Build the Heart & Soul of Black Rock City: 2020 Temple Applications Now Open

Burning Man Arts is thrilled to announce that the 2020 Temple Grant cycle is now open!

We’re still dusting things off from 2019 and celebrating the beautiful Temple of Direction by Geordie Van Der Bosch and crew — thank you! — so it’s hard to believe that plans for 2020 are already underway. But building the Temple takes many months of planning, so in our ongoing efforts to support artists we want to give the 2020 Temple artist and crew as much time as possible to create the space we will all come to love next year.

The Temple is often the largest participant-created art installation on playa. It’s an incredibly complex undertaking, with a crew in the hundreds, fundraising goals of over $100K, and a real labor of love.

Who is Eligible to Submit an Application to Build the Temple?

New in 2020, the lead artist 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.

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Design Elements: What Are We Looking For?

Every year, we explore a spectrum of design ideas from our community’s artists and builders, and we approach our decision with the goal of creating a special physical space on playa for Black Rock City’s citizens to share their reflections.

The Temple design should not be based on a particular religion, belief, or theme as it’s meant to be inclusive for all citizens.

While we do like each Temple to have its own unique characteristics, there are certain design elements we look for in a successful proposal, such as protected niches for participants to leave offerings, a central gathering space, and multiple entrances/exits.

What is the Selection Process?

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.

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.

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.

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How Does Burning Man Support the Temple?

Burning Man Project supports the Temple each year with up to $100k in funding and up to $15k in resources such as decomposed granite, water, fuel and some heavy equipment.

How to Apply for the 2020 BRC Temple Grant

Building the Black Rock City Temple is a significant undertaking. It’s also a chance to realize a dream and create a space for thousands of participants to have meaningful experiences.

If this sounds like you, the first step is reading this essay by John “Moze” Mosbaugh about the history and significance of the BRC Temple. Then, head on over to our BRC Temple Grant Page for the juicy details on available resources, what we are looking for in a successful proposal, and how to apply.

The online application form is now open, and all submissions need to be received by November 21, 2019, 5pm Pacific Time. Notifications will be sent to applicants by December 23, 2019.


Top photo: Temple of Direction, 2019, by Geordie Van Der Bosch and the Temple Crew (Photo by Jamen Percy)

About the author: Katie Hazard

Katie Hazard

Katie Hazard (yes that’s her real last name) is the Associate Director of Burning Man Arts. She oversees the selection, placement, and installation of over 400 artworks annually in Black Rock City and beyond. She’s been passionate about arts administration and grants management for many years; she has a degree in Art History from the University of Notre Dame, worked at the Art Institute of Chicago, and spent 10 years at Harvard University as a Senior Grants Manager. Katie’s first year on playa was 2000, and she volunteered for 10 years (DMV, Man Base Lighting, art build crews, theme camp organization, Fire Conclave) before joining the staff in 2013. Katie is also a certified yoga teacher and has been a practitioner of Buddhist meditation for more than a decade.

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