Category Archives: The Arts

Any posts related to art or the arts.

Introducing the 2017 Effigy and Temple!

CATS is currently busy reviewing and scoring 25 Seed Round grant applications, we’ll announce those projects mid April.   But in the meantime we’re excited to announce this year’s Effigy and Temple!  



Heart of Gold (Effigy)

by Mark Switzer and Jules Pellerin, in loving memory of Skyler and Isabel

Heart of Gold is a beautifully profound sculpture with several advanced flame effects (and surprises) for the 2017 Apogaea Effigy. Heart of Gold will be a collaborative piece of art, allowing community members to get involved in creating and operating the piece, offering opportunities for both new and experienced artists to learn more about the fire arts and fabrication skills. The core sculpture of Heart of Gold is also a gift to the Apogaea community and will be left in the care of Apogaea to use for future events as desired.

Click here for more information on the Apogaea effigy.




Hotaru no Hikari: The Firefly Temple

by Andrea Pliner and Tom Varani

The Firefly Temple embraces the Japanese Temple aesthetic, participants will have the opportunity to decorate one of the hundreds of flickering lanterns that will glow throughout the event. 

Click here for more information on the Apogaea temple


Apogaea Art Fair

When: April 23, 2017 Noon to 5pm

Where: City Park Pavilion in Denver

Calling all artists and theme camps! We want you to share your art and ideas at the 2017 Apogaea Art Fair being held in conjunction with The Fantastic Hosts’ Rumpus in the Park. Come engage the community and collect volunteers, materials, funding, and anything else you may need to make your project a success! Contact to reserve your space.
For more information please check out the Art Fair page:

Big Money Grantees Announced/Seed Money Round(Closed)

We are excited to announce the grant recipients of the BIG MONEY Art Grant Round. CATS received 43 grant applications for over $155,000 in requested funds for this round. While budgetary constraints keep us from funding every artistic dream, we are excited to announce 9 BIG MONEY artistic endeavors have been funded this year. We look forward a great year of BIG ART (it’s gonna be yuge) at Apogaea!  

Reminder: The Seed Money Grant Round (projects requesting funding $599 and under) opens on Tuesday, 2/28/17 and closes on Tuesday, 3/14/17.  There’s still time to fund your creative visions, follow this link to create your profile and start your application on February 28th. Looking for tips on how to write a winning grant application? Check out our FAQ here (link to: or email the committee at with any questions.

Stay tuned for details on this year’s   Effigy and Temple they will arrive in their own very special announcement in a few days. For now, without further ado, allow us to present the rest of this year’s 2017 BIG MONEY GRANTEES!

Speleo Mountain
Artists: Piper Merriam, Ian Bates, Seth Herd, Pete Lyons, David Pichara, Diana Sabreen and Fractal Tribe

A whole mountain of cubes for you to climb, dance, and play.


Outside In

Artists: Jeff Merkel and the Signal-to-Noise Labs sci-art collective

Outside In is a unique audio immersive environment that envelops the artists and audiences in three dimensional audio soundscapes, transporting visitors, artists, and musicians on acoustic journeys overlain upon the real-world local environment.

Outside In is about merging and blurring environments, people, and experiences. There is no audience and artist separation; the artist/performer becomes part of the audience and the audience participates in and sometimes is the performance. There is no separation of the performance from external environments; sights, sounds, and smells are invited in and becomes part of the unique and transient performance, never to be exactly repeated. The outside is brought in…

The Queen of the Night
Artists: Caitlin Morris and Joshua Birkmaier

With this installation, we offer a space where shamanistic healing can be explored.  A place where we can take ahold of our journey together by provide a catalyst to our shared experience with this representation of the unique beauty that exists within our temporal boundaries. The center piece of this installation is an artistic representation of a Selenicereus Grandiflorus, a desert flower that only blooms for one night once a year commonly known as “The Queen of the Night.” This plant will be depicted in steel with a low-poly design and will feature flame effects in the blossom and in the stems in the center of the plant.  This short-lived plant articulates the ephemeral nature of our experience with this place and time and we seek to inspire a sense of immediacy. The flower will sit atop a large steel mandala podium. We would like to further set this intention of immediacy with ornate designs as well as phrases that will be hand plasma-cut into the sides of the mandala. This installation will also bring back two sculptures from Apogaea 2016, The Crystalline Obelisks but with a new explosive and interactive twist.

