YOUtopia FAQs

You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers. Actually, the vast majority of answers to the most common questions (about everything from Art Grants to Theme Camps to Parking Passes to Volunteering) can be found on the YOUtopia website. If you haven’t read or searched the site yet, we highly recommend you do so – there’s a ton of information there! And if you have a specific-to-you question, you can always email and some very nice people will reply to you within a day or so.

But you’ve still got questions! Maybe they have to do with ticket pricing, macro-level changes to the event, and why it was better next year. That’s the purpose of this FAQ! So without further delay…

Question 1:

What is SDCAP and what the heck does it have to do with YOUtopia?

Answer 1:

SDCAP is the San Diego Collaborative Arts Project. We’re a 501(c)(3) organization, which means we’re a not-for-profit bound to all the corresponding legalities and red tape associated with being this type of organization in California. We’re 100% volunteer run and are the legal entity that encompasses YOUtopia and CoLab, as well as a year-round grant-making organization supporting collaborative art.

With respect to YOUtopia specifically, the SDCAP Board of Directors selects YOUtopia’s team of Co-Producers each year, and works collaboratively with those Producers in facilitating the event. The Producers have a ton of discretion in what the event looks like from year to year, and the SDCAP Board provides legal and fiscal oversight, grantmaking stewardship, insurance, etc. It can often be difficult to tease out who makes which decisions. Which is part of why we invite you to join us! Our Board meetings are open to the public and held at CoLab on the 2nd and 4th Weds of every month from 7-9pm. Oh, and hey! We’re recruiting new Board members right meow!

Question 2:

Why is there only one ticket tier price this year?

Answer 2:

In the past several years, T1 and T2 tickets sold out very quickly. In fact, in 2017, Tier 1 sold out in several hours. Because of this, there has been an outcry in the community to do away with the tiered ticketing system. There are arguments both for and against tiers, but the YOUtopia Producers this year decided to give the one price ticket a shot and eliminate the tiers. SDCAP supported the Producers, as we believe we should listen to all segments of the SDBM community. So the YOUtopia Producers and Board of SDCAP decided on one ticket price, just like Burning Man. A participant won’t get penalized because they were working at noon the day tickets launched and couldn’t purchase. But that also means a participant doesn’t get a cheaper price because they could.

Part of our thought process was that we would like to welcome new people into our community (just as we all were new once), and what if someone goes to their first burn, loves it and says, “Hey, let me check out that awesome San Diego regional Burning Man event someone told me about while we watched the sunrise in deep playa”? With the one-price structure, people don’t get “penalized” by paying more than someone who’s been going for years, while receiving exactly the same experience as someone who paid less. That’s not how our community should work. In effect, the people who bought the later tiers were subsidizing the lower tiers. They get EXACTLY the same festival experience, but pay more. Newbie or vet, we are all equal in our community. There shouldn’t be an extra charge to join our family. We consider this Radical Inclusion and it’s part of our thought process when we agreed to pilot a one-price system.

Question 3:

Why did ticket prices go up?

Answer 3:

Unfortunately, inflation is real. Bummer, huh?! Among other items, the costs of renting the campground, security, medical and fire safety have all increased. We’ve worked hard to keep YOUtopia’s budget in check to maximize the event while being financially responsible and keeping the event and participants safe.

This year, the YOUtopia Producers and the SDCAP Board elected to place pricing in the middle of last year’s tiered pricing structure. In 2017, the three general admission tiers were $120, $155 and $180. The average ticket price for 2017 was $154, which is only $11 less than this year’s price of $165. And, as ticket prices go up most years, a direct comparison to last year’s tier prices isn’t exactly fair. Had we elected to continue using the tiered system, the tiers would have had to gone up as well.

To be specific, the costs of tickets this year compared to last year are:

2018 Single Tier Pricing

$165 Ticket Price

$11.74 (Eventbrite Service Fee)

$12.50 Parking (assuming two people per car)

$189.24 Total

2017 Averages

$154.14 Average Ticket Price

$11.39 (Eventbrite Service Fee)

$7.50 Parking (assuming two people per car)

$173.03 Total


Difference: $16.21, which is an 9.4% increase in the average general admission tickets.

Question 4:

Why were artists tickets removed?

Answer 4:

There was a tremendous amount of discussion around this subject and it got rather contentious at times. In the end, the outcome was that the YOUtopia Producers and the SDCAP Board agreed that what is granted is the art, not the artist. In addition, as only 1 artist ticket was available per granted art piece in 2017, we believed the overall impact would not be that large, as the number of artists tickets were very low in 2017 (approximately 120 tickets).

