FIGMENT Boulder 2017 Guide

FIGMENT Boulder Artists Guide


Thank you for your interest in FIGMENT Boulder Weekend on at the Boulder Public Library! This will guide you through the process of bringing your piece to the Library.

New challenges and information may arise in the weeks leading up to the event. The Curatorial Team will keep accepted artists apprised of changes, and may supply new information that supersedes the details contained in this guide. Be sure to stay in regular communication with your assigned curator.

If you have any questions about bringing your project to FIGMENT that are not addressed in this guide, please email 􏰞􏰟􏰠􏰂􏰗􏰐􏰈􏰉􏰃􏰐􏰆􏰈􏰡􏰢􏰚􏰝􏰄􏰁􏰊􏰉􏰣􏰐􏰃􏰤􏰁􏰂􏰉􏰛􏰃􏰐􏰝us.


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Back again for the second year in a row! We're bringing more art, more artists and a new location on the West side of the Boulder Public Library. We had several hundred people come through last year and are anticipating even more for 2017. Come play with us!


Installation & Deinstallation Safety & Security

Please note that the library will be open during de/install days and the days of the event. Once the library is opened to the public, you must take appropriate measures to ensure that any unfinished installations, tools, or scrap materials do not pose a hazard to others, in particular, children.  Consider using warning signs, roping off your area, and having another person available to watch your installation until your work is complete. 

FIGMENT can not supply a volunteer to guard installation sites.  Unattended sites deemed to be unsafe by FIGMENT or Library staff will be removed without notice.

You are also advised to secure any valuable materials or tools if you leave your work site.


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The FIGMENT Boulder organization is one of many FIGMENT chapters around the world that carries the FIGMENT mission into its local community. FIGMENT Boulder is one of the newest of these groups, and it's many of it's core team are prior volunteers and artists from other FIGMENT events.


FIGMENT is a forum for the creation and display of participatory and interactive art by emerging artists across disciplines. FIGMENT began in July 2007 as a free, one-day participatory arts event on Governors Island in New York Harbor with over 2,600 participants. Since then, FIGMENT has grown significantly each year—in number of projects, duration, participants, volunteers, fundraising capability, exhibitions, locations, overall level of commitment and participation, and public support.

FIGMENT is a project of Action Arts League, a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization, and is created and produced by a coalition of volunteers. FIGMENT is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

For further background on FIGMENT, the History page on our website provide more details:



FIGMENT has 11 principles that shape our event, giving our events a unique flavor and experience found in few places elsewhere in the world.  They also guide the curators in selecting art appropriate for the event.  Upholding the principles presents challenges to FIGMENT artists, staff, and volunteers that many other art events do not have to address.  We take these principles seriously, and you’ll see references to the FIGMENT principles throughout this guide and elsewhere in our materials. Please familiarize yourself with them on our website at



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1. Everyone is welcome.  Artists and participants of any age or experience are welcome to be a part of FIGMENT. 

2. All art is participatory. All of the art at FIGMENT is participatory.  We look for art that encourages people to play, dance, sing, create, engage, experiment, and explore their environment. 

3. No sales, logos, or advertising.  The art at FIGMENT is a gift from the artist to the FIGMENT community.  Nothing is for sale at FIGMENT.  At FIGMENT, interactions between people are not mediated by commercial transactions of any kind.  There is no advertising, nothing is for sale, and no one asks for donations (other than at the information desk for the event itself).

4. We’re outdoors in a public Space.  FIGMENT takes place outdoors in a public area, so your project should be designed to withstand the weather and the public. 

5. We leave no trace.  Your project can not leave any trace or mark on the property, and artists must be prepared to completely remove and clean up after their project. 

6. We’re an all-volunteer organization.  FIGMENT Boulder is an all-volunteer organization.  Our staff gives their time as a gift to artists and participants.  We do our best to respond to your questions and requests in a timely fashion, but everyone involved in making FIGMENT happen has other work-related commitments.   Additionally, artists need to supply all of the labor they need to install, supervise, and deinstall their project. 

7. FIGMENT Boulder Weekend is a completely free event.  There is no charge for artists or participants to be a part of the event. 

