Built to Burn returns for its fifteenth iteration


The structure is located in the grass field near the Wellness Trail on Linfield’s McMinnville campus (Emma Inge)

Human beings have the tendency to hold onto stuff. We tend to bottle things up and let it get to us. Sometimes, the best way to get something off your chest is to let it go… with fire.

Linfield University’s art department is hosting its 15th annual Built to Burn this Friday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Wellness Trail on campus.

“It’s the McMinnville version of Burning Man,” said Camille Lubach, a senior studio art major. “Which in essence means the whole community is invited and you’re welcome to write down things that you want to let go and everyone sticks those onto the structure before it is fuego-ed.”

The structure was constructed by art professor Totem Shriver’s sculpture and 3D art classes and is already out on the grass field near the trail.

This will only be Lubach’s second burn in her four years at Linfield, though she loves the event. Her freshman year–the event sizzled out because of the COVID-19 lockdown. Her junior year–she was abroad (though a helpful friend live streamed it for her all the way to Spain so she wouldn’t miss it).

Lubach tried to explain what makes the burn important. “Release, regeneration, there’s more Rs…” she trailed off.

Emma Inge, another senior art student, threw in another R from across the room. “Reincarnation!”

“It’s a little bit ritualistic, some people dance or chant,” Lubach added.

This year, it’s forecasted to be a wet weekend. The structure has gotten its fair share of rain the past couple days. Lubach was asked if she’s worried the rain will disrupt the burn.

“I’m happier that it’s been wet rather than it being dry, as a Californian,” she laughed. “Fire makes me a little nervous.” The structure sits on a grass field.

New this year, ceramics will be fired beneath the burn. 

Though Lubach will be contributing pieces of ceramic , she’ll also be adding her own things to “let go” this year in the fire. Lubach has a friend that she regularly goes to a local pub with to rant about school and life. For her birthday this past weekend, this friend presented her with handwritten notes of her rants for her to burn. 

Check out the structure on the Wellness Trial this week before it’s gone and come back Friday night to see it go. Lubach encouraged students to attend.

“Though it does get a little weird sometimes,” she cautioned jokingly. “Though the weirdness is often initiated by students.”

“Fire in itself,” said Inge. “People standing around, watching fire.” She waved her hands in the air, to indicate the feelings it gives people.