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FIGMENT Festival in NYC

August 21, 2009
FIGMENT
This was included in our summer Advocacy Events.

Written by Melissa Kate, USA Director

When I was a kid, the iconic “Figment the Dragon” from Walt Disney World was my favorite doll. I liked the idea of a fraction of a moment’s worth of ideas coming to life. In July 2009 Artfully AWARE participated in the NYC Figment Festival—which, in the spirit of Burning Man, is a festival of artwork designed to be as temporary and fleeting as the figment of a morning’s daydream.

Out on a previously inaccessible island (run by the US Army and then the US Coast Guard), Governor’s Island in NYC is an oasis of quiet nature—about 10 minutes from the mother city. No cars, lots of land, and old historic buildings cover the landscape—a rare view of the Statue of Liberty on one side, and fields of green and an occasional canon on the other.

Here, for one weekend, hundreds of artists take over the space, and thousands of  visitors attend. The artwork must be temporary, Mandala-like, although I suspect that most of the artwork presented that weekend travels to a variety of festivals and fairs.

We decided to combine drama with art and create an art installation comprised of human bodies. The volunteers would enter the space, be transformed by human hand into a variety of shapes and were named, as if they were plants in a garden.  They would then transfer this experience into a drawing that was available for all to see. We met amazing people and artists, and established connections that can only benefit everybody involved. Volunteers—even the reluctant ones—were all won over by the memorable exercise.

Our NYC team showed its colors during the festival—with new additions Katrina Daniels and Jamie Kulhanek stepped up and proved to be dynamic! They were enthusiastic and welcoming to all. Everybody came together—the entire NYC team plus founder Hilary Wallis attended. Like any good “figment” it was over quickly, but the effects of our outreach and teamwork will be long lasting.

Please visit our website to see photos of FIGMENT.

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