Grant Judges

2018 Committee Judges

Rob “Robrob” Robinson (BURN Art Grants Committee Chair and Jury Moderator)
Currently one of four Burning Man Regional Contacts for Chicago, Rob is active in the community in a few ways-  Aside from chairing this committee, Rob is active with BURN OPs (hooray meetings!), the Sound Co-Lead at Lakes of Fire (Hooray Clipboards!), and a Black Rock Ranger in Black Rock City. He also co-runs a theme camp on playa with his wife called “Love Drippins” (it’s a real classy establishment)! Several years ago, Rob himself was a recipient of a BURN Art Grant for Shaft and Scroat, a dartboard that shot fire. It was pretty sweet.

Jim “Captain Zesty” Humay
Witty prose inbound!

More TBD
Interested in the gig? Email


Past Committee Judges

Alex Cohn (Former BURN Art Grants Committee Chair and Jury Moderator)
Alex grew up in the Chicago area and lived and worked in Boston, Los Angeles and Atlanta before moving back home to Chicago. He also is a founding member and the former CEO of illmeasures, inc. as well as an active member of Synchronicity. Alex is a founding member of the Viking Youth Power Hour, named Chicago’s favorite podcast by the readers of New City Magazine for three straight years. He is a founding member of the Radio Free Valhalla Burning Man theme camp and his interests include structural art, sculpture and green engineering. Alex has collaborated on several large scale projects including a 30’ bucky-dome and a 15’ tensegrity tower for display at Burning Man. He is also part-owner and operator of The Ragnarok, a full-size school bus converted to run on waste vegetable oil. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Film and Television from Boston University and a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems from Northwestern University.

Heather “Pynecone” Albekier
Heather is an urban transplant from the northern woods of the Midwest. She moved to Chicago in 1996 to attend college, receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in graphic design from Columbia College. She has worked professionally as a graphic designer since 1999, and is co-owner and -founder of HMA Design + Print (, an independent, family-owned and operated graphic design and printing business. In her spare time she utilizes photography, costuming, interior design and decorating as creative outlets. She has been a participant in the Burning Man community since 2005, joining the Uber-Carney crew in 2007. Heather enjoys participating in the local Burning community primarily by utilizing her creative talents, designing the 2008 and 2009 Resonate flyers, the tickets for LoF 2009 and the B.U.R.N. logo, and by creating wearable costume art for events.

Pat Hilander  (Former BURN Art Grants Committee Chair and Jury Moderator)
A longtime art director/dj/photographer/musician, Pat popped his Burning Man cherry in 1998, returning subsequent years to contribute to such playa projects as: Black Rock Motor Speedway, Zonation, Whistle Works and Camp Tanabata. Pat enjoys helping build large temporary structures and watching them burn down.

Steve the Ghost
Steve’s playa name is ‘Ghost’, but to keep him separate from other haunts out there he’s known as Steve the Ghost. He enjoys participating in the Chicago Burner scene, and has become increasingly active in the local community over the last few years, helping with events such as Precomp, Resonate, and Decomp. For the 2009 Lakes of Fire, he was part of the Effigy Build and Burn crews, and he rangers for major local events. He will reprise those roles for 2010 as well. He’s been to the playa multiple times, both on his own and as part of some spectacularly fun theme camps. One of the most intense experiences he has had was as a Temple Guardian for the 2009 Burn. Ghost has a science and technology background, with a BS in the sciences, so he’s far more of a tech geek than anything else. Nevertheless, he likes getting dirty playing with clay, and making pottery and clay works. He’s also a survivor of various performance work (live art) pieces here and there, and helps to produce several events. He comes by his Burner background honestly – enjoying firebuilding, structured burns (such as the LOF Effigy), art, and pyrotechnics.

Shayna Norwood
Shayna has spent the last 15 years in and out of art school. She graduated from San Francisco Art Institute with a BFA in interdisciplinary art and has shown her work in group and solo exhibitions at galleries in Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco, St Louis and New York.  Having lived all over the country, she recently settle in Chicago, where she runs a print and letterpress operation and helps organize a collaborative urban farming project in Logan Square.  For her work on the garden, Shayna was awarded the Aiko Fellowship and was made a featured artist in Chicago Artist Month in 2009.  A veteran burner, she has worked on many large-scale playa installations including, The Poetry Shack, The Bird House, and most recently The Brass Tax BoomBox project.  She believes art should be everywhere for everyone to enjoy.