Club Smash Club
Artists: Todd Oliver and Metal Camp

A cathartic release through carnal expression. To smash hate, smash prejudice, and disposable culture. To hone human form with new tools. To provide a unique and immersive environment. Long live metal! (just got domain, site to come)

Mercury Touchstone
Artists: Bad Asstronauts , Brian Weatherhead (artist)

12’ Interactive space rocket covered in 6,000 LEDs.

Artists: John English, Austin Glaser, Kevin McWilliams, and crew

SoundPuddle is an interactive space of visual-acoustic synesthesia. This spectrographically colorful dome illuminates sound on an immersive canopy of light. Visualize spectral shapes of sound with any noise you can make.

This established art installation is being redesigned from the ground up, with a much larger LED array and entirely new custom circuit boards. The updated installation will be roughly eight times greater in LED resolution, 32 times faster in its visual update speed, and 100 times faster in its audio analysis rate. This performance upgrade will reveal rich and meaningful features of sound that have have been missing from SoundPuddle until now, such as the subtleties of vibrato, the first crash of percussion, or musical harmonics that span the full frequency range of human hearing.This is the perfect place to bring your musical instruments and selves for a unique and mind-warping sensory experience. You will laugh, shout, and sing as thousands of solar powered LEDs unify your ears and eyes.

Photo by Bri Erger

Artist:  Evan Beloni

Bon*fire is a series of small fire sculptures that come together to form an array of LPG fire, dazzling lights and most importantly: Water.  A clear plenum houses a column of water with propane bubbles rising from the bottom. The propane bubbles burst at the surface, mix with air then burn off. This bubbling also creates a calming sound, somewhat like a flowing creek. Further mesmerizing display is provided by color changing lights illuminating through the bubbling water.  Large flame poofing and interactivity will also be involved.

All of You
Artists: Mike Lustig

All of You is a semi-circle arrangement of 6 mirrored-mosaics. Participants can experiment with distance, angle, and motion to experience fragmented expansion, separated replication, and strobing of movement. As a viewer moves further from the installation, their reflection inverts, and then disintegrates into an abstract arrangement of light. All of You will be continuously influenced by sky light and its surrounding environment. My goal is to catalyze the consideration of an expansive, shared, ever-changing existence.

Almighty Lite-brite
Artists: Jill Katzenberger and Piper Merriam

Remember building unicorns and rainbows on your lite brite, sequestered from the sunlight (and your siblings) in the closet, back when life was simple and cough syrup tasted like candy?  Well get ready to relive your fondest childhood memories on the ALMIGHTY LITE BRITE…a souped up and super scaled up lite brite for Apogaea’s young and young at heart.  Larger than a grown man…more pegs than you could moop in a drunken stupor…and enough light to power a very (very) small village.  

2017 Apo Ticket Art Contest

Aqeuous Mastadon by Araya Metzer 2016 Apogaea Ticket Design

The 2017 Apo Ticket Art contest is now open!!! The deadline for ticket art submissions is March 10th at 11:59 PM. The winner is guaranteed one full-price ticket to the 2017 event.
Submissions can be sent to

This year’s theme is
submitted by Johnny Wilco

Playful misinformation is generously given by Burners to the unsuspecting and unprepared. Question everything. Question nothing.

Art Guidelines:


  • File formats should be TIFF, EPS, PDF, or HIGH QUALITY JPG files.
  • Resolution should be at least 200dpi. We prefer higher resolution (300dpi).
  • Submissions will be judged based on concept, execution, and image quality.
  • Ticket design size: Please download the templates below for correct sizing.

