GLC 2017: Walk the Talk Grants Turn Conversation Into Action

Check out more stories about the 2017 Global Leadership Conference.

On April 1, Burners Without Borders (BWB) and Burning Man’s Civic Arts Program helped facilitate and award grants for the fifth Annual “Walk the Talk” Grant Salon. A group of 35 attendees from this year’s Global Leadership Conference participated by reading, discussing and finally voting on which grant proposals would receive funding. We are happy to announce that this year $3,000 was awarded to three civic art and two civic engagement projects.

The following civic engagement projects were awarded grants:

  • The Giving Garden, of Las Vegas received $1,000. The grant will expand upon an existing elementary school garden through building more garden boxes, purchasing seeds and inputting drip irrigation. An issue at the school is that some students have limited availability of food in their homes. Teachers will educate groups of 2nd graders how to grow their own food in these school gardens, and when the harvest comes, the students will be able take their “crops” home to their families in the spirit of Radical Self-reliance.
  • Charm City Creative Cleanup (The 4 C’s) received $500. A crew of Baltimore artists will traverse the streets and parks to beautify the city through clean-ups. An art piece will be created with some of matter and also photos will be sent out on social media platforms to help educate the “Charm City” to leave no trace.

The following art projects were awarded grants:

  • Good Things Take Time received $800 and is a large mural proposal for the Bayview district of San Francisco. The funding will go to materials such as paint, renting a lift, and for smaller art supplies. Cameron Moberg, an established street artist in San Francisco, will paint a 20′ x 25′ patchworked sea turtle and have local community members contribute their own patterns for the art. In addition, he will host classes about the history of graffiti as well as painting tips and tricks. A short film of the project will also be created.
  • Many Voices, Many Truths: A Poetry Project of Place received $500. The project honors National Poetry Month this April and will collect poems from a variety of communities in the region of Indian River County, Florida. The prompt asks, “Where do you live? Where are you from? Write a poem about what that means to you.” After collecting these poems of place, they will be displayed both online and in print and then local artists will be invited to create a response in their own media for a public performance of the stories shared.
  • Read Between the Lines received $200, which will fund a large 8′ x 4′ installation in the shape of a notebook where participants can write their own poems and messages all over it. Based in Orlando, the installation will also feature an attached list of poetry events locally and will travel to various public spaces to encourage Radical Self-expression.

The Walk the Talk Grant Program is a timely reminder to GLC participants as they wrap up four days of skill sharing and relationship building to turn their connections and conversations into action.

The Civic Grant aims to fund programs that create collaborations, produce direct actions, utilize the 10 Principles of Burning Man, are reproducible, and creatively tackle local problems.

The Art Grant is for projects that create collaborations, break down the distinction between audience and artist, are directly interactive and/or enhance the public, civic sphere.

The unique process is something to talk about too. Instead of using a more traditional panel model to judge applicants, Christopher Breedlove, program manager for Burners Without Borders, has developed a more collaborative process.

“I’m really into democratic granting processes because I believe that the community can decide better where the ultimate value our money should be going than any type of judging council,” he says. “The community is just super big, and I’m interested in what they would choose.”

Each grant proposal is surveyed by small groups of two or three and then, after reading their particular application, all the groups come back together to share what project they examined, and everyone narrows down the list by sharing thoughts, suggestions and questions.

“We usually end up with a big ‘needs more development’ pile and a big ‘yes’ pile,” Christopher says, “and that’s where the deeper and richer conversation comes from: What is going to add the most value and what is going to have the most impact?”

If you are interested to propose a civic engagement project for Burners Without Borders, their community micro-grant program just opened up and you can submit your proposals by June 1 here.

Congratulations to all the grant recipients and thank you to the GLC attendees who participated in this years Walk The Talk Community Grant Salon!

About the author: Shawn Saleme

Shawn Saleme

As the program coordinator for Burners Without Borders, Shawn helps facilitate socially innovative projects through BWB’s initiatives, grants and chapter network. Before joining the Burning Man staff, Shawn lived around the world for a number of years working and volunteering for community development nonprofits including building his own school for youth who live in the train stations of Calcutta, India. Burning since 2011, he’s helped bring art to the playa every year and was on the first Ma’Patz (DPW) crew for Midburn. From the SF Bay with a BA in cultural anthropology, he’s excited to help facilitate and extend Burning Man culture globally.

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