair
Jeremy Sugerman
Warren Trezevant
Mark Van Proyen

Black Rock Arts Foundation Staff

Melissa Alexander
Jessica “Nurse” Bobier
Kristin Hale Chamblee
Joe Meschede
Tomas McCabe
Eli Peterson
Leslie Pritchett
Josie Schimke

Black Rock Arts Foundation Advisory Board Members

Melissa Alexander
Rebecca Anders
Darius Anderson
John Perry Barlow
Melissa Barron
Brian Batsuba
Christopher Bently
Susan Bernosky
David Best
Jessica Bobier
Loren Carpenter
Zachary Coffin
Bill Codding
Jeremy Crandell
David Martin Darst
Erik Davis
Carmel Dunlap
Alan Eyzaguirre
Peter Durand
Linda Gass
Marian Goodell
Justin Gunn
Dana Harrison
Jack Haye
Mark Higbie
Peter Hudson
Dorka Keehn
David Koren
Laura Kimpton
Alexander Lloyd
Phil Linhares
Carmen Mauk
Affinity Mingle
Kay Morrison
Nabiel Musleh
Geoffrey Nelson
Peter Norton
Joe Olivier
Chris Paine
Maria Partridge
Mark Pincus
Bob Pittman
Jennifer Raiser
Kate Raudenbush
Rae Richman
Maureen Ryan
Peter Schurman
David Silverman
Aaron Sosnic
Jane Sullivan
Jack Sylvan
Mark Van Proyen
Leo Villereal
Kurt Wallace Martin
Mike Wilson
Deborah Windham
Ann Wolfe

Black Rock City Honoraria Program

This grant program is expected to next be open for applications in the Fall of 2021 for the 2022 Burning Man event.

RadiaLumia by FoldHaus Collective (Photo by Eleanor Preger)
Every year Burning Man Arts issues a small number of grants for the purpose of partially funding specific art projects for installation on the open playa at the Burning Man event in Black Rock City. We look for work that stands on its own as physical, sculptural installation, independent of performances or activities, although these may accompany the installation.
If you’re interested in applying for funding for an art installation bound for the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City, you must first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI).

It’s important to know that making artwork for Burning Man is very challenging, due to the difficulties inherent in creating anything in a harsh wilderness setting with unpredictable weather, high winds, and lots of playa dust. You’re definitely going to want to know what you’re getting into (and for this reason, we recommend that you attend Burning Man once before applying for funding). Read up on what it takes to attend, and make art for Burning Man here:

Being a Black Rock City Honorarium artist requires a significant time investment, including several mandatory meetings and the ability to adhere to firm deadlines. Please thoroughly read What to Expect before submitting a Letter of Intent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are your criteria for awarding grants?

A. Our criteria include:

  • Interactivity with participants and the environment. Interactive art is our particular obsession. Interactive work convenes society around itself. It generates roles. It provokes actions. It directs attention to the surrounding world. It transforms participants into active contributors to your creative process. It transcends the static conception of an art object that is contemplated by a detached audience. A truly interactive piece is completed by participants’ engagement with it.
    Interaction may be achieved in a variety of ways. Sometimes, the mere act of encountering is sufficient, as in the case of work spread out within a special field of space that participants explore. Artwork may impart a gift or token. Likewise, works may be designed to receive something from people. Works may be activated by participants or by forces of nature, or they may function as social environments. Many times, when art is placed within the intensely interactive environment of Black Rock City, participants will invent unexpected forms of interaction, and you should be prepared for this.
    There will always be a place and time within the sphere of art for the perfect object– something so astonishing in itself that the simple act of contemplation is reward enough– and this, in a way, defines the essential nature and value of art. However, with planning, we have found nearly any form of conventional art can be engendered with an interactive aspect.
  • Visual appeal. The installation needs to be an artwork in and of itself. While we value interactivity, we also value beauty and visual impact. If you are proposing to install an interactive concept or activity that will be housed within a larger structure, the structure itself must be visually appealing as well.
  • The impact of your art. We want as many participants to see and enjoy your art as possible. This does not mean we only fund large art–in fact, we seek to fund a full range of complexity and creative expression–but we do select installations that can have a large impact. We prefer to fund installations that allow many people at a time to interact.
  • The thoroughness of your proposal. We will not review or consider proposals that are not complete (e.g. they do not contain all the requested information). If you don’t include a detailed budget, or a construction schedule, or descriptive images, it is difficult for the grant committee to fully consider your project.
Q. What kind of art do you fund?

A. The following types of art are eligible for an honorarium grant:

  • Sculptural 3-D artwork
  • We fund art related to the theme, and art not related to the theme.
  • Mobile art (sculptures that move and do not act as a mutant vehicle)
Q. What does not get funded?

A. The following will not receive an honorarium art grant:

  • Performances, activities or workshops
  • DJs and amplified sound
  • Domes, tents, teepees, stages or other prefabricated commercial structures
  • Murals
  • Mutant bikes
  • Mutant vehicles
  • Theme camps
  • Anything illegal in the state of Nevada or prohibited by federal law. While Burning Man is a private event, we are still governed by the laws of the state of Nevada and the event takes place on federal land.
Q. How many grants are awarded?

