Electrical engineer Joe Fitzpatrick, a former Reno resident who now lives in Seattle, is the lead artist on the Burning Man installation “Last Bet Motel.” The piece is an homage to the Best Bet Motel, one of the many weekly motels in Reno that have been demolished in the name of development. These motels are often last-resort housing for people without stable shelter arrangements, and each closure has left more people homeless.

Joe—along with his collaborator and spouse Elizabeth Fitzpatrick and team member Emily Stewart—talked about the genesis, design, and details of the project.


LISTEN: Double Scoop Podcast Episode 26—Last Bet Motel


A rendering of what the Last Bet Motel is expected to look like on the playa. Borrowed from the project’s website.


The Midtown Reno lot where the Best Bet Morel used to stand is now empty. Photo: Noah Glick

“Last Bet Motel” will be on view at Burning Man Aug. 28 – Sept. 5. To learn more or to donate, visit the project’s website

The artists are partnering with Reno’s Karma Box Project to collect non-perishable food, hygiene products and toiletries to donate to people in need. Donations can be dropped off at the group’s camp at 7:15 and D in Black Rock City.

Posted by Noah Glick

Noah Glick is the Executive Editor for the Sierra Nevada Ally. He is an award-winning journalist, writer, and audio and podcast producer, whose work has been heard nationally on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and more. He is a multiple regional Edward R. Murrow Award winner for his reporting on climate, energy, and housing.