Creative Grants

Apogaea 2024: This Year's Art


All dates & deadlines below are at 12:00 PM MT!

  • 5/30/24:  Drone Registration Closes
  • 6/3/24:  Last Day for Ticket Transfers and Exchanges

The Apogaea Creative Grant Program

Apogaea’s primary goal is to maintain a community that cultivates interest in and pursuit of art, music, and artistic expression.  To help foster this creative community, each year, Apogaea returns a percentage of its ticket revenue to artists in the form of grants because we know it often takes cold, hard cash to make things happen.  Each year’s event is seeded with creativity and artistic expression by returning a part of the event’s ticket revenue to artists through the fair distribution of creative grants.  Grant funds can be used for almost any type of powerful and unique art including, but not limited to: sculpture, theme camps, sound camps, performance art, workshops, and mutant vehicles.  We encourage creativity regardless of the idea’s size and scope by providing multiple grant rounds targeting different needs.  Even if you don’t think of yourself as an “artist,” but need some financial assistance to get your creative idea to Apogaea, we might be able to help.

CATS (Creative Art Team Support) is a diverse cross-section of the community that volunteers with Apogaea year-round by managing the grant process and artist support for Apogaea, Inc.  A Conflict of Interest Policy is in place to help ensure that when actual or potential conflicts of interest arise, the organization has a process to follow.  Anyone interested in discussing art and Apogaea is invited to fill out an application to join CATS.  In June, watch the website or your favorite source of official Apogaea news for the announcement that we’re accepting applications.

Distributing a significant amount of the community’s money to artists deserves a process providing 100% transparency.  The most current processes, policies, and grant related information are found on this page.  Each year, CATS provides a report describing the process, decisions, and disbursements in detail.

Apply for a Grant!

Interested in applying for a creative grant?  Get started by checking out what we have funded in the past.  That will give you an idea of what types of projects we have actually given money to, what information we will be asking you to provide, how detailed your answers should be, among other things.  We also provide some suggestions for grant writing success.

It is important to remember that we don’t just give money to everyone that applies. Believe me, just dividing up the money would be a lot easier for everyone involved. Unfortunately, we receive requests for FAR more money than we have to give out which means we actually have to decline MANY, MANY applications.  In 2015, only 40% of applicants received a grant – we had to decline over half of the applications we received!  In the end, applications are weighed against others, ultimately being selected or declined by the entire CATS committee, each of whom has only a single vote.  Every application we receive is considered equally.

In general, grants are awarded to ideas/projects that:

  • Stand out from the other applications and are novel/unique
  • Are most likely to be completed and installed by the time the event starts, will be operational throughout the event, and will practice Leave No Trace when departing the event
  • Are interactive, engage a significant portion of the event population, and WILL BLOW YOUR MIND
  • Take Apogaea’s challenging geography and fire bans into account
  • Are a good value for the grant money we are offering
  • Appeal to the majority of a dozen+ people sitting on the selection committee

Everyone is eligible to receive an Apogaea grant EXCEPT individuals or individuals belonging to these groups within Apogaea, Inc.:

If you have questions about the grant process, email [email protected] for assistance.

Grant Rounds

CATS (8)

The current two-round grant scheme was implemented with the intent of supporting the opposing goals: “We should fund a smaller number of larger projects” and “We should fund a larger number of smaller projects.”  The Big Money round was fully intended to support ambitious projects, and yes, that means fewer numbers of bigger pieces will receive grants. The Seed Money round was intended to fall more in the direction of the second point – supporting more smaller projects by new artists who are just getting started with their public art, or artists who just have simpler projects in mind.

Any grant amount greater than $1,500.00 will be paid in multiple installments based on successful completion of pre-defined project milestones. The larger the amount of the grant, the earlier you needed to apply for the grant. This allows Apogaea to divide the total grant amount into two or more payments that will be awarded upon successful completion of pre-defined project milestones instead of paying artists one lump sum payment and hoping they show up to the event 6 months later.