8. We have no artists grants. The weekend event does not have a budget for project grants.

9. We're in other cities, too!  There are FIGMENT weekend events happening around the globe, and we encourage artists to bring their projects to multiple cities!  To see where else FIGMENT is happening, visit



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The FIGMENT Curatorial Team is primarily concerned with the suitability of your project for FIGMENT and the Boulder Public Library, as opposed to artist experience, education or previous exhibitions of the piece.  Artists of any age or experience are welcome to be a part of FIGMENT as long as the project is interactive, upholds our principles, and does not violate library or city rules.  Here are some questions you should ask yourself when preparing a project for FIGMENT.

Is it interactive?

Interactive or Participatory art blurs the lines between the artist, the art, and people engaging with the art.  We look for art that encourages people to play, dance, sing, create, engage, experiment, and explore their environment.  Theatre, dance, music, performance art, games, DJs, lectures, sound installations, social experiments, community projects, creative costuming, workshops and activities are all common genres found at FIGMENT. Three dimensional sculptural installations are also common at FIGMENT, as the participant’s experience of the piece alters as he or she moves around it. 

We generally do not accept “wall art” such as finished paintings or photography and do not have space to display such works.  Artists working in those genres are encouraged to find a way to engage FIGMENT participants in creating such works, such as:

  • Engaging an audience or passers-by in creating a new work
  • Displaying such works inside a larger sculptural installation
  • Collaborating with a performance art event
  • or creating some other participatory experience that involves such works

If you have an idea for FIGMENT but you’re not sure if it works, please reach out to our Curatorial team at  We’ll be happy to work with you on that.


Does it uphold the FIGMENT Principles?

In addition to being interactive, art at FIGMENT must be consistent with our 11 principles.   FIGMENT has 11 principles that shape our event, giving our events a unique flavor and experience found in few places elsewhere in the world.  They also guide the curators in selecting art appropriate for the event.  Upholding the principles presents challenges to FIGMENT artists, staff, and volunteers that many other art events do not have to address.  Please familiarize yourself with them on our website at


Is it durable and designed for the environment?

FIGMENT Weekend is a rain or shine event held outdoors.  We do not have indoor storage space for projects, and the event does not have secure borders.  This means a few things:

  • Projects brought to FIGMENT must be able to withstand heavy rain and wind. It’s okay to disassemble or cover your project in the event of rain (or at the end of the day, just in case), but you need to be prepared for rain.  If your project falls apart in the wind or rain, it is your responsibility to clean it up.
  • Projects must be durable and ready to have people interacting with it.  Projects made from fragile or flimsy materials will not be accepted. 
  • Projects must also be designed with security in mind—the library is open to the public during the day, but no one is there around the clock.  Valuable equipment or materials are left unattended at the artist’s own risk.

Does it pose a threat to LNT?

We take our principle of Leave No Trace seriously.  Your project can not leave any trace or mark on the property and artists must be prepared to clean up after their project.  For more details on what this means and how to comply, see our LNT Guide.

Artist history & experience

As we stated earlier, artists of any age or experience are welcome to be a part of FIGMENT.  We consider artist history and experience largely for placement and PR purposes only.



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Please review this guide thoroughly to ensure you understand the requirements and challenges of FIGMENT Boulder Weekend.

Additionally, please consider your calendar when applying to FIGMENT. If you are going to be out of town in the days before or after FIGMENT, you’ll need to consider how you’ll handle install, deinstall, and management of your project in your absence. 


When you’re ready to submit your project, go to to start the submission process.  If you are a new artist, click the “Create Account” button to set up your Artist Portal account first.

Artists who used the Portal last year can sign in using your existing credentials.  Using your existing account will allow you to see information on projects you submitted in the past.

Once you have signed in, you’ll see your Contact Details page.  To update your details, click the Edit button.  To submit a project for 2017, click the “Continue to Submit for an Event” button at the bottom of the page. 

On the next page, you can start a new application, review an application from last year, or resume an existing application. To start a new application, click the “CREATE A PROJECT” link on the “Boulder” row to start an application. 

