From 2009-2013, I produced FIGMENT Boston. In that time, we hosted four summer and two winter events, as well as four fundraising parties, attended by tens of thousands of people on the banks of the Charles River, the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and Boston Common. The collective power of hundreds of volunteers resulted in more than 400 temporary interactive art pieces coming to Boston over the years.
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.
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.
Photo: Chris Harris
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 2013, hundreds of people stayed until 11PM to dance and play with our evening projects. And for my last event before handing over the reigns to the new producer, we worked with the City of Boston and First Night to produce a FIGMENT component for New Year's 2014 with light and fire pieces unlike any previously seen in Boston.
FIGMENT is now a global event series with events across the US, Canada, and Australia. I'm no longer the producer of the Boston event, but it lives on in capable hands and will soon enter its seventh year in Boston.