Do’s And Don’ts For Grant Funding

Things that ARE NOT funded by Apogaea grants:

  • Apogaea tickets
  • Any intoxicants such as alcohol or marijuana
  • Anything illegal
  • Payment for artist time or for performers to appear
  • Gifts or swag
  • Camp infrastructure without a strong artistic component
  • Projects with applications that are not complete and received by the deadline – i.e. fully itemized budget, thoroughly thought out safety plans, detailed physical descriptions, etc.
  • Art not being shown at Apogaea
  • Anything that, in the opinion of CATS or the Apogaea Board of Directors, presents a safety risk to participants

Things that ARE funded by Apogaea grants:

CATS tries to keep an open mind when considering what is eligible for grant funds.  While basic needs/infrastructure like generators, domes, furniture, etc. are currently eligible for grant funds, it is important to realize that a grant for a new camp generator, or to fix your camp’s broken shower, might not be as appealing to the majority of CATS as a grant to something that is more in line with what we have funded in the past.

Grant funds CAN be used for anything that is NOT specifically prohibited by the list above.  This includes, but is not limited to the following types of items:

  • Raw materials necessary to the construction or exhibition of the art including, but not limited to: wood, metal, fabric, glass, lighting, electronics, nails, screws, bolts, nuts, washers, adhesives, paint, wire, cable, tubing, stakes, decorative items, etc.
  • Consumable items that are depleted during the construction or exhibition of the art including, but not limited to: sandpaper, saw blades, drill bits, glue, paint brushes, propane for fire art used at the event, fuel for generators used at the event
  • Food and non-alcoholic beverages.  Any food grant is subject to the grantee complying with (and being able to demonstrate compliance with) all applicable state and local laws.
  • Project expenses such as warehouse/vehicle/trailer/equipment rental and fuel used to bring your project to and from Apogaea

Requirements for all grant recipients

Grant recipients are required to sign a binding legal contract that includes, but is not limited to, the following requirements for the grant recipient:

  • Project is complete and installed or ready to perform before the event opens through the end of the event
  • Pay for all costs to remove the project and/or restore the location after the event
  • Responsible for all project expenses
  • Ensure that the project does not pose unreasonable risk of harm
  • Supervise the project as needed
  • Indemnify Apogaea, Inc. from any claim of damages
  • Abide by instructions given by Apogaea, Inc.
  • Abide by any local fire bans
  • Respond to communications in a timely manner
  • Submit requests to vary the install date in writing at least 14 days before the event
  • Submit photos showing the project installed at Apogaea
  • Return the grant to Apogaea, Inc. if the project is not completed, installed, and/or performed at the event as described
  • Allow Apogaea to inspect the project upon reasonable notice
  • Report and pay any taxes on the grant

Additional Requirements for Effigy and Temple Grants

Apogaea awards grants for an Effigy and a Temple in the Big Money Round. If you feel that the Effigy or Temple is an important part of Apogaea, get your project idea and budget together and let Apogaea help you fund it!

There will be no ember producing fires allowed at the venue. We are open to ALL ideas, especially those addressing Colorado’s climate and event location in a creative way, including, but not limited to, propane art, smaller burnable sub-structures, art that breaks down to a small storage footprint, performances, creative lighting, or basically ANYTHING that isn’t just a large wood structure we won’t be able to burn.

Effigy and Temple Teams and any other fire art teams are responsible for:

  • Keeping fire in allowed fire areas. This is subject to change every year.
  • Reading the Apogaea BAMF Fire Art Guidelines.
  • Providing a detailed burn plan (please request template) that answers questions like: How will your burn progress from beginning to end? How and where will you store the fuel/flammable materials? Where will fire suppression equipment be located?
  • Providing a detailed contingency plan that answers questions like: How you will handle burn restrictions?
  • Coordinating with the Rangers, BAMF, Fire Performance Leads, and any other Ignition Leads necessary to establish a coordinated burn plan and burn perimeter.
  • Providing your own lights, generator, and fuel for lighting the project at night.