Question 5:

Why were build tickets removed?

Answer 5:

YOUtopia has not had a “build team” ticket in years. As such, we’re not sure where this misconception comes from.

That said, this year we increased the number of Low Income Program tickets partly to help counterbalance the removal of the artists tickets. The thought process was that if one cannot afford a regular general admission ticket, we still want you to be a part of the magic. So, we really encourage you to pursue the Low Income Ticket Program. The deadline to apply is midnight, September 14, 2018.

Question 6:

How much money does SDCAP make from YOUtopia?

Answer 6:

Last year YOUtopia had $466,182 in ticket sales and expenses in the amount of $336,621. So, in 2017 YOUtopia netted income of $129,561.

For YOUtopia 2018, a 100% sell-out would mean $554,385 in revenue. However, if past history is any indication, it is extremely unlikely YOUtopia 2018 will sell out. YOUtopia 2017 came close, but did not sell out. Nor did YOUtopia sell out in 2016. As such, SDCAP is using projections of a 90% sell out of general admission tickets to base the budget numbers on, which would net $498,947 in revenue. Currently, the revised budget expenses for 2018 are projected to be $392,160, which will provide a net income of $106,787. This is a 17.6% decrease in income from YOUtopia 2017. For reference, please see the YOUtopia 2018 budget here.

Question 7:

How does SDCAP use the proceeds from YOUtopia?

Answer 7:

YOUtopia proceeds fund the year-round use of COLAB, art grants, new and replacement tools at COLAB, producing next year’s YOUtopia, and general overhead (accounting, legal, utilities, training, insurance, office supplies, stamps, blah, blah, blah).

The complete FY 2018 SDCAP budget can be found at: FY 18 Budget

The FY 2019 budget will be on the website soon. We are in the process of revising it due to a recent YOUtopia budget update.

Also to note, SDCAP is a 501(c)(3) ‘not for profit’ entity, so we are not trying to make a profit and are legally prohibited from being a profit-based entity. We are committed to supporting local community art through year round grants, CoLab and YOUtopia. In addition to supporting CoLab and YOUtopia, we granted over $27,000 for art in fiscal year 2018.

Question 8:

What is the fire suppression unit that was purchased for YOUtopia this year?

Answer 8:

Under the Principle of Civic Responsibility, the Board and Production Team (as an “event organizer”) is specifically charged with assuming responsibility for public welfare. Ensuring reasonable standards of public safety at YOUtopia may be the single greatest responsibility we have and we take it seriously. We asses major public safety risks and create and implement risk mitigation plans accordingly.

Fire is the number one public safety risk at YOUtopia and it represents a real and present danger to the lives of all 3500 participants. YOUtopia is held in a very high wildfire-risk area during the peak of wildfire season. Our dense population, equipment (generators, RVs, heaters, cook stoves etc.) and activities (smoking, fire spinning, fire art, cooking etc.) dramatically increase the already high risk of fire. Additionally, considering the narrow roads and the fact that most of our population is camped at quite some distance from their vehicles, rapid evacuation from the area is a serious challenge.

This is not new information and we have worked hard for years to reduce our fire risk through mitigation (e.g. brush clearing and implementation and enforcement of safe use policies for all heat sources and generators) but the bottom line is there is nothing we can do to eliminate this risk and the average response time for the fire department to the campground is 12 minutes. We need to be prepared to immediately contain and control a fire on the mountain.

Last year a senior member of the Burning Man Emergency Services department (who was mentoring one of our Safety Hub Leads) performed an event safety audit at YOUtopia. In general we received good marks in most areas, but it was their strong recommendation that we hire or acquire a type 6 fire engine (Brush truck) to stage on site throughout the event. In their words “RV’s and generators have proven to be the source of a number of fires, being able to knock them down in the first few minutes rather than hitting them with water cans and waiting for a 12 minute FD response could be the difference between a burned out RV and a burned out valley. It only takes one.”

After extensive research we determined that it was materially less expensive for us to acquire the resource and form the team with the skills to use it than it would be to hire one and a team even this year. Moreover, now the unit is available to us year after year and we’ll be able to share it with other local events facing the same risk.

Note: per the published YOUtopia Budget, we allocated $20k for this expense but it is currently tracking closer to $15k, and the final expense will be reflected in the actuals once the event is over.

Get in Touch!