On the first page of the application, you must click the “Accept Policies” and “Accept Waiver” buttons, read the materials presented in the dialog box, and then click the “Accept” button in each respective dialog box.

Continue filling out the application, clicking “Save” before moving on to the next page.  When you click “Save,” the website will validate your entries and let you know if anything is missing.  We recommend you “Save” on every page before moving on— It’s easier to deal with missing information when you’re on that page, as opposed to waiting until the Summary page.  After your entries are saved, click “Next” to move to the next section.  To go back a page, use the “Back” button, “Save” your changes, then use “Next” to continue.  Be sure to “Save” your work if you use the tabs at the top to move between sections. 

To exit and return to your application later, click “Save” before closing your browser.  When you sign back in, click the “Project Submissions” tab near the upper right corner of your Contact Details screen, and find your application listed at the bottom of the page.  Click the “Edit” link to continue.



After you complete the submission form, you will receive an automated confirmation email.  A FIGMENT Curator will be assigned to your project, and will contact you within a few days to introduce him or herself, and let you know if we have any questions for you.  If you need to make travel plans by a certain date in order to get to FIGMENT, please bring this to the attention of your curator.

We will begin accepting submissions on a rolling basis once the submissions process opens.  The time to review and accept projects varies greatly by project.  There are often many issues we need to work out with Library, and a response is not always immediate.  All artists will be notified by the Project Approval Deadline listed in the Weekend Event Process Timeline.



The FIGMENT staff communicates with artists primarily by email. You will need to check your email account regularly for communications from your curator, especially in the weeks leading up to the event.

Please note that FIGMENT is run entirely by volunteers.  It may take your curator a few days to respond to messages.  Please be patient and respectful with your curator.  If your curator has not replied to an urgent message within a few days, you can email boulder@figmentproject.o for assistance.

Also please note that FIGMENT Boulder uses a Salesforce database to manage project submissions.  You may hear your curator refer to Salesforce.  Artists do not have access to the Salesforce database and do not need to have any knowledge of that application.  Any updates or changes to your project’s information will be made by your curator on your behalf.



There are FIGMENT Weekend events happening around the globe, and we encourage artists to bring their projects to multiple cities!  To see where else FIGMENT is happening, visit Each city has its own quirks, leadership, and curatorial process, so acceptance in Boulder does not guarantee acceptance elsewhere.  Please reach out to the leadership in each city for submission requirements.



You can still bring a project to FIGMENT, even if you didn’t submit your project!  Any project that complies with the guidelines in this document and that can be carried onto a public space can come to FIGMENT.   Please note that unregistered projects:

  • will not be on our website or posted schedules
  • will not have access to power
  • cannot be installed in a building or on any structure at the library
  • must be taken off the library property every day and leave no trace

If you have any questions about these requirements, or just want to give us a heads-up that you’re coming, please drop us a line at


One of the defining—and challenging—principles of FIGMENT is that of Decommodification.  From our Declaration of Principles: 

FIGMENT seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorship, transactions, or advertising. We will not substitute consumption for experience.

The art at FIGMENT is a gift from the artist to the FIGMENT community. At FIGMENT, everything that we do is a gift, and is done for the pleasure of doing it and sharing it with other people.

We certainly understand that bringing your art to FIGMENT Weekend costs money.  Outside of the event, how you raise that money is up to you.  However, artists who are a part of FIGMENT Weekend may not raise money for their project at the event itself.  We understand that this is an unusual requirement of artists at an arts event, so we want to make sure you understand in no uncertain terms that:

1. Artists are prohibited from marketing or selling goods of any kind at FIGMENT Weekend, including their art. 

Please do not display or distribute fliers, business cards, or printed materials at FIGMENT.  Paper poses an LNT risk, and is usually left laying around by participants.

You may collect participant email or mailing addresses on a clipboard, but we ask that you make it clear to participants that they are signing up for your list and not for information on FIGMENT.  The clipboard should be kept discreet, and there should be no quid pro quo sign-up in order to participate in your project.

