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The first post in our behind the scenes series of blog posts 'Back of Nowhere', to give a glimpse into all the hard work that goes into making our lovely volunteer run event happen. This post provided by the dedicated Lead of the Art Team - an ever growing part of Nowhere.
Hi there, I am Emily, and I lead the Art team at Nowhere. I started out as a member of the Art Grant team in 2009 and have seen the arts grow from year to year. 2012 was the biggest year yet with 42 funded projects, an increase from 16 the year before.
Traditionally the art team have given art grants to artists creating work to be placed on the playa, with the art grant budget being usually 10% of the ticket sales. We look at all of the applications and allocate money. We try to give as much to as many people as possible, we have to consider lots of things when deciding what to fund. Such as the Health and Safety, Sustainability and Participatory nature of the projects.
In the last year we have seen the team grow bigger, and my role is to support everybody in their roles and plan for the future of the arts at Nowhere. I act as a project manager making sure that everything happens when it’s supposed to. I am constantly developing new systems for artists and working to develop the art for the holistic development of the event.
This year we have developed various new roles on the Arts team, including an Art Archivist, Art Car Lead and an Art Grants Lead role. As the team grows bigger we have developed lead roles for each department, so that everyone isn’t having to do every aspect of the job. It’s getting too big for that now.
So I oversee various teams within the Arts.
Art Comms Lead- The last 3 years we have had an Art Comms lead. They deal with all the mail outs on behalf of the Art’s team. The Art Comms is the face of the Arts, and a hugely important role for the team. It has been invaluable having somebody take on this role. This also involves evangelizing the art grants to bring in artists from outside of our immediate community.
The Art Grant Team- They decide on the art grants and support artists in the creation of their work. We are here to answer questions in the lead up to the event, and offer support to artists during and after the event as well. This includes getting them to fill out feedback surveys so we can make the process better.
KunstHaus- This is a version of the Artery at Burning Man. It is essentially Art Production on site. We have been building this up over the years by creating our own set of tools for artists, and it has previously been run out of Eat Your Art Out as the camp that feeds artists during set up. This year we will have a separate production site, and offer shelter for artists to work under during set up.
Art Archive- For years we have been trying to build up an archive of all the art that has happened at Nowhere over the years. This year, we found the perfect volunteer to set this up, so you will be seeing an archive on the website soon.
Art Car Lead- In the last 2 years we have seen Art Cars arriving at Nowhere, from our initially funded art car, the Kruizcruzer (don't quote me on the spelling for that) from Berlin to last year when we had 4 art cars. We have had to consider how this affects the event and build in guidelines to work with this growth.
Theme- We brought in a theme at Nowhere in 2010 and have gone through various ways of deciding it. The most popular being a public vote in 2012. Now we have a separate theme committee consisting of various volunteers from within the community.
Art Tours- At Nowhere, for the last 3 years we have started to run art tours. They have usually happened on an ad hoc basis, but this year we hope to amend that. They will appear in the Survival Guide and we will have 3 set times during the event.
I am so happy to volunteer for Nowhere and get such joy from seeing the art at the event. It fills me with happiness each year to see the quality and the quantity of art increase. To me, it is one of the most important things at the event, both for building up the community and providing a more exciting landscape at the event itself.
I am lucky to be able to work alongside a wonderful and committed team and give thanks to all of them for making my job both easy and a pleasure. This year I am very lucky to be co-leading with Romy, who is in her 3rd year of volunteering at Nowhere. We have great plans for the arts and love seeing it grow and grow each year.
We always have roles for people if you wish to volunteer with the art team. From supporting artists on site, giving art tours, or to more committed roles on the Art Grant Team, we love to hear from people who want to join us in any capacity.
If you do want to volunteer with the Arts Team, please get in touch with me at