Effigy and Temple Ownership

This is subject to change every year. In the past, Apogaea has mandated that Effigies and, in some cases, the Temple, be treated as commissioned art that is owned by Apogaea. Now, and in the interest of opening the Temple and Effigy application process to a wider variety of projects, Apogaea requests that you propose, as part of your application, whether you envision owning the Temple/Effigy upon completion and what you envision being done with it (should it be burned, stored by Apogaea and brought back for future years, taken to another event and burned, etc.?) and how you plan to address the logistics involved. As with all aspects of your proposal, Apogaea may negotiate changes to your preferences. The final project, as mutually determined by you and Apogaea, will be reflected in a written contract before the grant is awarded. In all cases, the artist will be responsible for transporting their project to the Apogaea event in June and setting it up.

If you are selected to build the Effigy or Temple, before the grant is awarded, you must negotiate ownership of the art with the Apogaea Board of Directors. Because the art cannot be burned, someone has to take ownership of the art and remove it from the land, store it, and possibly bring it back the following year.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

We fund any type of powerful and unique art!  This includes but is not limited to sculpture, theme camps, sound, performance art, workshops, and mutant vehicles.  Check out what we have funded in the past!

CATS are required to abstain from discussing, scoring, and voting on any applications with which they have a conflict of interest. A Conflict of Interest Policy is in place to help ensure that when actual or potential conflicts of interest arise, the organization has a process in place under which the affected individual will always advise the Board of Directors about all the relevant facts concerning the situation. This Conflict of Interest policy is also intended to establish procedures under which individuals who have a conflict of interest will be excused from voting on such matters.

Maybe. The creative grant process is very competitive. We receive requests for MANY, MANY times the amount of money we have to offer as grants which means we have to say no to MANY, MANY projects.

The grant process is administered by CATS (Creative Art Team Support) who are a diverse cross-section of volunteers from the Apogaea community. Members of CATS provide impartial and critical consideration to each proposal. We encourage lively deliberation until we find consensus on what best serves the community attending Apogaea.

Unfortunately we receive far too many applications to give out individual assessments outside of the normal grant rounds. Submit a grant application outlining your idea. If we feel that it enhances the event, we might agree to fund it. If you submit in an early round, you can use any feedback received to adjust your application and re-submit in following rounds.

A more complete and detailed budget shows the committee that your project is well-thought out and researched. You might want to visit art supply or hardware stores to estimate your costs. The budget does not need to be exact to the penny, but a budget asking for $500 for “general materials” will be less competitive than one that shows careful consideration of the elements needed and research on costs.

None of these things are required, but they are highly recommended. A visual representation of your concept will help the CATS more fully understand your project. There is no such thing as too much information about your project. This can be a picture, a model, a sketch, a video, take a picture with your phone of a drawing on a napkin, etc.

In the past, artists have been awarded grants between $30.00 and $10,000.00, but there is no set maximum grant amount. The exact amount depends on your budget, the scope of your project, and how CATS feels about the feasibility of and community interest in your project. There is no official upper limit to your grant as long as it falls within the total amount of money budgeted by the Board of Directors for distribution as grants.

Do not pad your budget to $X in hopes of receiving the smaller amount, $Y.

We encourage an honest dialog when discussing funds. Tell us how much you want, and we try to honor that. If you really need $1,000.00 in grant funds and can justify that in your budget, we want to give you that amount. We won’t assume you can do it for $400.00 and that you’ll just figure out the rest. If you provide good/better/best options with prices for each, your application has more chances for success.

