Hannah Lewis Receives Grant To Create Art Installation for Burning Man Festival
Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, Hannah Lewis attended Seattle Pacific University and Art Institute of Seattle before enrolling at FIDM. She completed an A.A. in Visual Communications in 2020, and recently received a grant to build a Tiny Home at the annual arts festival Burning Man. As the festival has grown over the years, it is renowned as a Modern American art movement and largest large scale installation gallery, spanning seven square miles and hosting over 400 art installations every year. Over $1.3 million in ticket sales helps fund 75 of these installations for the Honoraria Art Grant, which received 691 applications this year. We checked in with Hannah to learn more.
Tell us about the grant you received to build a Tiny Home at Burning Man: Burning Man is an annual arts festival in the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada. Though the festival has grown and changed since its inception in 1986, today 75,000 people gather to build a full-running city for one week until it disappears, leaving no trace until the following year. As the festival has grown over the years, it is renowned as a Modern American art movement and largest large scale installation gallery, spanning seven square miles and hosting over 400 art installations every year. Over $1.3 million in ticket sales helps fund 75 of these installations for the Honoraria Art Grant, which received 691 applications this year. Much of the art selected echoes Burning Man’s ethos of communal participation, inclusion, and sustainability. I am honored as both a female-led team and sustainable project to be included in this year's Honorarium. This is my 6th year attending Burning Man and 5th year working as a volunteer for the ARTery, Burning Man's art management team. Working for the ARTery as a docent and artist support has been the most impactful part of my experience over the years, and I as well accepted a leadership role with the team this year. I couldn't be more excited for these opportunities to be a part of the art in an even bigger way!
Describe your tiny home art installation: My project, titled “We Must Sleep In It,” will be a tiny home constructed out of repurposed fashion and home furnishing waste, completely powered by solar energy. It will stand 12 feet wide, 10 feet deep, and 10 feet high. The walls will be constructed of bricks of neatly folded clothing sewn together, and the roof will be a canopy of quilted garments. Inside will be a bed, chair, reading lamp and bookcase. Nest eggs of information about the detrimental environmental and societal impact will be found throughout: a quilt printed with images of the horrors of the Rana Plaza factory collapse and a photo album filled with photos of the environmental damages such as the cerulean blue rivers of denim runoff and Atacama Desert clothes mountains. The bookcase will as well be filled with educational reading materials surrounding these issues. The size and structure of the house is to be reflective of the living conditions of garment workers globally, with entire extended families often surviving in these small spaces on just a few dollars a day. My intention is to educate, creating conversation about the consumerist choices we make every day to help incite changes in the way we consume. Sartorial presentation is our most accessible form of expression, but at what cost? We are building a world of waste, and We Must Sleep In It.
How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? Though I have always expressed myself through fashion and mixed media arts, I struggled to incorporate the two after leaving my career in Visual Merchandising to finish my degree at FIDM while working as a wardrobe stylist. Through the prop, set and installation courses in the Visual Communications program, I was able to find a new outlet and new career. I have been working as a prop stylist and set designer since graduating, and without that foundation would not have had the confidence to create a large-scale installation like “We Must Sleep In It”. I am thrilled to have my alma mater be so supportive on this journey and hope to work further with the FIDM community to help bring this piece to life and work towards a more sustainable fashion future.
Anything else you'd like to share? Though the Honoraria Grant provides a portion of the financial need for projects, I still have quite a way to go fundraising. This helps fund structural materials, lighting and solar, transportation costs, build and storage space, as well as support for the build crew during installation and strike. I am still sourcing donations in the form of clothing, deadstock fabric, home textiles and furniture in the Los Angeles area. Financial donations are welcome and the project can be followed on Instagram at @wemustsleepinitbrc. Any questions, comments, or materials donations can be directed to email@example.com.