Putting Your Imagination To Work: The Figment Festival

What: Figment Art + Music Festival 2009

Where: Governor’s Island

When: June 12, 10am-5pm; June 13-14, 10am-7pm

Why: In a weekend packed with festivals, we couldn’t overlook this hippy celebration of creative culture. Figment, now in its third year, will easily help adults cast aside economic woes and give kids the ultimate playground at this volunteer-fueled art event, which welcomes any interpretation of “work.”

While there is an emphasis on collaboration and participation, everyone is invited to come and just enjoy the festivities that will include—take a deep breath—a Mega soccer game, vintage-style photo shoots, yoga workshops, garden gnome adoptions, a lecture on Western art history, Chi meditation, a virtual Tuuug of War, an improv and physical comedy class for kids, an interactive mobile exhibit on dinosaurs from the American Museum of Natural History, a homemade cookie class, a bluesy rock ‘n’ roll performance by The Bourbon Shakes, an “Everything You Want, Right Now!” conversation on the ways advertising distorts culture, footloose hula hooping on the grass, and an exploration into what makes street art around the world so inspiring.

Financed entirely through contributions and grants (and no corporate sponsorships that might muddle the message of a supportive community), Figment is participatory art in the truest sense. There are no costs to artists or visitors, who are welcome to tote along projects or work—as long as it doesn’t have to be “staked into the ground, be connected to a power source, plotted on the map, or scheduled for a stage or performance area.” (The deadline for artist participation was May 15.)

“Art is not just something that you stand still and quietly look at,” asserts the event’s website. Instead, those who make the trek to Governor’s Island are encouraged to let loose and follow their instincts. “Touch it, smell it, climb it, write on it, talk to it, dance with it, play with it, learn from it,” and contribute to Figment’s uniquely dynamic and collaborative atmosphere.

Cost: Free

How to get there: Catch the free ferry from The Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan, or from the Fulton Ferry Landing in Brooklyn. Ferry schedules change daily, so visit the Governor’s Island website for times. For a full schedule of events, visit figmentnyc.org.

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