If you have additional questions pertaining to CoLab, YOUtopia (or anything else) we want to hear from you! Please come to SDCAP Board meetings which are held on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month at 7pm @ CoLab. Note, however, due to Burning Man, the August 22, 2018 meeting is cancelled so the next meeting will be on September 12, 2018. You are also welcome to email your questions anytime to We’ll answer as soon as we can, and please be patient. We are all busy working on art, preparing for Burning Man, and pouring our souls into YOUtopia.



2018 SDCAP Granted Art for Burning Man!

SDCAP is excited to share with you the projects headed to Burning Man that have been awarded grants so far in 2018…and almost all of them are destined for YOUtopia as well! We will be adding to the list as more grants are awarded so be sure to scroll down to read about each one – maybe, just maybe, you’ll be inspired to help build one or more 😉


For centuries, the work of the mathematician and the visual artist are viewed not only as incompatible, but held in tension. Mathematics is attributed to Platonic notions focusing on abstract ideas and theoretical structures. The visual artist, on the other hand, is relegated to works of the hands, dealing with the concrete and the tangible. In trying to bring these worlds together, we should be wary of easy shortcuts to a complex issue, valuing both true artistic vision and rigorous mathematical sophistication.

And so we ask: how can vibrant, contemporary art be produced that deals with vibrant, contemporary mathematics? Unfolding Humanity, a massive, interactive sculpture, is one attempt in answering this question.

Unfolding Humanity alludes to Albrecht Dürer’s 500-year-old unsolved problem: can every convex polyhedron be cut along some of its edges so that it unfolds flat into one piece without overlap? Every attempt to do so has resulted in a positive answer, but mathematicians are still divided over whether this is always possible. Our exhibit offers an example of such a positive answer, by allowing participants to unfold a dodecahedron in a way that satisfies the unsolved problem.

At roughly 10′ cubed, this dodecahedron will be built of pentagonal acrylic faces on top of a metal interior framework. Hinges connect some of the faces to give the structure the ability to interactively unfold flat, using a series of engineered torsion springs, cables and winches.

Exterior faces are dark green acrylic etched with characters illuminated by trailing LEDs invoking the iconic Matrix animation, whereas interior faces of reflective acrylic mirrors create a kaleidoscopic image of people and lights. The frame and the pentagons themselves are illuminated by light from LED strips on the outside and inside. When unfolded (40’ x40′ x10′), the metal dodecahedron framework is still standing while the panels are arranged as petals of a flower along the ground below it.

To allow for interaction and teamwork, cables feed from each of the 5 furthest pentagons, through pulleys on the metal framework, to instantly locking brake winches which are specifically designed for lifting. This holds the structure in place in any configuration between fully open and fully closed.

LED lights will form an outward facing layer for each pentagonal face. The exterior faces will be dark when the dodecahedron is folded open, coming to life as each face is closed to the metal skeleton. When a face closes onto the frame, the falling character animation from the Matrix will come alive, indicating that a further step in the enclosure of a human participant has taken place.

When completely closed, the acrylic mirror faces on the interior of the structure will remain unlit, to allow the light from the frame to create intricate patterns in the many reflections.

Unfolding Humanity is the initial project of San Diego Geometry Lab, a growing collective of mathematicians, engineers, artists, and burners spearheaded by Diane Hoffoss and Satyan Devadoss and supported by Lee Hemingway, Gordon Hoople, Quinn Pratt, Sydney Platt, Elizabeth Sampson, Christiana Salvosa, J. Good, and D.D. Latimore. San Diego Geometry Lab has been created to bring the public to the edge of the mathematical unknown.

Final Update

The idea for the sculpture began with University of San Diego mathematics professors Satyan Devadoss and Diane Hoffoss, who were interested in communicating to the world the nature of research mathematics in a beautiful and accessible way, and in finding ways for their students to connect abstract concepts to physical form through art. With a conceptual design in mind, the artists / mathematicians reached out to faculty and students across the University of San Diego and to community members at large to participate in the development and creation of this project. In all, the sculpture was conceived, designed, and built by at least 78 volunteers: 5 faculty members, at least 19 students and 2 former students, and at least 52 members of the larger community. An estimated total of 5500 person-hours was invested in this project by our volunteers.

Costs for the project were around $45,000, which was funded by grants from SDCAP, Fletcher Jones Foundation, University of San Diego Humanities Center, and crowdfunding donations. The work took place jointly at the University of San Diego and at CoLab. The sculpture was initially unveiled at Burning Man 2018, with a subsequent installation at San Diego Maker Faire 2018.