A. Approximately 70 projects per year receive an honorarium. Note that Burning Man does not have an art endowment, so nearly all of the art you will witness at Burning Man is entirely paid for by participants themselves. Most proposals submitted to us will not receive funding.
Q. When may I apply for a grant?

A. You must first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) if you’d like to apply for funding for an art installation at BRC. The LOI process for 2022 opens in the fall of 2021. There is a timeline available here.

Q. When will I know if I’ve been awarded a grant?

A. If you have submitted an LOI and are invited to submit a full proposal and then submit the full proposal, we will notify you by early March 2022. If you are awarded an honorarium we’ll ask that you not share the news widely until we release a public announcement several days later.
Q. If I receive an honorarium, how much will I receive?

A. This varies with particular projects. However, grants normally pay for only a portion of production costs. Artists should be ready to seek out and show proof of other methods and sources of funding. As a matter of policy, we also prefer that you develop various kinds of non-monetary or in-kind resources to help support your project. We believe that such an effort on your part encourages collaboration and cooperation within our extended community.
Q. How much money should I ask for?

A. Our annual budget for art on playa, including the Temple Grant, is $1.3 million. We typically fund approximately 70 honoraria art projects. Grants over $20,000 are rare. Due to the number of proposals we receive we are not able to negotiate potential changes for each application.

The full proposal form includes a link to a Budget Template which will help you calculate and articulate all the possible costs of creating your project, as well as provide you with a clear understanding of which expenses are eligible for Honoraria funding.

We strongly recommend that you request partial funding, since Burning Man typically funds 40-60% of the total budget. You’ll have an opportunity on the application to specify the amount. For example: tell us that your project will cost $40K and that you’re asking us for $20K, and that you’ll fundraise the balance. Another option is to provide budget tiers on the full proposal, for example, a small, medium and large version of your project at corresponding prices. Please be clear what each tier would include.

Q. What expenses are eligible for funding?

A. The Budget Template we provide explicitly lists which expense categories are eligible and ineligible. For quick reference, here are some general expense categories and their eligibility:

ELIGIBLE:

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

INELIGIBLE:

  • Burning Man tickets
  • Artist and crew flights/transportation
  • Crew food
  • Camp supplies
  • Artist fees
  • Ground anchors (we 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. Should I include the cost for tickets and fuel for my flame effects and generators in my proposal?

A. If awarded a grant, we will provide tickets for you and your core crew to attend the event. We’ll work closely with you to identify how many are needed. There is no need for you to include ticket costs in your grant proposal. It’s very important that you include the estimated cost for fuel for any flame effects or generators used as a part of your installation. The estimated number of gallons for these items should be part of your proposed budget. Please use cost estimates for fuel that relate to rates normally experienced in the time of year that Burning Man occurs – for instance, the cost of gasoline typically increases in the month of August.

Note that there is not a power grid available for honoraria artists to use; you must supply your own power source.

Q. When and how will I receive money?

A. This will vary slightly from project to project; a separate payment schedule is developed for each artist. You will be asked to sign a contract prior to receiving any funding. In general, artists receive an initial payment of 55% of the total award within 2 weeks of signing the contract, and a second payment of 30% of the grant 30 days after the first payment. We withhold a performance deposit (typically 15%) from your grant until after the event to ensure that you comply with Leave No Trace and to serve as a credit account to cover the cost of any resources you may purchase on playa such as water or fuel. Note that the funds you receive for your honorarium are taxable and require a 1099 tax form that we will provide to you. 
Q. Who is responsible for keeping my installation safe?

A. Burning Man believes strongly in radical self-reliance; it’s one of our Ten Principles. Ensuring your artwork does not physically harm anyone is a key responsibility of the artist. Rangers are on playa to help participants, not guard art, so it’s important that the artist creates safeguards for maintaining their art.
Q. Would I need to buy insurance for my art installation?
 A. Burning Man does not require insurance. However, some artists have sought to obtain insurance to cover their work on playa. We do not yet have any information about what might be available for the upcoming event cycle and we will notify you if we become aware of relevant opportunities. 
Q. I’d love to have my art installation in my camp and get an honorarium for it. Is that possible?

A. No. We fund art that is placed on the open playa, so as many citizens of Black Rock City can enjoy it as possible.
Q. What other benefits or help can I receive from Burning Man?

A. Aside from the essential spiritual satisfaction gained from creating your work, as well as showing it and sharing it with tens of thousands of very enthusiastic people, Burning Man can also furnish you with other opportunities. We are willing to provide you with support materials if you wish to approach outside agencies or suppliers for assistance. Installations, funded or not, will be featured on our website and in our Black Rock City gate handout, the WhatWhereWhen guide.

