Mid-term report - Art foundation - Midburn 2022
Yesterday we completed sending notifications to all of the submissions for an art grant. This is the most sensitive and challenging part of our work throughout the year. Each click on the “Send” of an email with a negative answer presses on a painful place for us, and sometimes crushes a dream for the artists receiving the negative answer.
Each click on the “Send” button with a positive answer represents an amazing tailwind for us and provides legitimacy to the artists getting the positive mail.
It is not fun to get a “no” - we know from personal experience.
That being said, as you can see in the table below, we were not able to give grants to all of those requesting it.
Our role is to professionally review all of the requests, according to the criteria listed in the call for grant, and to make decisions. That’s what we did.
We hope that we are able to provide transparency of what was done so far, through the numbers below, in the clearest and simplest way.
For a deeper understanding of the table above, here is story behind it:
Our total budget for art grants was 478,000 NIS, distributed to different grant types as shown in the table. Given the budget, we made a few changes to the grant levels to enable as many grant approvals as possible. The grants were distributed in descending order sorted by the final score of each request - from 100 to 87.
This created cases where we had to sadly and apologetically reject grant requests for wonderful creations that received more than score 76 (the passing score).
In the 5K NIS level, approved grants started from score 82.
In the 2.5K NIS levels, approved grants started from score 86.
In the rest of the levels , most of the requests that got above 76 were approved.
Art in theme camps: There were more requests compared to last year, but still relatively few requests. We had a surplus of 2000NIS that were transferred to the budget of art in the public space, where the demand was very high.
There were 9 requests for performance grants, a big increase compared to the two requests made last year. There were four approved grants, additional two received a passing grade but did not get a grant due to budget constraints and three did not pass the minimal score.
As in every year, we expect cancellations of grants for various reasons in the coming months until the gate opens - reasons such as safety, difficulties in recruiting work crews, unexpected financial difficulties, personal reasons, etc.
Our target is to reach Midburn with a zero balance in the foundation’s account. This target will be achieved by reallocating funds twice based on the rate of cancellations of allocated funds and their amount.
In each reallocation phase, the relevant professional ranking body will convene to approve grants that passed the score threshold but did not get the grant because of the high demand. The order for new grant approval will be determined by the score ranking - from highest to lowest. At these stage partial amounts may be granted as well.
The main installations were allocated appropriate budgets this year, similar to Midburn 2018, and will receive 70K/80K to the effigi (man and woman) and the zone (formerly the temple) respectively.
The energetic crews for both installations come with experience, knowledge of the community, professionalism, excitement and a clear plan to have the community participate in the creation.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
Why don’t we allocate the budget proportionally to all those that have a passing score? This was the grant allocation method up to the Burn-In-Motion event in 2019. Over the years we received strong feedback from the artist community to change the method so there would be more certainty and an option to receive more than 50% of the art budget. We did a lot of work, including consulting with Burning Man, Africa Burn and NOWHERE to arrive at the current method. It is not perfect, but we’ll keep reviewing and improve it after each event.
Why can’t the submission be updated/completed/improved after the submission deadline? Right after the submission deadline, we start the process of professionally grading the ~200 requests, following a meeting to put it all together. All of the process is compressed to two weeks. In the past we did it in a longer period, but we saw fit to make an effort to provide answers faster, enabling artists to plan longer before the submission and give them more time for construction after the answers are provided. Every year we get requests for updates, and every year we refuse. If we let one person update their submission, we must let everyone do it. This will impact the timetable - not just ours, but also the content, safety and other departments. This is also the reason we held two meetups of artists with the art foundation, with the goal of helping improve the quality of the submissions.
We complete our work every year with a page full of items to improve for next year. The items involve improving the grading teams’ work and adjustments to the criteria and call for proposals. This year is no different from previous years, and there will be improvements next year. This is a process is already underway with the foundation’s volunteers.
I want to deeply thank all of the foundations’ volunteers - Eitan Blu, Gil Enoch, Debbie Olo, Dana Collin, Tal Shofet, Meital Pe’er, Michal Aviv, Max Chen Reuveni, Simona Dar-Loria, Eden Orion, Cheney De-Silva, Ran Kaplinski and Reyee Dishon.
These wonderful beings manage to successfully and inspiringly work professionally, with sensitivity and integrity. Big hugs and loves to you!
Art Foundation chairman