Carol “Soda Pop” Karaguez
Carol was born and raised in Chicago till the age of 7, when her parents stole her away to California. While there, she found her passion in theater and received a BA in Theatre Arts at CSU Stanislaus. In 2000, she returned to the Windy City to attend the Theatre Conservatory at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, earning a double MFA in Directing/Dramaturgy and a certificate in Nonprofit Management. Further training includes the Steppenwolf School, Second City, and the California Summer Arts Program, in which she was a five-time recipient of the Dean’s Grant. Carol has directed over 30 plays in the Chicago area, working with companies such as Silk Road Theatre Project, Urban Theatre Company and Chicago Dramatists. In 2008, she served as part-time faculty at the College of Lake County where she directed the fall production of REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES. Carol is a committed regular at all Burner friendly events in the Midwest. She is very excited to visit the Playa for the third time in 2010!!

Pants Laroo (Former BURN Art Grants Committee Chair)
Is a local artist who enjoys live painting and building fire sculptures. She has worked as a live painter in clubs and at parties since moving to Chicago in 2001 when she began painting along side her favorite DJ’s and closest friends. Pants along with many devoted contributors has designed, built and burned down effigies at Syncronicity’s annual retreat.

She has also built large scale fire sculptures such as “Glory” the Unicorn at Burning Flipside and Mr. Narwhal at Decomp. She is a founding member of illmeasures and an active member of Syncronicity. She holds a Bachelors in Fine Arts from Ohio Weslyan University.

Keith “Flipit” Privett
Keith is a veteran producer-director-teacher of improv and sketch comedy. He was mentored by the late madman/guru/fire-eater Del Close and is a founding board member of Salsation Theatre Company, an NFP for whom he directed the Reader Critic’s Choice “Touched by an Anglo.” He also volunteers for Burning Man’s Media Mecca as a shift captain and registration liaison and was editor of’s press coverage page from 2007-08. He is also a ranger for major local burner events and is bringing his registered-but-yet-unfunded mega-collage project “APE to MAN” to the playa this year (if he finishes in time). He loves that his mom donated materials by mail to two 2008 playa art projects. He has a BA in Sociology and Masters in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago.

Samantha “Dearie” Orick
Witty prose inbound.

Past Special Guest Judges

Winter 2010

Sharon Wolfson is a Chicago native who resides in Wicker Park. She’s currently working as an artist with local businesses on the Green Office Challenge as part of the Chicago Climate Action Plan. Before returning to Chicago in 2007, Sharon was heavily involved in the local arts communities of Cambridge, Somerville and Boston where she lived for 12 years. Partnering with the city of Somerville, she lobbied for zoning to improve accessibility and space for artists. She created a gallery exhibit that explored the renegade sound system cultures of Kingston, Jamaica, London and Harlem which culminated in an underground outdoor multimedia party, the likes of which Boston had never seen. She also received various grants from the Somerville Arts Council to create interactive scavenger hunts, street plays, and food tours of local ethnic businesses. Fascinated by the proportions of the Big Dig project, Sharon sat on the design committee of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, which is the park that now exists where there used to be an 8-lane highway through the heart of downtown Boston. Sharon received her undergraduate degree at Tufts University and just finished a graduate degree from Northwestern. Now that she’s a permanent fixture in Chicago and done studying, she’s excited to get involved with projects that build the community in dynamic and sustainable ways.

Summer 2009

Dan Hatch is a partner at Grounded Design Studio ( in Chicago, a small graphics, web, and architectural rendering studio that is committed to making green organizations, businesses, and projects successful. He is also a national board member for the non-profit organization Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR). Locally, Dan has helped to facilitate various projects that ADPSR is working on in partnership with the Black Oaks Center for Sustainable Living: such as an earthbag and cob garden wall, a student garden at the Betty Shabazz International Charter School, and collaborative design charrettes for the Black Oaks Center’s farm in Pembroke Township. He can often be found playing in the dirt, scribbling, making music, or trying to calm down his angry elderly dog, Holly.

Winter 2009

Greg Worthington is the Director of Operations for The International Expositions of Sculpture, Objects & Functional Art (SOFA), held annually in Chicago, New York and Santa Fe, New Mexico. In addition, he coordinates SCOPE shows across the states and in Basel, Switzerland, as well as the annual NADA show (New Art Dealers Alliance) in South Beach, Miami. Mr. Worthington holds a BFA in Ceramics from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a double MFA in Ceramics and Religious Literature from Kent State University. He is a founding member of the pioneering Chicago burner collective, Burning Chicagoans, and the artist/creator of the Whistleworks Steam Whistle Project presented at Burning Man 2002-2004, the Corning Museum of Glass, several Synchronicity retreats, the Chicago-Detroit 2008 Decompression, as well as at the inaugural Midwest Regional Burning Man event, Lakes of Fire. He has served as technical advisor on the Beaming Man Project presented at Burning Man 2000, The Acid Tongue (a BURN art grant funded project) presented at Lakes of Fire 2009, The Vikings’ Ragnarok Bio-Diesel Bus (Burning Man 2006-2007), and he regularly opens his home studio to a sordid lot of vagrant artists who make use of his vast array of welding, carpentry and glass-making equipment.