Introducing the 2021 Honoraria, and a General Art Update

There’s going to be some great Burning Man art this year, no matter what, thanks to several generous donors who have funded our Honoraria program for the year! (We thought we’d just get that right out on the table.) 

We’re pleased to introduce the artists and their art projects selected for 2021 Black Rock City Honoraria grants!

But wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Step back with us for a moment, if you will, to the wild ride that began last spring, when, shortly after we announced the 2020 Honoraria artists, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a spanner into our collective works. 

Sadly that meant that we couldn’t move forward with the 2020 grants. But we didn’t let that stop us from supporting art and artists! Since then, we gathered with our community online to build art, camps and entire worlds in the Burning Man Multiverse, and to celebrate Burn Night: Live From Home. The Burning Man Art Department created and hosted a series of ArtSpeaks episodes, showcasing nearly 50 artists through live interviews and video highlights of their art, studios, and creative processes. Members of our community sprang into action to help artists impacted by the pandemic with initiatives like the Safety Net Fund (SNF), a Burner-led organization providing grants to artists and makers. And during this time of isolation, Burning Man artists were planning and dreaming and tinkering and building what they could under a vastly different set of safety guidelines. 

Thank You!

It’s now time to dust off our 2020 plans and hopefully get some dust ON for 2021. 

Because while Black Rock City 2021 is still uncertain, the art is not! Thanks to the exceptional generosity of donors who have funded our 2021 Honoraria program, we are excited to be able to support artists in bringing art to wherever we find ourselves: in Black Rock City, or in cities and towns worldwide if we cannot gather together in the dust this year. “Art No Matter What!” is our rallying cry for 2021. 

How did this amazing feat happen? In February, when a major donor learned that Honoraria artists needed to start building their projects before a go/no-go decision for Black Rock City could be made, they doubled their existing donation and specifically earmarked it to fund art. Not only that, they also recruited several friends to donate, bringing the total to $1 million, just for art! With the generosity of these donors, artists can now help fill the art-void left in the wake of no Honoraria grants in 2020 and no Global Art Grant program in 2020/2021. While of course we hope we can gather together on the playa in 2021, it’s both comforting and exciting to know that this group of Honoraria artists is adapting to changing circumstances and potentially building their art out in the world as an alternative.  

We’re pleased to introduce those artists and their art projects selected for 2021 Black Rock City Honoraria grants: the 2020 grantees, minus a few projects that we hope to see on playa at some future date. They hail from around the world – from 14 U.S. states and 8 countries, as far away as Indonesia and South Africa. This group of artists has persevered through a year full of strife and constant change. We’re proud to know them, and we want you to meet them too. Read on for the list of this year’s grantees… but first:

A Note About the Temple

After enjoying its digital incarnation in the 2020 Multiverse, we’re pleased to welcome EMPYREAN, the Temple designed by Renzo Verbeck and Sylvia Lisse, to the playa in 2021. The crew has already been engaged for several months building the first two “canopies” of this beautiful star-shaped structure. A portion of it has been installed in Santa Rosa, CA and is currently open for weekend site visits

How to Get Involved with BRC Art

Of course, most of the more than 400 art installations in Black Rock City are projects that people dream up, create and build on their own, outside of the Honoraria grant program, with or without other funding. So peruse the 2021 BRC Honoraria projects, and if you have a vision that is missing from the list, you are warmly invited to make it happen. If you have skills to contribute and want to help an existing art project, please check out our collaboration tool Spark. Our BRC Honoraria grant program will be opening again this fall for the 2022 event, if you’d like to start planning ahead! 

Another way to get involved is to donate directly to the art projects themselves. The BRC Honoraria program does not cover their entire budgets, so many of the artists rely on the support of our community to realize their plans and visions. The 2021 Honoraria awards page lists donation buttons under the projects with active fundraising campaigns. Please browse, donate, and contact them directly if you have skills or resources to share. More than ever we all need ART! And they need your support!

A Few Specific Details About Registering Art This Year

We’ve had some questions about what 2021 would look like if you intend to bring art to playa. We are currently moving forward as if BRC 2021 is happening, and therefore our Art Installation Questionnaire (AIQ) is open for you to register an art project through June 2nd. If you’ve done so in the past, you’ll find the process to be very similar to prior years. If you’re new: great! You’ve chosen an interesting year to join us. You will receive more information from us once you’ve completed your registration. At this time, we anticipate that we’ll be able to provide all the usual support for artists on playa, including heavy equipment assistance. 

