Chris Parshley is a board member of Reno Burners LLC, an organization that works to keep the mission of Burning Man alive throughout the year. Learn more at http://renoburners.org/.
You’re part of the Reno Burners LLC. What does that entail?
We’re kind of the administrative board. We do the annual decompression event every October, and we use that money [for] art grants.
So the project you’re working on now is to build seating for local events in the community, right?
Right now I’m building a few mobile seating and some burn barrels that will be use for warming for some events, just kind of a way to, you know, get our presence more well known. People usually need to sit down and they usually like things on fire.
So you are coming up with some artistic versions of that.
What we’re doing is basically having local artists decorate the stuff. And as far as the seating, we’re trying to get the big Bounce Festival to allow us to do public stuff there, and have their participants decorate the benches during the event.
How are you recruiting artists for the project?
At this point we’ve just gone with artists that we know but I am currently looking for artists who are willing to take on a bench and want to decorate it.
Will these be something you can use each year?
We’re hoping to use it year after year. We’ve only lined up events for this year, but we want to use it at the decompression event and other summertime fundraisers that they have as long as they exist.
Have you been a burner for a long time?
I started in 2001 when I first turned 18.
What are you doing to prepare for this year?
Actually, I’m not going this year. I haven’t gotten a ticket.
Oh yeah, through the ticket lottery? That seemed to not work out for a lot of people. So what’s your take on that whole thing?
I think it’s interesting that Burning Man decided to prioritize tickets toward artists and themed camps and say that these people contribute more than other people. I just don’t see how people that have contributed the same thing year after year are any less valuable than people who may have some new and interesting idea to bring that we just don’t know about yet.
That’s a bummer.
Yeah, me and my wife didn’t even bother this year. We just decided we’ll go to Symbiosis [Gathering], that other festival.
Yeah, that sounds like a cool project. Will that be like this year’s Burning Man for you?
Yes, five to six days of music and art? It will be cool. That and Bounce Festival we managed to get into.
So what other cool programs are you doing with Reno Burners?
Right now we have the grant for the seating program. We’re just focusing on expanding events we already do to hopefully raise more funds for more local events. We really try to promote non-Burning Man artists as well. We really encourage people who may not be going to Burning Man, and may not be doing their art specifically for Burning Man events. We want artists who still want to benefit local Reno area. Whatever they’re doing around here is what we really want to give to, not just Burning Man-related stuff. And we give out to lots of charities, to art programs for schools, music programs. We’re just promoting creativity in the area.