In a kick-off ceremony attended by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Board of Supervisors President David Chu and simulcast to the world over the Internet, the “Burning Man Project” was announced on August 5. The Project is described as a way to create and explore relationships for art and community. Chu said it will be a forum for ‘experimentation’ in San Francisco, and not just in magic mushrooms. The non-profit Project seeks to foster ways for the community to come together.
Larry Harvey, one of the Project’s founders and a member of the 17 person board of directors, described the opportunity to bring Burning Man culture back from the Black Rock Desert to the rest of the world. A guiding principal was that it would be built by everybody so that it could be shared by everybody.
As part of the initial outreach in partnership with the City of San Francisco, there would be an ongoing effort to put artists into some currently vacant spaces on Market Street in the Tenderloin District. For the longer term, Harvey said the Project seeks “to not just decorate Main Street, but change lives.” It would be working with local people where found so that such change could be promoted.
The Project seeks to promote art created by interactive collaboration. There is a call to volunteers (and donations) around the world to bring art to places where it can help build vibrant cities and culture. For the Project to flourish it is looking for larger participation through its website and public events. Unlike Black Rock City, to participate in the Project, Harvey noted that “you don’t need no stinkin’ ticket.”
Board member Chip Conley gave a hopeful, but cautious view of the Project. Conley pointed out that the opportunity is there, but the Black Rock Desert and the Tenderloin are both places without expectation. The hope is that Burning Man can be made real across the world and make it viable year round.
Before and after the ceremonies, there were performances by Christen Lien, Loyd Family Players and the Space Cowboys DJs. The live feed available in Bahrain was picked up over http://www.shoutingfire.org/
Burning Man Project website: www.burningmanproject.org
Editors note: The not-for-profit Burning Man Project is meant to take over the duties of the current for-profit Burning Man organization, officially known as Black Rock City LLC.