2. Artists are prohibited from soliciting donations at FIGMENT Weekend. The FIGMENT organization does solicit donations at the welcome desk and on our site to cover the costs of producing the overall weekend event.  This is the only solicitation of donations to FIGMENT participants allowed on behalf of our community.

3. Artists are prohibited from displaying, mentioning, or giving away goods or materials with a business logo. 

If you can not abide by this rules, then FIGMENT is not the right venue for you.



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This section will guide you through what we look for when evaluating a project's durability and safety.  FIGMENT Weekend is a rain or shine event held outdoors on public space, so projects brought to FIGMENT must be able to withstand the elements, must not pose an LNT risk, be reasonably safe, and must also comply with library and city regulations.

Any project that poses an LNT risk, is left unattended when it requires full artist supervision, poses a health or safety risk, or violates regulations may be moved, closed off, or removed at our discretion.

Here are some things to consider.

Glass and Plexiglas

Glass and unframed or unsupported Plexiglas are something we'll want to take a closer look at, as these can break, pose a safety hazard, and may be an LNT concern.

Paper for construction or handouts

At the risk of patronizing you, paper is not a durable material.  Paper falls apart quickly when wet, flies away easily in the wind, and when given as a handout, they are dropped or left behind by participants elsewhere.  Any submissions using paper as a material will need to address those concerns.  Any project containing shredded paper will not be accepted.


While better than paper, cardboard project will not likely survive the weekend, and are just as likely to blow away.   Any submissions using cardboard as a material will need to address wind and durability.  


Loose glitter should not be used with a project at FIGMENT Weekend.


We love paint projects!  However, paint poses a serious LNT risk.   All paint projects must have a plan for catching every drop of paint, for dealing with a spill, for ensuring participants won't track paint around the library in their feet or clothes, and for ensuring paint won't splatter where it should not go, including the ground, buildings, and other participants.  Leaving paint on the grass or ground is unacceptable.  All paint actively used at FIGMENT weekend must be water-soluble.


Chalk art (which washes away with water) is welcome. Chalk artists should submit a project so we can place your project in an appropriate area. 

Other Leave No Trace Risks

For more on what Leave No Trace (LNT) means, see our guide to that topic. 


Sadly there is no fire allowed at FIGMENT due to safety concerns. 

Compressed Gas

Any projects involving other compressed gases will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Water & Bubbles

No public water source is available. If your project involves water that will touch participants' skin or eyes, you will need to bring your own water.  This includes large bubble machines in which the solution is made on-site. 

Food & Water

All public food and drink distribution on is subject to Boulder Department of Health regulations.  If your project involves the distribution of food or beverages to the public, you must obtain appropriate permits.  Your curator can supply you with the correct form.  You will need to apply for the permit and send the approved permit to your curator prior to the event.  When you come to the library for the event, you will need three copies of your approved permit - one for the library, one for FIGMENT legal, and one to be posted at their project. 

The exception to this rule is individually prepackaged goods such as wrapped candy, gum balls, fortune cookies, soda cans and snack cakes.  The food must be distributed in a completely sealed wrapper or container.  Food or drink distributed from an opened container could still require a permit.

In either case, you must also plan for collection and disposal of wrappers, plates, cups, napkins, or any other materials that come with your food.  How will you ensure that materials will not blow away or be left around the library?

Please let your curator know if your project involves any food.

 Small movable parts and decorations

Although we have not had acts of intentional vandalism, anything that moves, is shiny or removable will be played with and pulled on by children in ways you may not imagine, and small parts are prone to falling off or needing repair.  Consider how you might reinforce or avoid the use of small parts.

Sharp points and materials

Consider a child’s mentality and curiosity. Avoid sharp-moving parts, or pointy things that stick up even if it seems obvious that they should not be touched.

Climbable projects and vehicles

Any project on which participants are encouraged to climb or ride will need to be supervised by the artist at all times.  You will need a team of people to support you in the supervision, allowing you to take breaks or deal with the unexpected.  Participants who climb on your project will need to sign a waiver, which will be supplied by FIGMENT.  The artist is responsible for ensuring participants sign the waiver; FIGMENT will not have volunteers managing that process.

Any project that may look inviting to climb upon, but is not safe to climb or unable to be supervised by the artist at all times may have "Do Not Climb" signs posted on or around the project.



