Bastrop Burner Bash benefits nature destroyed by wildfires

Sarah Lawson

[Corrected Oct. 25: Changed Susan Rieff's title]

Balcones Resources supported victims of the recent Bastrop wildfires by hosting a benefit in their honor.

The waste management company invited 12 graffiti artists to its downtown Austin plant on Saturday in order to raise money for the victims of the recent wildfires in Bastrop. The Bastrop Burner Bash raised more than $23,000 by accepting donations and selling food and refreshments. The 12 artists competed for cash prizes by each painting a side of six rail cars owned by Balcones. Another group of artists danced throughout the event to entertain people.

Susan Rieff, executive director of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, said the efforts to support the victims of the wildfires were for a good cause. Rieff also said Kerry Getter, director of Balcones Resources Austin, should be considered one of the key players responsible for making the event happen.


“We are going to use the money to replant trees, replant prairie grasses, and we want to thank everyone for coming out,” Rieff said.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to UT’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which is focused on preserving native plants and natural landscapes. The center will use the money raised by Balcones to restore landscapes in Bastrop County destroyed by the wildfires.

Getter said the recycling plant takes pride in being a part of something to help the victims of the wildfires. Nearing the end of the event, he was invited on stage by Balcones personnel to announce the winners of the rail car contest starting with third place.

Getter said there was a tie for third place because of the high level of creativity from both graffiti artists who tied. He said third place won $1,000, second won $1,500 and the artist known as Saint took first place and $2,500.

Throughout the event, people watched as a group of artists danced. Dancer Sonni Lam said dancing is something he had to find from within his soul. Lam also said he combines a mix of different beats to form his own rhythm which is a mix that comes from his heart.

“I like dancing the most,” Lam said. “It is the quickest form of expression there is. You have 10 seconds to express yourself. It helps you be more open.”

Printed on Monday, October 24, 2011 as: Graffiti competition benefits fire victims