We try to fund as many artists as we can and every year the total requested is greater than the budget. We encourage you to provide additional funding options in your application; giving the selection committee options is beneficial. Often times we are faced with choosing between multiple grants with similar merits. If we have some flexibility, like giving you less money for a smaller version, etc. you are more likely to receive funding than if you are less flexible.

Many applicants also supplement their grant by charging camp dues and holding fundraisers on websites such as or We recommend you have these funds in hand when including them on your grant application. If they are not secured, you should indicate your backup plan in case you aren’t able to achieve your funding goal.

Do not pad your budget to $X in hopes of receiving the smaller amount, $Y.

We encourage an honest dialog when discussing funds. Tell us how much you want, and we try to honor that. If you really need $1,000.00 in grant funds and can justify that in your budget, we want to give you that amount. We won’t assume you can do it for $400.00 and that you’ll just figure out the rest. If you provide good/better/best options with prices for each, your application has more chances for success.

Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. —Benjamin Franklin

Any artist that receives a grant that is $600 or more will have to fill out a W-9. The regulations can be found at (PDF), with the specific requirements listed on the first page as “At least $600 in rents, services (including parts and materials), prizes and awards, other income payments…”

Of course! We welcome new members and artists to the Apogaea community. And while the application asks for a description of “accomplishments,” having completed a project before is not a requirement. We’d just like assurance that you’re capable of delivering your project as described. List your skills and tell us why you’ll be able to complete your project.

Hell yeah! Apogaea is a participatory environment – participate, don’t spectate. Whether it’s spontaneous haiku readings or an incredible costume you’ve put together, please bring your artwork to share with the community. Apogaea is all about creativity and participation. Be sure to watch or sign up for the Outpost Newsletter for an announcement regarding how to register your art.

Incomplete applications will not be considered. If you don’t answer all of the questions or provide an itemized budget, it’s unlikely we will consider funding your project.

Late applications will not be considered. Do not wait until the last minute to submit your application or contract. An advantage to submitting your application early is that your liaison can work with you to resolve any questions about your application before grants are awarded. When you wait until the last minute, it doesn’t leave any time to fix any problems that might arise.

Unfortunately, no. The only way we can be impartial is to honor all of our deadlines. Don’t wait until the last minute and you’ll probably be fine.

  • If applying for more than one round, applicants must submit a separate grant application for each round.
  • Applications will be for review and discussion by CATS. CATS can ask the applicant questions about the project.
  • CATS nominates and votes on applications individually.
  • CATS will be required to abstain from voting where there is a conflict of interest.
  • Projects receiving a majority vote will be funded by assigning a dollar amount to award the project.
  • Grant recipients receiving more than $1,500.00 might be asked to meet milestones before receiving additional grant funds.
  • There is a two week review period during which the list of grants is presented to the Finance Committee and Board of Directors for review. If there are any issues, the Grant Meow should be informed in writing of the specific concerns before the review period ends.
  • The Board of Directors approves the list of grants and contracts are sent to each grant recipient. The grant recipient must sign, scan/photograph the signed document, and mail the image to Apogaea before the due date in the contract.
  • Grants over $600 will be required to fill out a W-9 (PDF). This means the artist will be responsible for paying taxes on their grant income. Apogaea does not provide tax advice. The grant recipient should consult with a tax professional for advice on reducing their tax burden. (We will comply with all tax requirements)
  • After the contract is signed and returned to Apogaea, a check will be mailed to the recipient for the amount of the grant.
  • Grantees will be required to provide photographs of their project at Apogaea.
  • Projects may also be subject to other special requirements made by the county, local authorities, the landowner, and Apogaea. This may include but is not limited to fire bans, large scale sound authorization, and mutant vehicle permits.

We encourage freedom of expression in how you present your project to CATS, but you must answer each of the grant application questions with enough sincerity to assure us that we are investing in a viable project. Humor is appreciated but please humor us with some confidence in the scope of your project as well as your ability to complete it and get it to the event.

