Kindness is Contagious at FIGMENT Boston

By Mary Tinti

July 18, 2012

Boston Hoop Troop, 2010 (photo credit: Dan Rajter).

FIGMENT, that “free, annual celebration of participatory art and culture where everything is possible,” is returning to the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston this July 28th and 29th, offering some alternative artistic stimuli to the live music performances happening in Copley Square for Boston’s first Summer Arts Weekend. Clearly, it’s going to be a very entertaining few days in the city.

The spirit of FIGMENT is fantastic, and its aim is as pure as they come: the entire interactive arts/performance event is planned and executed by volunteers, without any assistance from corporate sponsorships. It’s free and very family-friendly, inclusive and welcoming of all, super eco-conscious and self-reliant, designed to foster civic/communal participation, and remind everyone that imaginative, creative play is not just for kids. These are ideas for which we should all be cheering! That said - I feel compelled to confess that the overall aesthetics of the event can be pretty hit or miss. As long as attendees manage their own expectations, and come seeking messy creativity at work rather than polished participatory public art projects, a good time will be had by all.

Mary Tinti at FIGMENT, 2011 (photo credit: Mary Tinti).

My favorite FIGMENT moment last year consisted of fashioning my very own tutu from a box of colorful, feather-light tulle. There was something incredibly joyful and freeing about seeing men, women and children alike skipping about the park with their custom tutus cinched around their waists. While I don’t believe Tess Aquarium’s tutu booth will be present at this year’s celebration, I do want to highlight a few projects that would be well worth seeking out…

I suggest beginning your FIGMENT experience with artist Neil Horsky, who will be happy to draw you a personalized event map based upon your preferences, mood, and sense of adventure. Make sure to have Horsky include Heather Mulloy’s Salon Hairtastic Sculpture on your map where pipe cleaners, glitter and more will enable you to transform your coiffure into a whimsical artistic statement (think this year’s tutus). I’d also be on the lookout for both the Boston Hoop Troop, so you can join in a giant hula-hooping extravaganza, and the happiness-spreading artist Jessica Gath, who will be roaming the event while giving out free postcards for attnedees to mail to someone they love, and reminding everyone that, just as her stickers say, “Kindness is Contagious.”

FIGMENT Boston 2012 will take place on July 28 and 29 at the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
For maps, tips and other helpful details, visit the Figment Website:


About the Author
Mary Tinti Mary Tinti
Mary is a Koch Curatorial Fellow at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. On her blog, Dress For Sports, she says, "I love innovative public art, creative design, and unique intersections of architecture, sculpture, and installation.  And I love stumbling upon cool collisions of art and everyday life." Mary has a Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers University.


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