Ocean Tunnel

Ocean Tunnel is a 200-ft-long walking tunnel conceived by a group of ocean scientists and enthusiasts.  In this structure, participants walk beneath a painted canvas and among hanging sculptures that create an underwater experience of the open ocean. The artwork reflects changing ocean conditions:  a pure blue ocean filled with schools of big fish transitions to a green, gelatinous soup. Participants push through a thick curtain of suspended jellyfish at the end. Just outside is an atrium filled with lounge areas, information, and open canvas space on which participants are invited to draw and write their reactions and ideas.

The primary intentions of the piece are to:

1) cause a tangible and impactful experience of mankind’s effect on the ocean

2) inform and spark conversations about altering the predictable future, and

3) provide a platform for sharing reactions, thoughts, and ideas with a worldwide community.

Ocean Tunnel is intended not only to communicate that climate change and unsustainable fishing practices are dire problems for people everywhere, but also to generate a sense of hope in the face of a challenge. Every year Burning Man and its regional events inspire thousands of humans with a feeling that anything is possible through communal effort. Ocean Tunnel bis intended to generate that feeling around the issue of climate change, leaving participants who interact with the piece and with 

one another feeling connected, engaged, and empowered to collectively cause a brighter future for our planet’s greatest resource. (**Architectural Drawings: Derek Lange.)


Final Update

17 Build team members; 17 tear down hands (7 people served on both). 14 spur-of-the-moment Burner angels stopped by to lend a hand at some point.

Our lead team grew to 10. Each amazing lead spent between 50 and 200 hours  coordinating and producing aspects of the piece.

10 muralists produced the artwork for the 8 sections, but that doesn’t include the 15-20 volunteers who contributed some work to the final “jellyfish” section.

And again I don’t have true count, but I estimate that 40-50 others came to help sew, grommet, prime canvas, test install, and generally get shit lined up for the big event. So many new faces and friends–thanks to Colab for being the hub where collaborative art brings people together. 

Ocean Tunnel as it appeared at Burning Man 2018 was a 220-foot-long, 8-foot-high series of 8 tunnel sections, each with a mural of ocean life produced by a different (group of) artist(s). The murals depicted the progression of conditions in the open ocean over the last 200 years (and into the predictable future) due to climate change and overfishing. The two sections at the center of the series were covered by a larger (17′-tall) shade structure arch that also housed a lounge area. The lounge contained benches, platforms, and the key and prizes for a cypher puzzle whose clues were posted on each section of the tunnel.

Our intention with creating and bringing Ocean Tunnel to the Playa was to create a tangible experience of mankind’s impact on the Ocean, and to generate a sense of hope in the face of the huge obstacle that is climate change. What we got was all of that and SO MUCH MORE. Thousands of people biked through the Tunnel with wonder and curiosity every day, many people engaged with the cypher and discovered new facts about our oceans in the process, weddings (yeah, weddings!?) were held in the lounge area, and the conversations our team had with the participants at BRC were filled with a sense of gratitude, shared responsibility, and hope. 

The Ocean Tunnel team is incredibly grateful to all those who gave their money, their time, and their encouraging thoughts and words. We needed all of it and couldn’t have done it without the HUGE community that came together behind this grand project. We can’t wait for next year’s project!


Beast dé Religiosa: “Zap”

Zap ia an idea born out of the deep, dark, tree-covered hills of YOUtopia and a desire to artfully play with participants at a distance (and varying states of sobriety). Imagine frolicking along a dark path in the middle of the night’s adventures with anticipation for what might happen next. Out of the corner of your eye you see a flicker in the woods…or did you? You don’t think too much of it as you continue…but wait, there it is again!? As you strain to get a better look all you see are two red dots…”are those eyes or is my mind playing tricks on me???” you think to yourself when it happens again. YOUtopia inspires a lot of art based in camps, but rarely do we play with the surrounding terrain and we hope to change that by planting the seed. There is also a vision of creating a new piece every year that can be placed in misc. locations around the event with a focus on the critters that call Palomar Mountain home.

Zap is a Praying Mantis with a frame of lightweight metal designed to be in a typical upright stance with four walking legs on the ground, arched thorax/head and raptorial forelegs in “praying” position, her midlegs will be adjustable to raise or lower the body as desired. The abdomen will be made out of expanded perforated metal to allow for interior visibility with misc. repurposed metal objects randomly dispersed (keys, door knobs, hinges, chain) to create artistic detail. The forelegs will be articulated, allowing the tibial spines to be raised from the control panel. The wings are designed to expand or collapse depending on space limitations wherever installed. The metal will be treated with a chemical so that the color permanently oxidizes to green with hints of blue and brown.