The 2021 Black Rock City Honoraria Recipients

Without further ado, we’d like to introduce this year’s Honoraria recipients. This is a master list, but you can find more details about the projects, and donation links, at the 2021 Honoraria page. Drum roll please…

1:44 Inter-dimensional Space Time Portal — Harlan Emil Gruber and TransPortals with Maraya — Taos, NM

Airfield 2.0 Tower — Alexandra Ivleva — Moscow, Russia

Autumn Spire — Eric Coolidge — Brooklyn, NY

Black Rock Station — Wes Modes and the Black Rock Transportation Company — Felton, CA

Carillon — Steven Brummond — Oakland, CA

Citipati — Ryan Mathern and the Charnel Lords Crew — Atlanta, GA

Coalescence — William Nemitoff and Curious Form — New Orleans, LA

Cosmos — Jen Lewin Studio LLC — New York, NY

Council of Animals (What to do about the monkeys) — Quill Hyde and Acavallo — Tonasket, WA

Crotalus AKA “Freddie” the Mojave Green Rattlesnake — Peter Hazel — Reno, NV

DIPTOWN — Shminke Stanislav, Shminke Irina — Yekaterinburg, Russia

Drishti — Kirsten Berg — Berkeley, CA

Empyrean Renzo Verbeck & Sylvia Adrienne Lisse — Boulder, CO

FIRE — Zoe Fry and The Introverts Collective — Mill Valley, CA

Fractal Droid — Jennifer Finney and Fractal Droid Collective — Austin, TX

Gilded — Mr and Mrs Ferguson with David Moreno Teron — Alameda, CA and Valencia, Spain

Harmonia — Roy (aka ‘TheWiz’) Trammell — Beaverton, OR

Heave — Michael Christian — Oakhurst, CA

I Heart Mom — Ryan Stevens — San Francisco, CA

Illumina Radiata — Eric Zann and the Illumina Radiata Art Guild — Kirkland, WA

Infinite Stare — Kelly Smith Cassidy — South Lake Tahoe, CA

Kukulkan’s Portal — Abram Santa Cruz and Liquid PXL — Long Beach, CA

Loop — Dan Rabinovitch and Aromatic Designs Unit — Burlington, VT

Lost Frequencies — Shelby Dukeminier — Las Vegas, NV

Lux Lepus — Jennifer Law and House of Lepus — Renton, WA

M- Theory Mechanica — Matt Parkhurst — Truckee, CA

Mebuyan — Leeroy New and Pinto International — Manila, Philippines

Merman — Andrei Krapivchenko and UA: Universe Achievers — Kyiv, Ukraine

Orbit — Hayden Harrison — Oakland, CA

Parallel Self Embraced — Matthew Pagoaga — Los Angeles, CA

PeepShow: Land of Lost Encounters — Ashley Stracke — Los Angeles, CA

Pendulum of Fire — Joseph Bard and Pyrokinetics — Sebastopol, CA

PETALED PORTAL — David Oliver and Art City — Taylor, AZ

PILGRIM GAIATA — Francisco Cárdenas and CONECTIKADJ — Castellón de la Plana, Spain

Play With Your Food — Bryan Saunders and Keegan Havelock-Rice — Alberta, Canada

Quadrupod 2.0 — Scott Parenteau — Sacramento, CA

Ratchetfish — Barry Crawford — Elko, NV

Schrödinger’s Rat — Martin Rauchbauer and The Department of Precision and Soul (DPS) — San Francisco, CA and Vienna, Austria

Secretly Abandoned Spaces — Valerie Elizabeth Mallory and the They Collective — Oakland, CA

Small Hadron Collider (SHC) — Jack Kalish and Rachel Ciavarella, Everything Good Studio — Brooklyn, NY

Square Root of Growth — Joseph Evans — Denver, CO

Temple of Masks — Jason Gronlund — Guadalajara, Mexico

The Buddha at the Trash Fence — Ali Agus Ardie and Digital Dalang — Bali, Indonesia, and Reno, NV

The Dreaming Goddess — David Bell and Camp Luminos — Phoenix, AZ

The Importance of Small Things: Plecoptera — Ela Lamblin and Lelavision — Vashon, WA

The Midnight Museum of That One Time at Burning Man — Jerry Snyder — Reno, NV

The Prism of Possibilities — Emily Nicolosi and The Pink Spot — Cottonwood Heights, UT

The Restaurant at the End of the Multiverse — Tabasco Mills and the Iron Monkeys — Seattle, WA

The Self Help Yourself Bookshelf — Brie’Ana Breeze — Alameda, CA

The Solar Shrine — Antwane Lee — Chicago, IL

The Traveling Sound Museum Presents: The Anomaly — Chris Cerrito and Mike Rosenthal — Emeryville, CA

Through The Mind’s Eye — Launa Eddy — New York, NY

Tremolo — Nick Geurts and Ryan Elmendorf — Denver, CO

Unbound: A Library in Transition —Jules and Dave Nelson-Gal — Palo Alto, CA

Unpopular Music (or UNPOP) — Evidence (Stephan Moore & Scott Smallwood) — Chicago, IL and Alberta, Canada

VIMOKSHA — Michael Emery — Santa Cruz, CA

What to Expect When Expecting — Julia Bonnheim and Future Problems Art Collective — Portland, OR

The Black Rock City Honoraria Program relies on the generosity of our community. You can help support this program, an array of on- and off-playa artist services, and our nonprofit mission by making a gift here.

Cover image: Play With Your Food by Bryan Saunders and Keegan Havelock-Rice

About the author: 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. 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!

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