FIGMENT is an annual temporary art event that features free, noncommercial pieces of interactive art created by and for members of the local community. It’s a celebration of participatory art and culture where everything is possible. FIGMENT is a grassroots effort, organized and run entirely by volunteers as a gift to our cities. For one weekend a summer, it transforms an urban public space into a large-scale collaborative artwork…and then it’s gone.
FIGMENT is a nationwide grass-roots arts organization that started out with an arts event for 2,600 participants on Governors Island, NY, on one Sunday in July of 2007. The mission was simple: to bring free, temporary, participatory public art to an underused public space. Since that day in 2007, FIGMENT has grown rapidly, expanding to longer weekends and summerlong interactive art pavilions and artist-designed miniature golf courses in New York.
As the producer of FIGMENT Boston, I brought FIGMENT from New York to Boston in 2010. That first year, I put together a local team from scratch, found a host site, negotiated permits, and raised the funds to have a 6-hour event on the banks of the Charles River that was attended by thousands of people.
The next year, we moved to the Rose Kennedy Greenway in the heart of downtown Boston, where we've been ever since. Since 2011, we have grown into a two-day event. FIGMENT is now one of the Greenway's most popular events, with many thousands of participants joining us each summer for a weekend of creativity and play.
FIGMENT has a growing nighttime presence, too. In 2011, the Greenway invited us to do a six-week winter run with a handful of light-based projects in Chinatown. In 2012 we planned a significant nighttime component to the summer event; although weather intervened we held a small impromptu celebration of light art after the event's official close. In 2013, hundreds of people stayed until 11PM to dance and play with our evening projects. And we are excited to have been invited to host an "event within an event" at this year's First Night Boston, where we will transform a corner of the Boston Common with light and fire pieces unlike any ever seen in Boston.
Our core team of 15 volunteers works year round to produce the event. During the summer event, over 100 volunteers assist, along with about 100 artists. Since the first event in 2010, we have brought approximately 400 pieces of free temporary art to the unsuspecting Boston populace.
FIGMENT is now a global event series with 9 events in the US, Canada, and Australia in 2013 and more planned for next year.