I love art museums. I always have. With few exceptions most of the art museums I’ve visited have been different variations on the same theme. It’s either been paintings on walls in galleries, or sculptures in galleries and gardens which you walk through. It’s a pretty passive experience and it seems like the general idea is that by the act of viewing art, or being in its proximity you will absorb creativity through osmosis and be able to appreciate art and understand the essence of creativity. While you certainly can learn a lot from viewing art, making it, or interacting with it on a physical level is probably the best way to actually learn about what it means to make art and the power of the creative process.
So, what would you think if you went into an art museum and there where no paintings or sculptures on display and the art that was exhibited was meant to be played with and part of an interactive transformational experience.
Personally, I think that would pretty cool. At least that’s what I thought when I first heard about FIGMENT Boston. FIGMENT Boston is a yearly event that takes place this weekend on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and features interactive art installations that are designed to engage the audience and encourage people to explore creativity. According to their website “FIGMENT is a forum for the creation and display of participatory and interactive art by emerging artists across disciplines.”
Brought to Boston in 2010 by Jason Turgeon. FIGMENT debuted at the Cambridge Riverfest, and later moved across the river to it’s current location on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, an area that has become known for it’s commitment to public art through its support of various public art projects which include a large rotating mural in Dewey Square. Anne Lodick a producer for FIGMENT Boston explained to me with enthusiasm that their partnership has been very a special one, and of the fundamental elements that has helped FIGMENT Boston become such a success. “Working with the Greenway Conservancy has been awesome,” she said, “they have been the best partners imaginable for us.”
Another crucial elements is, of course, the art. The art installed is produced by a group of artists and non-artists who vary in age and background and answered an open call for artwork earlier in the year. Their work is screened by the organizers and then invited artists volunteer their time and energy to create and install the featured artwork. The work ranges from lighting displays, to dancing, to Dj’s and spreads all along the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
2014 will also mark the second year of FIGMENT at Night, the latest addition to FIGMENT Boston. With a time slot from 6-11pm on July 26th, FIGMENT at Night will focus on a slightly different albeit still family friend experience. FIGMENT is an organization with a mission to inspire community through collaboration. What started in New York in 2007 has expanded and grown to include 12 cities around the world. Guided by eleven core principles, the passionate team of volunteer organizers that produce FIGMENT Boston and curate the event have worked hard over the past year to make it happen, and it makes me very excited to see what kind of experience FIGMENT Boston will be.