We are incorporating two visual elements for nighttime display: lighting and fire (the LEDs will be situated in such a manner that both elements can be used simultaneously when desired).

  • Lighting: LEDs will be run to accent the frame and programmed for numerous effects. When installed at a distance in the woods the lights will flicker almost like when a bug zapper is triggered. When installed in a more visible location the lights will be more colorful and playful  while the abdomen will glow from the inside. The eyes will be a steady red.
  • Fire Element: Depending on placement and safety there will be two fire elements. A low flame will glow from inside the abdomen and the tibial spines will be poofers when they are raised. The poofers will be activated by buttons on the control panel allowing for passersby to interact with Zap.
    The goal is for Zap to make her debut at Burning Man 2018. Depending on completion date we are interested in displaying her at the Pride Village, Figment and Maker Faire while also making an annual appearance at YOUtopia. Zap’s home will be at CoLab to stand alongside the Man on the roof and be accessible for loan to the community for other events in the same way.The design team consists of Curt Benedetto, Stephanie Cucurullo, Dominic Leone & Samantha Richman. All are welcome to come participate, learn to weld and play! We will update the SD Burner FB page with learn/build days.

Final Update

Burning Man 2018 has come and gone and Zap was a fiery part of the magic!.  She brought inspiration, joy and delight to literally thousands of people and we are both humbled and proud, exhausted and re-invigorated by the whole adventure.

We are deeply grateful to SDCAP for supporting this project through its grant program.  You were instrumental in making Zap a reality through the gifts of both your financial support and build space at CoLab.  We literally couldn’t have done it without this support – thank you, thank you, thank you!

As a fairly small project Zap had 4 “core” build team members – 2 leads.  Our leads each put in well over 500 hours (to date) coordinating, building and installing the project and the other core members each contributed about 200 hours (to date).  In addition over 20 volunteers contributed almost 200 hours in ways large and small (e.g. lighting design and production, antennae creation and all manner of arting, on-playa-crew etc.).

We love building at CoLab and this was an excellent build season for collaboration and cooperation between the teams.  The Ocean Tunnel, Unfolding Humanity and Zap teams were all active fairly consistently throughout the season and the cross-pollination and mutual support was simply awesome.  This year we had a unique opportunity to co-host a mixer at CoLab with the Maker Faire team. It was a great event with over 50 attendees and proved to be great for outreach with a number of folks returning to volunteer on various projects.

Our intention in building Zap was not just to make a collaborative project for Burning Man.  We wanted to work in a new medium (metal) and learn new skills (welding) and share it all with as many people as possible.  We’re thrilled with the outcome and with our installs at Pride Village and Burning Man with Maker Faire and Youtopia to come.  We’re grateful for the opportunity.

Do You Trust?

It always comes down to this question. Whatever your circumstance in life, dire or blessed, do you have faith that things are just as they should be or do you believe that the source in its infinite intelligence has made a mistake?
Or do you and can you trust, surrender to and accept what is?
 Do you fear the future and what it may bring? Or can you surrender and let the universe take the lead in your dance? Do you trust? Or do you fear and resent?
What if it was true that every single one of us has a benevolent guide from above watching over us? What if there is actually a huddle of your very own personal benevolent guides? … and these beings they are sweetly watching over you at all times. Would you trust then? or would you still doubt?
What if you are so infinitely lucky to have found your own tribe of benevolent guides in a human form? Your people, your tribe, your true family…. and you knew in your bones that they always always had your back… no matter what the circumstance. How would you feel? Would you trust then?
My art piece aims at creating a space to experience this feeling of being held by a tribe. It is essentially a huddle of 5 beings with space at the bottom of the huddle for a participant to seek shade, rest and contemplate on being lovingly held. The piece will have an audio recording of a meditation on the subject of trust. Inside of each of the 5 being’s belly there will be an altar for 5 components of trust. Acceptance, surrender, honor, joy and love.  (Lead artist: Lana Radivojevic Website:
Final Update

“Do You Trust?” is a huddle of 5 beings created by 3 volunteers, 100s of hours and a lot of community support and encouragement. It symbolizes community in flow and unity. It took a leap of trust for me to go forward with this project. I’ve never made a sculpture before, let alone made out of metal and in that scale. I didn’t know how to weld, I had no tools or workspace or community since I am somewhat new in town. I went forward with it and “Do You Trust?” became a crucible and an altar of faith for me. Then everything began appearing as if by magic. I was awarded 2 art grants, an exceptionally skilled and devoted crew appeared, tools, workspace and transportation. It all came. Someone even volunteered to make a website for it . “Do You Trust?” has given me a reason to believe that with passion and vision anything is possible. Maybe this whole project is not about the sculpture but about the process of someone with no means daring to go towards an ambitious venture with the help of community. The symbol remains and it is a huddle to remind us that anything is possible when we join our hands, minds and hearts. So dear friend, do you trust? 

