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Burning Man Receives Nonprofit Status

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Shutterstock/ Watchtheworld

Burning Man is on fire.

The annual desert destination in the middle of Nevada has been ignited into something much bigger since achieving nonprofit status, sparking what could be a much more global reach.

But what is Burning Man?

It isn’t easy to explain this experimental community experience. Even Carly Schwartz of the Huffington Post had trouble putting her Burning past into words.

“It’s like being on Mars, except I’ve never been to Mars,” she wrote on the site.

Essentially, Burning Man pops up each year in a remote location in Nevada’s desert land to foster a new world full of artistic expression built from scratch. It is bizarre – and when it’s all over, it gets burned to the ground.

The whole event might sound strange at first, but it has grown over 24 years into a nearly 70,000-attendee, $20 million endeavor, The Huffington Post reported. And now, it might essentially sprout up anywhere it wants to.

Black Rock City, LLC, has spearheaded the festival since the late ‘90s and was granted nonprofit status in March after the Burning Man Project took full ownership of the company. It was an important move for fans of the festival because it paved the way for other similar projects and a more year-round kind of community that supports civic engagement, education and the arts.

“After 24 years of tending our garden in the desert, we now have the means to cultivate its culture worldwide,” founder Larry Harvey said in a statement on the Burning Man blog. “Sometimes things just pop, and this is one of those moments.”

The nonprofit title will bring together Black Rock City, LLC and the Burning Man Project and create what the Huffington Post reported as a “hub for projects seeded at Burning Man and/or based on its principles to live and thrive year-round.” The event’s blog reported the Burning Man Project’s approach as maintaining the festival’s vibe and fostering it through other projects by “scaling to meet the growing demand for tools and resources to reproduce the Burning Man experience outside of Black Rock City.

“We’ll be taking the momentum people were getting from their experience at Burning Man and working to manifest it in our own communities,” Marian Goodell, who will oversee the new nonprofit, said in a report from The Huffington Post. “There are opportunities for people to do what they’ve learned at Burning Man outside Burning Man. We’ll help them tap into each other.”

The shift in status has left Burning Man fans gasping for a hint of where the festival might go next, but those in charge of the event have kept mum for now. They did, however, promise to deliver some big news in the coming weeks as they map out the year-round and worldwide approach now made possible through the nonprofit status.

“We are deeply focused on keeping the Black Rock City event a thriving entity and beautiful experience that feeds into the possibilities beyond Nevada out here on the Grand Playa of human society,” the Burning Man blog post read. “In the coming months we hope to share our progress in technology, communications, fundraising, community relations, network development, and of course, the building of the philosophical center.”

The nonprofit already has several projects under its belt, including one with Zappos founder Tony Hsieh that helps “inject arts and innovation into the growing technology hub in downtown Las Vegas,” the Huffington Post reported.


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April 15th, 2014 at 8:19 am