Beyond the playa - Page 2

Burning Man launches nonprofit aimed at spreading its culture and art

Burning Man Project launch: (from left) Sup. Eric Mar, Mayor Ed Lee, Board President David Chiu, and event founder Larry Harvey.

The new board members are Christopher Bently, a business person who owns the Bently Reserve, an event space popular with burners; hotelier and writer Chip Conley, CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality; Mike Farrah, a former top adviser to former Mayor Gavin Newsom and other SF politicians who now lives in New York City; Burning Man attorney Terry Gross (aka Lightning); film producer Chris Weitz; his wife, Mercedes Martinez, a former teacher and performer; Kay Morrison, who works with nonprofits in the Seattle area; Jennifer Raiser, a business person and blogger for; longtime burner Rae Richman, who runs Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors' Bay Area office; installation artist Leo Villareal, a founder of New York's Disorient sound camp; and David B. Walker, who has run museums, served as dean of an art school, and worked in investment banking. They join the six current LLC board members — Harvey, Mikel, Marian Goodell, Harley DuBois, Crimson Rose, and Will Roger — on the 17-member board, although the new members will initially serve terms of just one year.

"I think Mid-Market and the Tenderloin will be an arts district like nothing we've ever seen," Conley, whose company headquarters and several of its 13 San Francisco hotels are located in the area, told the crowd. "Today is the birth of the Burning Man Project and our goal is to make Burning Man real around the world ... and around the year."

Or, as Richman told us, "I want people to not have to go out to the desert to have that opportunity for self-expression and creativity."