2014 has been an amazing year... FIGMENT was in 10 cities in 3 countries, impacting some 250,000 people. We appreciate everything that you have done to get us here... your creativity, your volunteerism, your financial support.
We hope we can count on you to support FIGMENT once more before the new year.
You may have heard that last week FIGMENT decided to decline a donation for the first time in our history, from the Santacon event in NYC. It was a difficult decision, but we want to maintain our integrity focusing on free, family-friendly events that celebrate creativity and build community.
To make up for this gap, an anonymous FIGMENT supporter has offered to match all donations we receive until 12/31. Your tax-deductible gift to FIGMENT today will be doubled. Please help us one more time before 12/31. Your contribution today will do twice as much to reach people with participatory art and build community around creativity.
From everyone at FIGMENT, we want to wish you and your community a peaceful and regenerative holiday season!
Photo (c) 2014 Anthony Collins, FIGMENT NYC
There have been recent inquiries into FIGMENT's relationship with Santacon. Unfortunately, none of the so-called media outlets that have published articles have asked FIGMENT for comment prior to publishing. Therefore, we hereby voluntarily give the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Happy reading.
FIGMENT was conceptualized about ten years ago by a group of community organizers who were interested in participatory arts. Some recent articles have suggested that FIGMENT and Burning Man are related. To clarify, we have been inspired to some extent by the artistic and communal effort ethos of Burning Man, but we are in no way officially associated with Burning Man.
Santacon was originally an effort to bring participatory art into a public sphere, as illustrated by recent interviews with John Law from San Francisco's Cacophony Society. As such, many FIGMENT artists and organizers have participated in Santacon in the past, and many Santacon enthusiasts value the role that FIGMENT plays in bringing participatory art into a family-friendly public arena. FIGMENT accepted a donation from Santacon in 2013, and we were apparently one of four charities that were beneficiaries of the event.
Santacon has evolved from its roots, however, in a way that is perceived by many to be out of control and even dangerous. FIGMENT cannot be associated with an event of this nature, and we have decided not to accept any donations from Santacon this year.
As with our standing commitment not to accept corporate donations, we will make decisions on all future funders of FIGMENT with a priority of upholding the integrity of our work: FIGMENT is a free, family-friendly celebration of creativity that builds community and invites everyone to participate as an artist.
We at FIGMENT have been aware that there is crossover between participants of our events and Santacon. FIGMENT is a transparent 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charity, but because Santacon organizers have remained hidden from the public and participants, there has been no way to know definitively of any potential overlap in current leadership.
Jim Glaser, a founding member of FIGMENT's Board of Directors, has stepped forward in his contributions to Santacon, much as he is involved with many participatory culture events. Jim looks forward to continuing to participate in FIGMENT as an artist and as founder of Kostume Kult, which provides kid-friendly costume giveaways each year at FIGMENT NYC. However, recognizing a conflict of interest, Jim has resigned from FIGMENT's Board of Directors. We thank him for his formative role in FIGMENT's development.
We value that there may be artistic and charitable intentions behind Santacon, and understand that individuals involved with FIGMENT may don a Santa hat for one day a year. However, we will continue to maintain that any conflict of interest between the leadership of the two organizations is unacceptable.
Since its inception, FIGMENT has celebrated and supported creative expression by artists of all kinds, and invited every individual to explore his or her inner artist to create work to share. While we do not accept corporate donations to support our nonprofit mission, we have made it our policy in the past to accept donations from many community groups and events.
This year, FIGMENT has decided to refuse a donation from a community event for the first time in our history in refusing any donation offered to it by Santacon. It has become clear to us that, while Santacon was originally a fundamentally creative and expressive event, it has become something else in recent years. Many residents in the neighborhoods that Santacon has visited have had extremely negative experiences, which have been well documented in local media. As an organization that values community, and that works to build, grow, and nurture local communities through art and creativity in 10 cities, FIGMENT cannot be associated with an event that so many people feel represents a danger to their neighborhoods.
FIGMENT creates free arts events in 10 cities around the world that invite everyone to create and share. We believe that everyone is an artist, that everyone has something to say, and that through creativity we can build strong and diverse communities. FIGMENT is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization entirely funded by grants and individual donations. We appreciate your support in creating free arts events and experiences that everyone is welcome to participate in as a creator.