Feed the Artists (aka FtA) is a communal art grant that builds community through food gifting. We facilitate offers of gratitude and support to hard-working artists (and other) crews by encouraging theme camps and other groups to offer them the simple gift of a nourishing, heartfelt meal. The program has literally fed thousands of artists since 2007, inspiring radical collaboration amongst diverse groups, and creating many lifelong friendships in the process.
Our Primary Objectives
1. To support BM’s artists
2. To create healthy and meaningful interactions between artists and theme camps the promote bonding, collaboration, and the sharing of resources.
3. To elevate the role of food on the playa to an art form.
4. And to do it all in a way that it becomes a self-sustaining, self-perpetuating tradition at BM, then the regionals, and then beyond.
We seek to create a new meme at Burning Man, which exemplifies what we call “Radical Collaboration,” in which theme camps take it upon themselves to invite artists and their crews to join them for dinner. Initially focusing on setup week, when we feel the artists need the most support, we hope to spread the program into burn week, so that this sort of artist/theme camp collaboration becomes commonplace throughout the event. In so doing, we hope to model, in a very real way, the principles of Gifting, Immediacy, Civic Responsibility, and Communal Effort, and create, with the simple gift of a
nourishing, heartfelt meal, an archetype through which:
• The Burning Man community’s existing resources are leveraged to provide support to artists.
• Artists who are new (or even not so new) to Burning Man will have opportunities to meet and interact with more experienced burners in a casual, nurturing environment that promotes collaboration and sharing of resources
• Theme camps and their members will have an opportunity to really meet and get to know some of BM’s artists and learn the detail, history, and motivations behind the artists’ works.
• Community support for BM’s artists will evolve and become more direct and participatory. An Ideavirus will spread, and those camps that are granted early arrival status will recognize the need to think beyond their own borders and needs and actively embrace the concept of providing for the artists who need it. An “art tax,” if you will; civic responsibility in its purest form.
• Artists will be better able to focus primarily on their work, get their installations done on time, and not be so burned out by the process that they are unable to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Ultimately, though, the FtA vision is not just about providing food to artists. It’s about nourishing the bodies, minds, and souls of all the program participants, and by extension, the entire Burning Man community.
And once we have achieved this goal at Burning Man, we will spread this concept throughout the world, first through the BM regional network, and then beyond so that eventually, we are facilitating Feed the ___<fill in the blank>___ collaborations between groups in communities all across the globe and a largely forgotten expression of appreciation and gratitude will have been reintroduced to the world.