Come See Classic Playa Art in Reno and Support a Burner Institution

What’s still there in Black Rock City on Sunday night to light your Exodus? For the past five years or so, it has been the box-lit SwagMart sign, usually somewhere near Center Camp or Rod’s Road. This year, SwagMart is moving on with new graphics, but its traditional signs and artwork have a new life at the Morris Burner Hostel’s patio and art garden in Reno.

SwagMart artwork finds new home at the Morris (Photo by Elvis)

Launched at the height of a certain major U.S. retailer, SwagMart’s sign was intended to be the antithesis of capitalism. Built with traditional sign materials, the message rang clearly over the branding and swag departments at the SwagMart Camp.

The other sign marking the camp façade, “Here I See More Me” was created using repurposed sign letters in brilliant red, arranged in various anagrams by SwagMart camp members.“Here I See More Me” inspired a number of revealing and personal photos and remains part of the SwagMart legacy. Sign-maker Solace has supplied these two signs to the Morris Burner Hostel patio in Reno.

Morris Burner Hostel is located in downtown Reno at 400 East Fourth Street. (Check out our previous Burning Man Journal coverage of this Burner haven.) It’s member-supported, but it depends on volunteers and guests to keep the doors open. Recent building department requirements have put the Morris under both scrutiny and financial pressure. If you haven’t had a chance to drop by and check it out, do so. You’ll find an assortment of art in the patio, alongside a vegetable garden. Inside, each room sports its own theme, so guests can choose the habitat they wish from a wide range of Burner fantasy-lands. Then, of course, there is the informal lounge, lobby, etc, etc. The array of Burners to be found there at any given time is a treasure for the playa-hungry heart.

Solace delivers SwagMart signs to Morris Burner Hostel (Elvis far left) (Photo by AngelBe)

On July 22, 2017 from 1 pm on, the Morris Burner Hostel is hosting an informal patio art party and has dedicated the second floor to art exhibits. Dubbed NaDaDa, local artists are featured in several hotels including the Morris. Also on Saturday, you can catch Crimson Rose and Maria Partridge speaking about Art on the Playa and Community at the Nevada Museum of Art.

Due to zoning, NaDaDa  is a members’ only event, so this a great time to show up with $20 bucks and join the Morris. We all know membership has it privileges, so let’s play the game and be sure the Morris stays open. You’ll enjoy some great art and feel glad there is one more welcoming place for a weary Burner to rest and relax.

Learn more about membership on the Morris website. You can also donate to keep the Morris up and running.


Top photo by Mario Covic

One comment on “Come See Classic Playa Art in Reno and Support a Burner Institution

  • Q-Tip says:

    Exceptional and interesting article. SwagMart has
    always been one of the favorite Theme Camps at
    Center Camp in the 6:00 sector
    Branding the Man logo’s on Belts, Boots, Hats, etc
    has us lined up on those cool nights.
    The Morris Hotel is a must see or better yet spend
    a night there. almost the feel of the Playa, without
    the Dust. Great Art and a Happy positive Staff.

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