Burning Man Journal Authors

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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Elizabeth Monoian & Robert Ferry are the founding Co-Directors of the Land Art Generator. Through the Land Art Generator Elizabeth and Robert have published, exhibited, and presented globally on the aesthetics of renewable energy and the role of art in providing solutions to climate change.

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Shirley Strong is a social justice educator committed to greater equity and inclusion in higher education. She has been to Black Rock City in 2013 and has been part of the R.I.D.E. Advisory Group since 2019. Most recently, Shirley was the Chief Diversity Officer at Samuel Merritt University (SMU). Currently, she is the Diversity Director for the Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research, a program of the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) that trains health professionals on the use of psychedelics. Shirley also serves as an advisor and trainer for the Structural Competency Working Group (SCWG), which conducts training on structural racism in healthcare in order to reduce health disparities leading to improved health outcomes for vulnerable populations. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Simone Torrey began her Burning Man journey in 2016 when she was invited to join BeeCharge camp in July, and subsequently sparkleponied her way through her first burn. During that same year, she met someone during a dust storm; he’s now her husband and father of their child. The next year Simone was part of the mutant vehicle crew that brought the Red Hot Beverly to life. And a year later she joined the organizing team of BeeCharge, leading an effort to create independent but interconnected pods within the camp. Simone has been working with Burning Man Project on several community engagement initiatives since 2018. Through her evolution as a professional facilitator for transformative change and community engagement processes, she has lived, studied and worked in 15 countries over the past 23 years.

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Matthew Reyes, aka Motorbikematt, is the producer of the official Burning Man webcast. On playa, he has helped build and fund space-themed art installations such as the Mars Rover Art Car and the Black Rock Observatory. In the default world, Matthew is a Product Manager at Dolby Laboratories empowering Mobile game studios create the most spectacular audio experiences. Formerly with NASA and GoPro, he has worked in deserts throughout North and South America, Africa, Australia, and Asia but still finds the Black Rock Desert to be his favorite of them all.

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Katie Hazard (yes that’s her real last name) is the Associate Director of Art Management for Burning Man. She leads 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. | Spec Guy is an Art Management Specialist with Burning Man Project's Art team. In this role, she administers the Honoraria and Temple grant programs, acts as a liaison for selected art projects, manages the ARTerians, and does placement for all art projects. Her superpower is the ability to work through the inherent conflict between the creative process, while executing the organization and strategy required to complete a project.

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"Looking Up Arts Foundation” is a San Francisco-based non-profit organization established in 2018 dedicated to large scale art installations. Looking Up supports local artists for the production, exhibition, and public dissemination of exciting and extraordinary art projects, focusing primarily on art festivals and interactive exhibitions. Past projects at Burning Man have included "Sirasana” (2022), "Rainbow Bridge” (2018), and "Phoenicopterus Rex” (2017).

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Shimmer (aka Jerril Nilson) finally found herself on playa in 2011 after years of voyeuristically enjoying the view of Black Rock City through the images taken by professional photographers she knew. As the playa would have it, her first volunteer role with Gate, Perimeter & Exodus was Pulsing, in its debut at Exodus. From that time on, she’s come back to the gravel road next to the pavement where Gate Road ends, as a Nevada-certified Flagger, Flagger Shift Supervisor, and as Exodus Operations Assistant Manager for the last three events. She’s a graphic designer and marketing consultant in real life, with side gigs as a Very Old SLUG Queen and a parade creator in Eugene, Oregon.

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The Regional Network team supports the greater Burning Man Regional Network by providing Regional Contacts and Regional Event leads with educational tools, information sharing opportunities, and leadership development resources to help them nurture their local Burner communities in embodying and demonstrating the 10 Principles year-round.

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John Valentino lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, and is the Art Discovery Manager for the Burning Man Art Department. He first came to Burning Man 2012 as part of the New Orleans CORE project Baby Brulé. In 2013 he was the lead artist for the CORE project, Alter of the Wetlands, and led the New Orleans Pavilion in the 2014 Souk. In 2015 he was awarded an Honorarium for Krewe of the Dusty Playa, an artwork commemorating the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. John is a Professor of New Media and Animation in the Department of Art and Visual Design at Southeastern Louisiana University. Each year, between November and February, he designs and builds the royalty float for the New Orleans Mardi Gras parading organization Krewe du Vieux.

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Aaron “Slim” Muszalski has been burning since 1995. As an artist he’s created such notable honoraria projects as Rubber Ducky (2002) and SYZYGRYD (2010). Since 2007 he’s been a member of the Man Crew, the DPW team responsible for creating each year’s Man effigy. After surviving stage IV cancer in 2016 Aaron founded Burning Wish, a community of survivors, caregivers and volunteers dedicated to making Burning Man more accessible to cancer patients and their loved ones. Learn more and help support Burning Wish at http://www.burningwish.org/

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