Q. Should I take pictures of my artwork?

A. Yes! At the event, hundreds of photographers, amateur and professional, may also photograph your work. These appear in our Image Gallery and in the art listings on our website. Burning Man is also covered by an international array of media. Burning Man Arts and the staff at Media Mecca help connect these journalists with artists.
Q. Can I do art sales on playa?

A. Burning Man is a fertile meeting ground for artists and patrons of the arts. Although vending is strictly disallowed at the event, artists at Burning Man are free to encounter potential clients for their work in an environment free of agents, dealers or any of the other professional intermediaries who normally interpose themselves in the creative process. Burning Man is a radically unmediated environment and can yield unique opportunities.
Q. How does my art get placed on playa? How do I find my location?

A. We work with artists to identify where ideally their art installation should be placed on the open playa. We strive to support the artist’s goals and place their artwork where it best serves their artistic vision, while also taking into consideration the landscape and the full experience of participants. Ultimately placement is at the discretion of the Art Department. Once you arrive on playa, our volunteer staff will let you know your placement and take you to its assigned location. 
Q. Does Burning Man provide heavy machinery I can use?

A. Although we prefer that you remain completely self-sufficient, our Art Support Services team can assist you with heavy equipment if needed. All requests for this support should be included in your proposal. 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. What is the process for applying for a grant?

A. The first step is to submit a Letter of Intent. For the 2020 grant cycle, the LOI opens on October 15, 2019 and submissions are due on November 14 at 5pm Pacific time. LOI notifications will be sent on December 17, 2019 and selected applicants have until January 22 to submit a full proposal. Late submissions, or submissions that have not gone through the LOI process, will not be considered. We will only review one version of a proposal, so make sure it’s your final version and that it includes all the required information. If you have more than one concept you’d like us to consider, you are welcome to submit more than one LOI, and then potentially submit more than one art grant proposal if your LOIs are accepted.
Q: Where can I find a full list of the questions on the LOI and full proposal, to understand what's required in the application?

A: Please visit How to Submit an LOI to find a link to the preview of the questions on the Letter of Intent. A preview of the full proposal is available as well. Please note that we cannot accept any grant applications via email or in PDF format; you must submit first submit an LOI via Burner Profiles and, if accepted, then submit your grant application via the link you were sent in your LOI acceptance email.

If you are interested in applying for a grant, see our Letter of Intent submission guidelines.

Civic Arts Program

The Civic Arts Program is Burning Man Project’s engine for generating more engaged citizenship, more livable communities, and more participatory art in public spaces around the world. It’s the way we share a crucial idea we first learned in Black Rock City: There is no line between artistry and citizenship.

The Dreamer by Pepe Ozan in Golden Gate Park, 2007 (Photo by Melitta Tchaicovsky)

Civic Arts takes the metaphor of Black Rock City — a temporary, experimental redesign of city life that inspires us and gives us practice sharing tools, lessons and possibilities — and applies it to stimulate new projects and partnerships to try to make more places like that.

We work to generate opportunities for people to connect with the spirit of their aspirations for the places where they live, cultivating there the same sense in which we refer to Black Rock City as “home”.

This section contains detailed information on all Burning Man Civic Arts projects.

Current and Recent Projects

The Temple at Patricia’s Green by David Best, San Francisco, 2015 (photo by Gareth Gooch)

 

More About the Program

Burning Man Project, a nonprofit organization, is best known for its annual event in Black Rock City, where over 30 years of community-engaged experience has led to remarkable capabilities in collective art processes, increased connectivity through creative interventions in public space, and a self-reliant and ingenuity-based culture. That work, incubated in Black Rock City, is spreading worldwide, suggesting many possibilities for creating inviting civic spaces that enhance livability.

In 2005, the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) initiated the Civic Arts Program as new model for public art placement. It was born when Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Arts Commission encouraged BRAF to collaborate with the San Francisco’s Hayes Valley community and artist David Best to create an interactive Temple in the mode of the ones Best created at Burning Man. The Hayes Valley Temple quickly became a cherished focal point for the community, providing a beautiful space that inspired connection, dialog and civic pride. The Temple became our model of how artists, city officials and community members can collaborate to create meaningful public art work — art that addresses the specific needs of, reflects the unique character of, and serves a connective function for the community. BRAF became a program of Burning Man Project in 2014.

Since then, Burning Man Civic Arts projects and collaborations have blossomed into the many projects you’ll find in this section, and there are exciting new projects in the works.

Burning Man Arts

Through art grants, mentorship, and art management programs, Burning Man Arts supports the creation of impactful, interactive artwork around the world and in Black Rock City, home to the seminal Burning Man event. The mission of Burning Man Arts is to change the paradigm of art from a commodified object to an interactive, participatory, shared experience of creative expression.

Burning Man Arts acts on the belief that community-driven, inclusive and interactive art is vital to a thriving culture. Get inspired and get involved!

In 2014, The Black Rock Arts Foundation — which has been generating and promoting community, interactive art and civic participation beyond Black Rock City since 2001 — joined with Black Rock City’s Art Department to form Burning Man Arts.