The Hug Beacon

PH’s mission is to be a lighthouse for body mind and spirit.  The Hug Beacon is the “Lighthouse for the body” portion of our offerings, viewable from across the playa and into the deep dark night to help lost and weary residents of BRC find their way home and recalibrate their position.

The 2018 V.2 Design has a 6-foot heart atop two segments of slightly curved 10 foot poles. The top heart is made up of 3 hearts to give a rich visual and allow for more LEDs that will guide weary residents home. This beacon, like the Pink Heart swing of years passed, will reach heights of approximately 26 feet with the base being a 8 foot triangle.  V.2 Design also has an anchoring hub that connects the top 10 foot portion with the bottom 10 foot portion for those times when at events like YOUtopia the height should be shorter, allowing more grounding to camp.  Safety is of course one of our biggest concerns so we’ll be arranging guy-wires to secure the base to playa (and other event locations)

Finally, interactively, loving and hugging, is one of the main components of the Pink Heart Hug Beacon.  Plush objects at the base of the structure will be wired with pressure sensitive film and when hugged will cause the programmable LEDs on the legs to shine bright.  The best part is in the hugging of all three plush objects at the base, simultaneously, which causes the light to travel up and change the color of the top heart making it appear that the energy is shooting up in to the beacon and pulsing the heart light slightly, just like a real heart beating.

Final Update

The Hug Beacon is first and foremost a Lighthouse.  Whether at Black Rock City, YOUtopia, or other events, it is a bright pink heart – high in the sky – that can lead lost revelers home.

Over 40 volunteers volunteered roughly 270 hours collaborating on the Beacon. It can be erected, by human hands alone, at it’s full height of 26 feet, or a lower version at 16 feet if logistics make the full height problematic.

The Beacon also inspires curiosity and participation.  Attached to each leg is a mysterious torso-sized cushion at varying heights.  When one cushion is hugged, the lighting changes.  When multiple cushions are hugged, a more elaborate LED animation is triggered. Participants’ loving hearts can literally light up the night sky.

Drumroll please! YOUtopia 2018 Producers Have Been Selected!

SDCAP is excited to announce the Producers for YOUtopia 2018 are Meg King and Raul Barajas! When you see them, please give them big, consensual hugs!

Both Meg and Raul bring multi-year experience as YOUtopia Hub Leads, as well as a wealth of burnerverse and default world leadership experience. We’re excited to have them at the helm for our little Regional, and look forward to seeing what they can do to make a great thing even greater.

The ink is barely dry on the YOUtopia 2017 Afterburn Report, which means it’s about time to get 2018 planning into full swing. Our new Producers are already conspiring with each other and have plans in the works to start interviewing candidates for Hub Leads and then Department Leads in January. If you’re a returning lead or someone who’s ready to take on a bigger role in the community, keep an eye out for announcements in your email and on social media.



YOUtopia Financial and Population History

While the raw SDCAP financials are available here, it can be a little tough to make sense of them.  The goal of this post is to help understand where the money goes for YOUtopia.  These numbers do not include 2017 because tickets are still on sale and the books won’t be closed for a few months.

First, YOUtopia population:

And the revenue and costs:

One of the most common questions we get is how ticket prices have changed over the years.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to locate those records from before the 501c3 transition in 2012, but we can look at the average revenue per participant.  This includes tiered tickets, artist / volunteer / scholarship tickets, coffee and ice sales, parking, car camping, RVs, and donations.

So where does the money go?  Like I said, we only have detailed records for 2012 to present.

Let’s go through the categories and explain what they are:

Art: $30.16 per person in 2016: The single largest expense most years is direct cash support to artists to bring art to YOUtopia.  In addition YOUtopia provides discounted artist tickets and art support (power and equipment rental).

