Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus Hosts Burning Man Co-Founder

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus will host a discussion on Friday, May 31, with one of the founders of the annual Burning Man festival, an event that draws more than 70,000 people to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada for a week of creative expression, at a fundraising event to support the renovation of the campus. The event, "The Art of Community: A Discussion with Burning Man Co-Founder Michael Mikel," is a unique opportunity to learn about the "10 Principles of Burning Man" and how they can apply to permanent communities and placemaking.

"Burning Man is a three-decades-long experiment in creative collaboration," said Michael Mikel. "It can provide important lessons for our time; lessons about community building, civic innovation, arts and culture."

  • Michael Mikel (M2) is best known by his playa persona at Burning Man, "Danger Ranger." He is both an historian and futurist with an interest in technology and social communities. He serves Burning Man as director of advanced social systems and is an Ambassador and speaker for the organization, as well as serves on its board of directors. M2 will speak on the 10 Principles (10P) of Burning Man, which were crafted in 2004 to help guide a growing network of participants and regional events. Such tenets as valuing creative collaboration and cooperation and welcoming all to participate, reflect the community's ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event's inception in 1986.
  • Burning Man has become well-known for the large-scale works of art that are created for the event. The organization supports the creation of "impactful, interactive artwork around the world through art grants, mentorship, and art management programs. Last year, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., hosted an exhibition of work from the festival entitled "No Spectators: the Art of Burning Man," calling Burning Man "one of the most influential phenomenon in contemporary American art and culture." The exhibit opened at the Cincinnati Art Museum in April and will run through Sept. 2. It then moves to the Oakland Museum of California.


"At Coventry P.E.A.C.E., we are seeking to create a sustainable, supportive and collaborative environment for the community to create, share, learn and grow. We see a lot of parallels with the kind of environment that the Burning Man culture supports," said Deanna Bremer Fisher, Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus president and executive director of FutureHeights, one of six nonprofit organizations housed at the property.

In addition to the talk, Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus will offer tours of the building and a free screening of the film "Spark: a Burning Man Story" in Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park.

The event will benefit Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, which is embarking on a facilities planning process that it hopes will lead to a land lease with Heights Libraries, the renovation of its 1970s-era building, and its self-sustaining operation. A former elementary school in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, the building was closed as a school in 2007 and subsequently rented to a diverse group of arts and community nonprofit organizations. In 2018, the district sold the property, which includes the building, a playground and green space, to Heights Libraries, whose Coventry Village branch is immediately adjacent to the property and who has given the tenants the bridge they needed to create a shared future.

The nonprofit members of Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus are Ensemble Theatre, ARTFUL, Family Connections, Lake Erie Ink, FutureHeights and Reaching Heights. The campus provides a sustainable, supportive, and collaborative environment for these organizations that offer artistic and educational opportunities, as well as community services, for residents of the Heights and Greater Cleveland. Their goal is to transform the building into a modern and self- sustaining arts, culture, education and incubation center, which will interact with an improved playground and park, be open to all, and capable of hosting even more community events. With thoughtful creative placemaking, Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus seeks to solidify Cleveland Heights' reputation as "Home to the Arts."

More information and tickets for the fundraiser, which begin at $50, are available at http://coventrypeacecampus.org/events/the-art-of-community-fundraiser/.

The program begins with a Meet & Greet with Michael Mikel for PEACE Maker ticket holders at 6 p.m. The talk will take place at 7 p.m. The movie screening, which is free and open to the public, will take place at approximately 9 p.m. in the park. The movie is not rated and may not be suitable for children.



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