FIGMENT may be able to supply electrical power to projects that submit to FIGMENT Weekend by our application deadline and indicate what their power requirements are.

There are some instances in which FIGMENT rents a generator to be shared by artists.  You should find out from your curator if your power is from the library or a FIGMENT generator, and when that power will be available.  Do not assume a generator will always be on-site or running at all times.

Powered projects should also bring a 100' extension cord, as well as a power strip or splitter if you require multiple outlets.


Balloons and Flying things

Projects can fly in the air as high as 149 feet without involving the FAA. With FAA permission, your project can fly up to 500 feet. Please let us know if you think your project will be higher than 149 feet from the ground.


The Library and city are very protective of its trees.  Your project may touch or wrap around a tree if it's very light and will not damage, strip or mark a tree.  We recommend using cloth, and avoiding paper strings, since they can stick or leak color on any tree when it rains. Please let us know if you project involves a tree.

Muddy Grass

If it rains or has rained considerably in the days before the event, the grass can get muddy.  Please be sure your project is ready for mud.



Rain & Wind

As noted elsewhere in this guide, Projects brought to FIGMENT must be able to withstand heavy rain and wind. It’s okay to disassemble or cover your project in the event of rain (or at the end of the day, just in case), but you need to be prepared for rain and wind.  If your project falls apart in the wind or rain, it is your responsibility to clean it up. 

Rain: If rain is an issue, we recommend bringing a tarp to cover your project and weigh it down with some heavy objects, or tie it down with rope.  Keep in mind that a tarp can also become a kite in heavy wind.

Wind: If your project is lightweight, or involves lightweight materials, consider how you will handle a breezy day or storm.

Overnight: If your project is susceptible to rain or wind problems, how will you secure your project overnight when it is unattended?


Much of the Library grounds are an open, grassy area, and as such, you should be prepared to protect yourself from the sun.  Consider bringing sunscreen; wearing a hat, sunglasses, or other appropriate attire; or bringing a shade structure to protect yourself and your crew as needed.  Plan to have enough water with you to stay hydrated on hot, sunny days.


There are a few things you should know FIGMENT does not provide to FIGMENT Weekend artists. 

Tables and chairs

Please bring any and all tables and chairs that you need to make your project a success.

Volunteer Assistance

Although we do have occasional outside volunteer groups that show up to lend a hand with FIGMENT, we do not organize volunteers to help with projects and can't guarantee any support.  Artists should bring their own support team.

Ladders and tools

We do not provide ladders or other tools.  We have a very limited set of tools ourselves to build and support FIGMENT infrastructure, much of which is built at the same time you are installing or deinstalling your project.  We can't lend out our tools.  Check with your fellow artists to see if someone is bringing a tool you need.  See your curator for details on how to reach out to other artists.

Food and Drink

Although HQ does usually have some snacks during the event, we do not always have food or drinks available, especially during install and deinstall. Please plan to bring any food or drink you may need.

Indoor space for storage, & security

FIGMENT takes place in a public area with no secure borders. Any valuable materials or equipment belonging to you should be supervised by you and your team at all times.  We do not have volunteers or security staff to supervise equipment.

Valuable equipment or materials are left unattended overnight is at the artist’s own risk. 

Our ability to store any equipment or project materials indoors overnight is limited.  You should plan to secure or take your own equipment.  Check with your fellow artists to see if someone has a vehicle you can store materials in.  See your curator for details on how to reach out to other artists.

Grants & Funding

FIGMENT is a community-based event organized and run by volunteers.  FIGMENT Weekend does not provide funding for the production, transportation, or insurance of works to, at, or from the the library. FIGMENT encourages artists to apply for outside grants and fundraise for your project within your personal capacity. 

Please note that fundraising at the FIGMENT Weekend Event itself is prohibited, including selling art, soliciting donations, or displaying business sponsorship logos.  For more information, see the section on decommodification. 