1. Contact information (Legal Name, Email, Phone, Address, etc)

2. Project Name and other basic information about the project

3. Describe your idea/project: This is your opportunity to tell us about your idea in general terms. We have WAY more requests for money than we have money to give out. Help us understand what sets your project apart from the other applications we receive.

CATS will score your response using the following criteria:

  • The idea is appealing and engages the event population
  • The idea is novel/unique
  • The idea is interactive
  • The idea creates excitement
  • The idea inspires others
  • The idea inspires reflection upon self, community, and/or environment
  • The idea challenges traditional perspectives, methods, and/or applications

4. Describe your project’s logistical and placement requirements: Bringing a project to an event like Apogaea can be difficult. A great idea isn’t worth much if you aren’t able to get it installed before the event is over. What challenges do you foresee for your project? This is your opportunity to tell us how you plan on building, transporting, installing, and keeping your project operational at the event. If your project has any unique requirements, like needing specific placement, heavy machinery, etc., let us know that too.

CATS will score your response using the following criteria:

  • Your project’s placement needs (length, width, and height), including and public/camping areas and the approximate number of people camping with you if you want to camp with your project/installation are adequately described
  • The placement requirements and why any special accommodations are needed, if applicable, are complete
  • There is a realistic, detailed project timeline It is possible to execute the project at the event location
  • There is a plan for getting the project to and from the event
  • The project is protected from theft or damage
  • The project is protected from inclement weather
  • There is a detailed Leave No Trace plan
  • There are safeguards in place to help keep the project from becoming MOOP

5. Describe how you plan to execute your project safely at the event: Apogaea cannot fund any project that, in the opinion of CATS or Apogaea Board of Directors, presents a safety risk to participants. Any project with fire or flame effects, including the Effigy and Temple, should read the BAMF 2015 Fire Art Guidelines. Safety is an important part of your application. Apogaea will ultimately not fund anything that is deemed unsafe. It is important to outline how your project will be safe by describing its construction and any relevant safety features.

CATS will score your response using the following criteria:

  • The project is reasonably safe
  • The project will be properly lit at night
  • There are no health hazards or danger to the environment
  • Proper construction methods and appropriate materials are used
  • The project includes reasonable structural safeguards to prevent injury
  • The project will withstand a population of 2,000 people over the course of a week

If your project includes fire:

  • How and where will you store the fuel/flammable materials is provided
  • Fire suppression equipment will be located is provided

If your project is being considered for the Effigy or Temple:

  • A detailed burn plan that describes how the burn will progress from start to finish is provided
  • A detailed burn ban contingency plan in the event your project can not be burned at the event is provided

6. Tell us about yourself and any other creative bad asses helping you with your idea/project: We’d love to hear about other projects you’ve successfully completed or see pictures of past work. Demonstrating that you can get your project installed and functional at the event is important to us.

CATS will score your response using the following criteria:

  • There is a solid team in place that will be able to realize the project
  • The team seems able to complete the project and bring it to the event
  • The team has been successful in the past with other projects (even those outside of Apogaea/Burning Man)
  • The team has had previous works installed and operational by the beginning of past events
  • Images, videos, or other examples of their past work are provided

7. Budget: A budget is a requirement for all applications. It is important for us to know that you have accounted for all of the funds your project requires. We encourage projects to seek additional sources of funding such as fundraising, individual contributions, etc. to help offset the total cost of a project.

CATS will score your response using the following criteria:

  • The budget is complete and well thought out
  • The budget indicates how the project will be funded
  • The project uses additional sources of funding such as fundraising, contributions, etc.
  • There are multiple funding options for your project. (It can be beneficial to include a base amount as well as a “for $X more we can do this too” option.)
  • This project is a responsible use of Apogaea’s money

Grants are selected by the grant selection committee, CATS (Creative Art Team Support). CATS is comprised of 8+ volunteers working year-round representing a diverse cross-section of the Apogaea community.

