Thank you for allowing me to the opportunity to submit this proposal. Ever since I was a kid, I believed that one day I would be able to devote my creative energy to an artistic endeavor. Unfortunately, financial circumstances didn’t afford me the opportunity to pursue this passion. The dream never faded, however, and during my first trip to Burning Man in 2004, I conceived of an art project. I remember sharing that vision with one of my close friends who had encouraged me to go to BM. She said back then that someday I would return to BM as an Artist. Honestly, at the time, I didn’t believe her. Even after coming back to BM in 2006 and 2010, I didn’t think I would ever execute the dream.
Finally, in 2011, I made the decision to go for it. I submitted an art grant proposal for The Life Cube Version 1. I was turned down for funding, but received a subsequent email offering me a few tickets if I was willing to come and build it. It was not until later in the year that I was able to put together the resources to be able to assemble a downsized, self-financed, modified version. As a result, Version 1 was a smaller and less ambitious build than what I had originally conceived. But the truly amazing part was how many people came out to support the project — first a friend suggested a master carpenter, another offered to help transport the materials, and some generous souls offered to defray some of the costs. Even my family was supportive, including my wife, Madeleine, who has never gone with me to BM, and my daughter, who understood when I missed her last move back to college, as it was on Labor Day weekend while I was at Burning Man.
And then… the magic happened. I am not talking about the actual construction – yes, there are many stories about building the project in Brooklyn and Queens and “schlepping” it out to Black Rock City — but the experience of being surrounded by so many helpful people, and the number of BRC citizens during the week who expressed their appreciation for bringing art to the playa. I will never forget the first time a group came up to me and shared how they had spent hours the night before visiting and interacting with TLC. How they told me how much they liked the quotes, how they climbed on top and how they thought long and hard about their wishes, which they wrote down and deposited in TLC. They even asked for extra wish-sticks to give to their friends!
And at the end of the week, there was the ultimate experience at BM as an artist: burning your art and destroying what you built. It would take many pages to describe all that happened that night, but the bottom line is that someone I had not known until a week before offered to be the project’s fire marshal; over 50 people came out that night to help celebrate the burn, and it was incredibly exciting and moving to be surrounded by so many friends old and new. Someone with an art car came and parked near the site while it burned, and put together a custom playlist of John Lennon songs for the great event. We all shared the happiness, the joy, the ecstasy, and finally, the exhaustion. TLC V1 was a top life experience. No sooner had the embers cooled, then I was already thinking about how V2 would be bigger, better, more spectacular and even more inspirational. I am happy to submit this application for a grant, and hope you will give it serious consideration and decide to help in funding its construction.
Thank you in advance for your consideration and support,
The Life Cube Art Project