So, you have a project with some boy parts or lady bits?  Due to the public setting of FIGMENT Boulder Weekend, we don't typically receive adult-themed project submissions at FIGMENT Boulder, but we are not opposed to them.  Here's a few things to keep in mind before bringing an adult-themed project to FIGMENT Boulder Weekend:  

  • FIGMENT Boulder weekend takes place on public space.  If you can't do it legally on a street corner in Boulder, you can't do it at FIGMENT. 
  • There are no gates or fences between the area FIGMENT uses and the rest of the public property, and not everyone comes to the library knowing that FIGMENT is happening.   You will have adults and children with a wide range of religious and social beliefs about what's appropriate, or what they would like their families to see, encountering your art.  You should be prepared for a wide range of responses to projects of an adult nature. 
  • Again, this is a public space, so you will also have people with a variety of reasons for interest in, and maturity around, works with adult themes and may attract unwanted characters hanging out with your art.  You should be prepared to deal with such people.
  • FIGMENT does bill itself as a "family-friendly" all-ages event, so your assigned curator may work with you to find a way to make it clear to participants that the project may not be suitable for children.



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After your project is accepted, your curator will work with you to finalize the logistics of bringing your project to FIGMENT.  Many logistical details for the event are not known until the weeks leading up to the event, but this section will cover some of the usual details artists need to know.

The Library is open seven days a week.  This has multiple implications for install logistics, the details of which will be worked out with your curator. Logistics are subject to change due to any new policies 


Artists are encouraged to install and deinstall their projects on the morning of, and evening after FIGMENT weekend itself. 

The library will be open to the public during install and deinstall days, which will limit the use of motor vehicles, among other things.  


Your curator will work with you and our placement team to determine the best location for your project.  However, placement is not final until the day of the event. Weather, power, and construction issues have and will force last-minute relocations of projects.   We may share your expected placement location with you in advance of the event in order to gather feedback and facilitate logistics planning. However, we strongly advise against sharing your expected location with your friends, fans, and mailing lists as a way to find you at FIGMENT.  Instead, there are two key items to tell followers when advertising your location:

Item #1: "There are no maps." FIGMENT does not post or distribute maps showing the location of specific projects. Maps will be posted showing main areas, but they don't show project locations. Instead, tell your fans to "use the app!"

Item #2: "Use the app!" When advertising your project to friends and fans, tell them to use the official FIGMENT iPhone or Android app to find your spot when they arrive. They can also look you up on the FIGMENT website, which will be updated with location information shortly before the event. The FIGMENT phone app and website will have up-to-the-minute data and details on project locations and schedules. They should download the app before they leave for Figment.

Roving projects

"Roving" projects move about FIGMENT, but require a specific starting time and location for participants at which to meet up. To make it easier for participants to find roving projects, FIGMENT designates an official "Roving Start Point" for roving projects to use, if they so choose. You can gather participants at the start point, and then begin your adventure from there. Just tell your followers go to the "Roving Start Point" at your scheduled time(s). FIGMENT will also post the project names and start time(s) for roving projects at this location.  Talk to your curator if you want to use the roving start point.

Stages and Schedules

There are no stages at Figment. If your project requires a stage, it will have to be reviewed by the curation team and the library, before approval. There is one indoor auditorium and two other smaller rooms that can potentially be used for stage based performances.



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FIGMENT offers two optional “Site Visit” events prior to FIGMENT Weekend, which provide artists the opportunity to visit the location and meet FIGMENT staff in person. See the Weekend Event Process Timeline for the dates planned for this year.

Site Visit 1 (SV1) is scheduled two months before the event giving artists the opportunity to explore the library grounds well in advance of the event and request specific locations.  Reservations with your curator must be made in advance to participate in SV1.

For Site Visit 2 (SV2), preliminary placement plans have been completed, and artists will be given a placement map, have the opportunity to visit their planned placement location and provide feedback to the Curatorial Team.  The library will be open to the public during SV2.

Artists are welcome to attend either event if their schedules allow.


  • Bring a camera to take pictures of preferred locations.
  • Public restrooms with running water are in limited supply, especially when the library is closed to the public.  There will be plenty of portapotties.
  • If it’s a sunny day, pack sunscreen and a hat.

All Content © 2017 by FIGMENT.





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