Ticket design must include:

  • The name of the event, “Apogaea”
  • The Apogaea Logo, which you can download below in JPG format
  • This year’s theme name, “Propaganda”
  • Dates of the event: June 8th – 11th, 2017

PLEASE NOTE: It is very important to stay within the developing guidelines. Pulling images off the internet is usually not a good idea. Not only are those images usually lower quality images, but doing so without permission from the original artist is bad bacon. Copyrighted images are not accepted. 

Templates and Files

Holy CATS, Batman!!

photo by Slappedham (

BIG MONEY grant round closed

The Big Money art grant round is now officially closed and CATS has received a total of 43 grant applications for over $155,000 in requested funds! With just $45,000 in grants available for this round, we know we won’t be able to make all of your artistic dreams come true, but we are excited to help fund as much BIG art as possible for Apogaea 2017!

Artists, we’ve entered the Q&A round currently, followed by scoring, so keep an eye on your email for info about the next steps in the process.

We’ll be announcing the winners of Big Money grants in late February.

Coming up next… SEED MONEY grant round

For those of you who may have missed this round, or have a smaller artistic endeavor in mind for this year, keep an eye out for the Seed Money grant round that will be opening on February 28th. The Seed Money round will fund projects up to $599 and is available for all sorts of projects who need just a little bit of support to come to fruition. Details and reminders to come as we get closer.

Thanks again to the wonderful artists of Apogaea for all of their submissions. We’re excited to see all of the Art of Apogaea this year!

Apogaea 2017 Theme Contest now open!


Theme contest1Do your civic duty and participate!

Do you have an absolutely brilliant theme idea for Apogaea 2017? Do you want to avoid Moist 2.0? Send us your idea!

From now until 11:59 pm on January 25th, submit your ideas to Only one theme idea submission per person is allowed, so make your first bid your best bid. Please include a description with the theme idea for context.

The final theme will be voted on by Team Ignition and announced during the Ground Control Retreat on February 5th. The winner of the theme contest will win a free ticket to Apogaea 2017! Thanks for your participation and sharing your creativity!

Here’s where we went in years past:

2016: “Moist”

2014: “Emergence”

2013: “Alchemy”

2012: “Spiral”

2011: “Illuminate”

2010: “Artopolis”

2009: “Smells Like Community Spirit”

This is your last weekend to do your art grant! And what about burning?

original photo by Brian Edwards

original photo by Brian Edwards

The odds are currently in your favor:

As of Thursday afternoon 4pm we’ve received fewer complete applications than we can count on one paw.

We have $45,000 to give away in this round.

Do the furry paw math people, the odds are currently good.  Several CATS members look favorably on artists who submit their applications before the final hour since it shows you’ve got your act together. ::wink wink::

None of the applications we have received yet are for the temple or effigy.

The Effigy, and especially (italics) the Temple are important to many in the community, and we would love to see interpretations of them both at Apogaea 2017, on fire or not.  If you are inspired to create one of these centerpiece projects, we can help you make it happen.

So what about burning stuff?

Propane will be a yes. POOF—wooot!

Photo by aljoschathielen

Photo by aljoschathielen

Ember producing fires… Our chances for being allowed to burn things are as high as they will likely ever be. At the moment we don’t know anything for sure, but the landowner and the Fire Marshall were impressed last year and are rooting for us.
If possible, consider how to make your project successful without burning it, and make plans to potentially bring it back home with you. It’s possible we won’t know the burn status until the last minute.

Remember, the submission deadline for Big Money is January 17th, 2017 @ 11:59pm MT


Click here for all the details


Big Money Round Open

The grant application cycle for the Big Money Round is now open, December 17th, 2016 through January 17th, 2017 @ 11:59 pm (MST), for submissions (stay tuned to Art News or sign up for the Apogaea Outpost for more information). Grant recipients will be announced by February 22nd, 2017, with the goal of having all funds disbursed and in artists’ hands by that same week.