In 2015, we had 106 grant applications requesting around $216,000.00 in grant funds, and only had $55,000.00 to give out. We receive a lot of really amazing ideas, but some ideas and projects resonate more with the CATS than others. It is possible that your idea might not resonate with as many CATS as other projects. That does not mean we do not like your idea.

A list of criteria accompany each question. CATS members rank your responses by selecting criteria they feel are representative of your response – one point per item selected. The application’s score is the sum of the selections for each question.

CATS rank the scored applications and use the ordered list to guide discussion about individual projects. Individual applications are nominated by CATS and are voted on individually. If the application receives a majority vote, the application will be recommended to the Board of Directors for funding. Nominations continue until funds for the round are depleted.

There are two competing ideas in CATS, which get hashed back and forth in considerable detail each meeting. Each is valid, and has a valid argument, but are still at odds with each other:

1. We should fund a smaller number of larger projects

Why? If we want serious, and ambitious art, then we need to be prepared to give out a small number of large grants to the most ambitious projects. You don’t build massive projects taking months of work by large teams with sophisticated construction and interactions by handing out $600 grants. “This isn’t a craft fair, This stuff is supposed to blow your mind, and sometimes that costs more.”

2. We should fund a larger number of smaller projects

Why? The creative grant process exists partly as a way to support our community’s “new” artists – people who have good projects in mind and just need a little funding to get rolling. Funding many small projects gives the most number of people that shot, ultimately resulting in more art. “We aren’t here to support only established artists with big plans, a complete support network, and lots of experience – we are here to encourage artistic expression among all participants, which means supporting more smaller projects.”

Both of these arguments are valid.

The current three-round grant scheme was implemented with the intent of supporting both of these opposing goals. The Ludicrous round was fully intended support ambitious projects, and yes, that means fewer numbers of bigger pieces. The Big Money and Seed Money rounds were intended to fall more in the direction of the second point – spreading funds around to support new artists who are just getting started with their public art, or who just have simpler projects in mind.

Before the grant rounds are opened, CATS allocates a minimum amount for each round to ensure money is available for every round. Any ungranted funds from a round are allocated by voting to either: pass the funds on to the next round, reallocate the funds to other projects from previous rounds, or return the funds to Apogaea.

You betcha!  Take a look at the applications below from past years at Apo.

Luminexus Grant Application (2014 Ludicrous Money Round)
poeTree Grant Application (2014 Seed Money Round)
Throne of the Emergent Multitude Grant Application (2014 Ludicrous Money Round)
Church of Prometheus Application (2015 Ludicrous Money Round)
Synchrotensegrity (2015 Big Money Round)

Generally speaking, we cannot currently have ember-producing fires at Apogaea. For instance, we cannot burn large wood structures during the event) at the current venue. However, people get creative in ways to feel the burn without making everything around us burn. Giant flame effects, ceremonies, and lighting are some of the ways people have worked to make our burn feel burnier. You will need to transport your large wood structures back off the property, though.

We encourage fire artists to consider propane, as that will often be allowed on the current land. We encourage all fire artists to have a back-up plan in the event that no fire is permitted at the event. This can include, but isn’t limited to, using lighting effects, sound, or other non-fire means that will be able to operate independently of any fire ban.

Bottom line: a project that has fire and a “no burn option” is generally more attractive to the grant selection entity than fire projects that are one-trick ponies.

Please read Apogaea’s Fire Art Guidelines if you are considering bringing fire art to Apogaea.

Please check out these links + resources for advice and assistance with writing your art grant. If you’ve got any further questions, please reach out to CATS at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you and are happy to help. Yay art!

View “So Rachel’s Tips for Writing and WINNING Art Grants”
View “Constructive Criticism and You”

Apogaea Grant History

YearTotal Grant BudgetTotal Funds RequestedPrevious Year’s Gross Ticket RevenueGrant % Of RevenueApplications ReceivedGrants Awarded