Land: $21.98 per person in 2016: This includes the rental of the entire La Jolla Indian Reservation Campground as well as the nearby racetrack that we use as a parking lot.  This expense jumped dramatically in 2015, but had not been tracking with population in previous years.

Commissary: $9.45 per person in 2016: Volunteers for the event are fed once per shift worked, as a gesture of gratitude for their work.  Fed volunteers are happy volunteers.  It is worth noting that all volunteers buy tickets to YOUtopia, though some at reduced prices.

Equipment: $14.65 per person in 2016: This is rental fees for generators, heavy equipment, vehicles, radios, toilets, cones and odds and ends.  More than half of the cost is power, which is almost all for camps and art projects rather than YOUtopia infrastructure.

Security: $12.15 per person in 2016: YOUtopia contracts with a private security company.  This number includes medical some years and not others due to difference in record keeping, which is part of why it changes so much.

Other Production: $31.72 per person in 2016: This is all of the other expenses involved in running YOUtopia.  Large line items in 2016 included ice, insurance, safety training, schwag for volunteers, volunteer mileage, department expenses and consumables.  This was up significantly compared to previous years because we bought a bunch of stuff we will keep like carports and a generator.

SDCAP: $16.45 per person in 2016: SDCAP is the 501c3 that runs YOUtopia.  The largest expense is Colab, the meeting and build warehouse, which costs about $25,000 a year to operate and generates about $6,000 in income.  The difference is paid for from YOUtopia proceeds.  Other large expenses from 2016 included volunteer training, art grants, and accounting.  To see our current plans – the SDCAP FY18 budget can be seen here.

What about 2017?  Well, we are still selling tickets and the expenses won’t all be in for a few months. But you can see our projections from six months ago here.

Questions?  Comments?  Email

SDCAP Meeting Minutes – September 13, 2017

Board of Directors Meeting (Regular)

San Diego Collaborative Arts Project, a California Non-Profit Corporation

(the “Corporation”)

September 13, 2017

San Diego, CA


MINUTES OF A MEETING of the Board of Directors of the Corporation (the “Board’) held on the 13th day of September, 2017 at  7:00 p.m. at Colab in San Diego, California.  


  1. President’s Declaration


As regular Board meetings do not require notice to the Board pursuant to the Corporation’s Bylaws, President Colin Jemmott acted as Chairman of the meeting and Cassy Haynes acted as Secretary.


President Jemmott called the regular Board meeting to order at 7:00 PM.


  1. Quorum


Stephanie noted that a quorum of the Board was present and declared the Meeting open for the transaction of business.


Those in attendance and constituting a quorum were:


Board Members Present: Cable King, Ken Simmons, Cassy Haynes, Stephanie Cucurullo, Curt Benedetto, Lisa Walden, Paul McCarthy and Colin Jemmott


Absent:  Kim  Eisenberg


Community Members Present:  Natural


  1. Approval of Agenda


The President previously circulated the Agenda to Board via email. The Board approved the Agenda via email.


  1. Minutes of Previous Meeting of the Board  – There was no discussion regarding the meeting minutes.  


ON MOTION DULY MADE BY LISA WALDEN, SECONDED AND CARRIED**, IT WAS RESOLVED THAT the minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 8/9/17 be approved.


**Colin abstained


  1. President’s Report   –  N/A


  1. Treasurer’s Report  


  • Art grants being funded
  • A request was made to pay as many vendors as possible before the event (i.e. commissary, heavy equipment) in order to cut down on “on mountain” payments.


  1. Secretary’s Report


  • Cancellation Insurance update and discussion


ON MOTION DULY MADE BY PAUL MCCARTHY, SECONDED AND CARRIED, IT WAS RESOLVED THAT the Board purchase the event cancellation policy with the adverse weather endorsement for YOUtopia.


  1. Regional Contact Report – N/A


  1. Youtopia Report –  Natural


  • Already sold more tickets than last year and that is without no sales yet from discounted tickets, will be meeting budget requirements re: funds for ticket sales
  • Excellent leads team
  • Stephanie’s Burning Man Safety mentor will be coming to YOUtopia to perform an audit of YOUtopia’s safety program/procedures
  • Volunteer from BMORG Emergency Services will be coming to YOUtopia
  • The Board requested that (a) payment is made to Facebook to boost the event; (b) e-mail blasts and also pay for Facebook ads; Natural to get in touch with Comms Team to arrange all requested items; if Comms Team has more ideas regarding marketing, the Board stated that it would be interested in discussing the ideas


ON MOTION DULY MADE BY COLIN JEMMOTT, SECONDED AND CARRIED, IT WAS RESOLVED THAT the Board authorize the Producers to spend $200.00 for Facebook ads for YOUtopia.