The Big Money Round is for larger projects which require more funding and support than offered by smaller $600 grants.  We want Apogaea art to blow people’s minds, and sometimes that requires greater grant funding. The Effigy and Temple are to be included/considered in this round.

In past years, the Big Money funding was held in two rounds called the Ludicrous Round and the Big Money round. Starting in 2017 there will be just the single Big Money round to allow for a more efficient grant process. The funds for the Ludicrous and Big Money round have been combined into the single Big Money round.

Details of the 2017 Big Money Round:

  • Funds available: $45,000
  • Any amount from $600 to $9,000.00
  • Accept applications: December 17th, 2016 – January 17th, 2017 @ 11:59pm (MT)
  • Winners announced and disbursements begin on or around February 22nd, 2017
  • Any funds not granted are passed on to the Seed Money Round
  • All grants over $1,500.00 will be paid in multiple installments based on the completion of pre-defined project milestones
  • All grant recipients receiving $600.00 or more must submit a W-9


More info on Creative Grants

Apogaea Art Grants 2017!!!


Welcome back Apogaeans!  In preparation for the 2017 event, CATS (Creative Art Team Support) is already at work updating our operational guidelines and setting up grant rounds so all of you lovely artists can hit the ground running flush with wads of cash to make amazing art.

Manifesto and Year End Report-

First up, we’ve issued the 2017 Manifesto that outlines how we go about funding art, what’s eligible, how to apply, and generally making our inner workings open to the public. We realize the community puts a great deal of money and trust in our hands and we remain committed to being as transparent as possible, sharing our Manifesto is vital to that.  

View/Download the manifesto here      

Also we’ve posted the Year End Report from the 2016 event here.  

Budget For Next Year’s Event-

The Board has approved $60,000 for art grants next year.  It breaks down as follows:

CATS is allotting $45,000 for the “Big Money Round” of projects needing $600-$9000. This round will include the effigy and temple submissions. The Big Money Round is now open, December 17th, and close at midnight on January 17.

Next is the “Seed Money Round” for grants $599 and under. The Seed Money Round will open February 28th and close at midnight on March 14th.

CATS is hiring

Photo by mtneer_man

Photo by mtneer_man

CATS is one of the few departments that meets year round, and after a winning Apogaea in 2016 it’s time to start thinking about next year. Before we can do that we need to recruit a few more CATS members! We have positions for both full grown meows (Ignition level) and kittens (Sparks level) depending on your interest and level of commitment.

Please keep in mind that being a CATS member is a labor intensive position! During grant rounds, members are required to spend many hours reading and grading applications, as well as in discussions online and offline.

In a typical year we’re looking for people passionate about helping in the following areas.  (May vary depending on each year’s staffing and funding level.)  You don’t need to be an expert at all of these things but these are the sort of skills we’re looking for:

  • Design of the grant application and scoring process
  • Ability to read and evaluate grants
  • Manage, track and disburse grants and reimbursements
  • Assist art crews with ticketing, transportation logistics, heavy equipment and special needs from DPW, placement and getting their projects listed in the WWWW
  • Outreach and communications: making sure both the community, artists, and wider burner universe know about opportunities at Apogaea.
  • Organize the annual art fair as well as art tour at Apo.
  • Strong knowledge of propane art and fire safety.
  • Survey design and information collection: CATS relies heavily on survey forms for both applications and feedback throughout the year

Can you commit to attending one meeting a month?  Do you work well with others?  Are you a good communicator?  Do you check your email regularly?  Do you like CATS?  Maybe you should apply.

Fill out this application by 11:59pm on Wednesday, August 10, 2016:

If you have any questions email .

Applications must be received before 11:59pm on Wednesday, August 10, 2016.  No exceptions.