FIGMENT Project festival coming to Jefferson Park


by BRIAN NADIG

A two-day participatory art festival that attracted 4,000 visitors last year in Chicago is being relocated this summer to Jefferson Park, 4822 N. Long Ave.

Called the “Figment” project, the festival features acts that encourage fest-goers to become part of the art, said the project’s Chicago festival producer Elysia Lock. Roving improvisation ensembles, the use of people as chess pieces and artwork with movable pieces have been among the acts at other figment festivals, she said.

“It’s not stuff that hangs on the walls of galleries and homes,” Lock said. “It really engages the people.”

The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 16-17, in the park, and there is no admission charge. “We are commerce free. Nothing is for sale. No corporate sponsors,” Lock said.

Founded in New York in 2007, the project has expanded to10 figment festivals a year, including ones in Australia and Canada, and except for one paid worker, each festival is run by volunteers. Fundraising events are held for the festivals, and donations are accepted on the project’s Web site, which can be accessed at www.figmentproject.org.

Alderman John Arena (45th) worked with festival organizers in securing its permits for Jefferson Park. “It’s a great place. It’s safe, and there are a lot of families,” said festival communications coordinator David Shuey.

The first festival was held in Chicago last year at the Garfield Park Conservatory, but it had to be moved this year because of construction and prior commitments at Garfield. The 2013 festival in Chicago included 51 individual projects and more than 150 artists and performers.

A “call for participation” for artists wanting to submit a project for the festival will be held. Artists are not charged to participate in the festival.


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