Downtown Project

Revitalizing Las Vegas

Starting in 2012, Burning Man provided creative consulting to Downtown Project, partnering to bring vibrant, interactive art and culture to downtown Las Vegas in an urban revitalization program focused as much on arts and education as on entrepreneurship and small business growth.

Downtown Project, Las Vegas
Downtown Project, Las Vegas

Burning Man staff led a daylong design charrette to help Downtown Project strategize its participation in Las Vegas’s First Friday public art event, leading to more opportunities for interaction and connectedness among participants and strengthening the event’s civic-minded emphasis.

Burning Man also arranged for the YES (Youth Education Spacehip) project to land in Las Vegas, with placement in Downtown Project’s Learning Village and a commitment to educational programming.

Youth Education Spaceship (YES)

Burning Man worked closely with artist Dana Albany to bring the Y.E.S. project to life: a mobile spaceship classroom built from repurposed and found objects, designed and built together with kids from San Francisco’s Tenderloin and Hunters Point neighborhoods. This collaborative art program, which Burning Man co-sponsored along with the Exploratorium, Maker Faire, The Crucible and private donors, gives young people the time and space to create, participate, and then exhibit their work, while engaging children in hands-on experience focusing on art and technology.

Youth Education Spaceship at Maker Faire San Mateo
Youth Education Spaceship at Maker Faire San Mateo

During the course of three months, the children made model spaceships and created mosaic stars and imaginary planets out of recycled glass, mirror, tiles, and repurposed objects. Their work adorns the exterior of the spacecraft. At the Crucible, the kids learned how to make fused glass tiles and the art of glass sand-casting, which has been installed in the interior. During the formation of the spacecraft they were engaged in discussions about recycling, creative reuse, environmentalism, solar energy, LED lighting, photography, soundscape creation, robotics, space travel and astronomy.The result of this effort is an engaging, highly interactive mobile classroom for the teaching and learning of art and science.

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Black Rock Solar

Black Rock Solar is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that promotes environmental stewardship, economic development and energy independence by providing not-for-profit entities, tribes and underserved communities with access to clean energy, education, and job training.

tile-culture-civic-brsBorn out of the 2007 Burning Man event (the theme for which was “The Green Man”), Black Rock Solar provides low-cost, high-quality clean energy services to clients in the non-profit, public, low-income and educational sectors, with a focus on rural and tribal clients. Funds generated from these activities and other fundraising efforts are used to support educational and job training programs; small grants for solar-powered art and community clean energy projects; and other activities to promote clean, renewable energy and energy conservation. Black Rock Solar has transitioned to Black Rock Labs. For more information, check out Black Rock Labs website, and get involved!

Here are a few great videos explaining what Black Rock Solar is all about:

Black Rock Solar Promotional Video


Black Rock Solar — Nevada News Channel 8


Black Rock Solar in Black Rock City

Burners Without Borders

Burners Without Borders  (BWB) facilitates community leaders interested in taking the Burning Man principles from the playa out in the world by gifting their time and talents to collaborate with others and better our world.

The Burners Without Borders website is intended to be the mouthpiece for this community’s efforts as well as a catalyst for inspiring new ideas.  Join us and get involved!

BWB is a grassroots, volunteer-driven, community leadership program whose goal is to unlock the creativity of local communities to solve problems that bring about meaningful change. Supporting volunteers from around the world in innovative relief solutions & community resiliency projects, BWB is known for the unbridled creativity they bring to every project they do.

Burners Without Borders coalesced from a spontaneous, collective instinct to meet gaping needs where traditional societal systems were clearly failing post Hurricane Katrina. Since that time, BWB has emerged as a community led, grassroots group that encourages innovative, civic participation that creates positive change locally.

Following the 2005 Burning Man event, several participants headed south into the Hurricane Katrina disaster area to help people rebuild their devastated communities. As the volunteer numbers grew, they focused their initial efforts on rebuilding a destroyed Vietnamese temple in Biloxi, Mississippi. After several months, that job done, they moved to another needy Mississippi community, Pearlington, to continue to work hard — gifting their time — to help those in need. Over the course of eight months, BWB volunteers gifted over $1 million dollars worth of reconstruction and debris removal to the residents of Mississippi.

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Burners Without Borders Promotional Video

Burners Without Borders is not affiliated with Doctors Without Borders, which is a registered trademark of Médecins Sans Frontières International.

Civic Initiatives

Burning Man’s civic engagement initiatives are intended to foster civic responsibility and volunteerism in pursuit of a civil society, economic development and positive change at the local level. Join us here for stories of collaborative efforts in communities around the world.

People come to Black Rock City from all over the world and say ‘why can’t my home town be more like this?’ We say it can.

Peralta Junction

Ever wondered what might happen if artists joined forces with their community to turn an abandoned lot into something amazing? That question was at the forefront of the Peralta Junction Project, an experimental, carny-themed activation space based in West Oakland, CA, which took a grassroots approach to artful engagement and neighborhood transformation.

Peralta Junction on Opening Day. (Photo: Peralta Junction Project)
Peralta Junction on Opening Day. (Photo: Peralta Junction Project)

Once the event opened on October 4 2012 with an outdoor film screening, Peralta transformed the previously abandoned 24,000 square-foot lot at the intersection of Mandela Parkway and Peralta Street into an active community space filled with art installations, creative workshops, performances, micro-retail shops occupied by local artisans, Oakland-based food trucks, a tented gathering place, a pumpkin patch, and more.

Sugar Skull Workshop with The Crane and the Crow band. (Photo: Jill Sanders)
Sugar Skull Workshop with The Crane and the Crow band. (Photo: Jill Sanders)

Produced by Commonplace Productions, One Hat One Hand, and a swell of volunteers, each week featured additional programming – including the installation of Life Size Mousetrap on Saturday, Nov. 10 – creating a unique experience for event-goers week after week, through its closing on November 30.

Lower Bottom Blues Band. (Photo: Peralta Junction Project)
Lower Bottom Blues Band. (Photo: Peralta Junction Project)

In addition to pure awesomeness and alignments with our guiding principles – Participation and Communal Effort being big ones – what made this project so special is its ability to be replicated and customized for different neighborhoods in the future. Urban spaces all over the world have their share of abandoned corners like this one in Oakland, just waiting for people to turn them into something wonderful. One of our many goals in sponsoring this project, in addition to assisting in workshop curation, was to create documentation that will help people pull off similar projects in their neighborhood in their own unique way.

The project continued to revolutionize weekends in this historically challenged neighborhood through its closing celebrations Friday, November 30. We are very proud of our support of Peralta in making magic happen!

More photos at our flickr.