  1. CoLab Report – Lisa


  • Doing great
  • Trying to figure out how to recalibrate after a busy burn season
  • Journey building YOUtopia temple at Colab
  • The Shrine will be going to YOUtopia and other YOUtopia builds are happening at Colab
  • Inventory was performed
  • All borrowed equipment used during burn builds was returned/checked in
  • Stephanie had a discussion with Stuart at the Burn and he wants to do an article about Colab in JRS
  • Lisa has been creating a Media folder for Colab
  • Colab  has been partnering with a middle school teacher to do activities at Colab (in the planning stage, nothing formalized)


  1. Additional Business


  • Mini-Man 2.0 (repair and return of art piece) discussion; Lisa to follow up with Dawn re: status
  • Regarding Producer selection Lisa is drafting a “job description” document and it’s saved in the drive for Board to review
  • Board public engagement on social media discussion
  • Art Grant recipient follow up re: conformance with art grant conditions discussion; Cassy to follow up with 2017 art grant recipients
  • Succession planning discussion:  webmaster, treasurer/accountant


  1. Termination of Meeting


There being no further business, ON MOTION DULY MADE, SECONDED AND CARRIED, the meeting was adjourned at 9;00 PM.


SDCAP Meeting Minutes – August 9, 2017

Board of Directors Meeting (Regular)

San Diego Collaborative Arts Project, a California Non-Profit Corporation

(the “Corporation”)

August 9, 2017

San Diego, CA


MINUTES OF A MEETING of the Board of Directors of the Corporation (the “Board’) held on the 9th day of August, 2017 at  7:00 p.m. at Colab in San Diego, California.  


  1. President’s Declaration


As regular Board meetings do not require notice to the Board pursuant to the Corporation’s Bylaws, as President Colin Jemmott was not in attendance, Stephanie Cucurullo acted as Chairman of the meeting and Cassy Haynes acted as Secretary.


Stephanie Cucurullo called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.


  1. Quorum


Stephanie noted that a quorum of the Board was present and declared the Meeting open for the transaction of business.


Those in attendance and constituting a quorum were:


Board Members Present: Cable King, Ken Simmons, Cassy Haynes, Stephanie Cucurullo, Curt Benedetto, Lisa Walden, Kim Eisenberg, and Paul McCarthy


Absent:  Colin Jemmott


Community Members Present: Jasmine, Sam, Jon Ray and Natural


  1. Approval of Agenda


The President previously circulated the Agenda to Board via email. The Board approved the Agenda via email.


  1. Minutes of Previous Meeting of the Board  – There was no discussion regarding the meeting minutes.  


ON MOTION DULY MADE BY LISA WALDEN, SECONDED AND CARRIED**, IT WAS RESOLVED THAT the minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 7/26/17 be approved.


  1. President’s Report   –  N/A


  1. Treasurer’s Report  


  • Funds are coming in from ticket sales
  • Art grants being funded
  • Tracking Report discussion


  1. Secretary’s Report


  • Cancellation Insurance update


  1. Regional Contact Report – N/A


  1. Youtopia Report –  Jon Ray


  • 3rd round of art grants will happen;
  • May come to board to ask for more funds depending on ticket sales and when Producers have a clearer picture of sell out; not expecting/counting on additional funding from Board
  • Youtopia art grant discussion
  • Working on quotes for equipment, logistics forms just turned in and being evaluted


  1. CoLab Report – Lisa


  • Great communication going on between build teams and staff;
  • All projects are taking pride in Colab; haven’t had staff to man Colab but build teams are stepping up and taking up slack;
  • Installed 3rd security camera, 4th camera under repair
  • Colab fundraiser opened up revenue stream with venue as venue liked Colab event & staff


  1. Additional Business


  • Producer selection process; Use 9/13/17 meeting as a working meeting re: Producer selection
  • Board member selection; At next meeting, Board to agree on calendar re: new Board members
  • 8/23/17 Board meeting cancelled due to many Board members being at the Burn
  • Consent training, additional funds needed


ON MOTION DULY MADE BY CASSY HAYNES, SECONDED AND CARRIED, IT WAS RESOLVED THAT the Board fund the consent training program $125 for needed supplies.


  1. Termination of Meeting


There being no further business, ON MOTION DULY MADE, SECONDED AND CARRIED, the meeting was adjourned at 8:33 PM.