What's New for 2016 Guide

NYC 2016 Weekend Artists Guide


Thank you for your interest in FIGMENT NYC Weekend on Governors Island! This will guide you through the process of bringing your piece to Governors Island.

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


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Returning artists should look for this sign indicating changes for 2016.

New and returning artists should check out our “What New for 2016” page for the latest updates on the Island and our curatorial process.

FIGMENT NYC Weekend: What’s New and updated for 2016?

Governors Island continues to renovate and to offer new services to the public, which is requiring some significant changes in how FIGMENT operates this year from previous years.  Even if you’ve be an artist in the past, please read the following information carefully.  Drop us a line at nyccuratorial@figmentproject.org if you have any questions.

Operating Schedule

Just like 2015, in 2016, Governors Island will be open seven days a week.  While this will make it much easier for artists to visit and prepare for work on the island, it has a few implications for the event that you should consider:

Vehicle Use

As in previous years, motor vehicle use is not permitted while the park is open to the public (10am--6pm) without a Park Service escort.  Because the park is open daily, artists will not be able to freely move a vehicle about the island during de/install periods after 10am.  Please plan accordingly.

Installation & Deinstallation Safety & Security

Please note that the park will now be open during de/install days.  Artists will still be able to work on the island before the park opens (usually 6am--10am) and continue to work through the day, but once the park is opened to the public at 10am, 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 Park Service staff will be removed without notice.

You are also advised to secure any valuable materials or tools if you leave your work site (even if the park is closed).

IMPORTANT: Vehicle access & The Cargo Container

This year, we are taking the FIGMENT principles of Communal Effort and Self-Reliance to new levels!

Since 2013, vehicle access has been limited to a few spots per day.  Because of the new park operating hours and increased island construction, we are anticipating that we'll have fewer ferries for even more vehicles chasing a very limited number of spots.

The Curatorial Team will be responsible for selecting which projects have vehicle access.  As in 2015, it is likely we will not know how many spots we have until a few weeks before the event.  First priority will be given to projects that ARE a vehicle, and to vehicles that are carrying multiple projects.

To facilitate this process again, we will be organizing an official FIGMENT cargo truck again.  Once submissions close and we understand the needs of artists for this year, we'll communicate specific details to all accepted artists.  Please note, due to vehicle limitations, we will move through cargo acceptations first and give priority to those artists that use the cargo truck over those that need vehicle access.  We encourage all artists that need vehicles to opt into the cargo truck. 

We anticipate the following process, which all artists should be prepared to use:

Install.  Depending on demand and needs, we may schedule additional cargo trucks on other days.  For now, we're giving an example of a Friday install:

  1. The cargo truck will be parked in a lot somewhere in the city.   Artists will come to the lot on Thursday evening to check in, and load their materials, rain or shine.  All materials must be study or packed in sturdy, solid boxes that a human can stand on (ie, no cardboard boxes or fragile materials).  Artists will also get their placement code and location at this time.
  2. The truck will be securely parked overnight.
  3. The truck will drive on the 8 am Friday ferry.  All artists with projects inside must be on the island prior to 8 am to identify their placement location and await the truck to unload.  The truck will make about 3 stops in various locations about the island to unload materials, rain or shine.  The artist will be responsible for picking up and moving their materials to their installation site.  Artists will also be responsible for bringing as many people as needed to carry their materials, but we do hope that artists will team up at a given drop-off location to get all materials quickly and safely moved to their sites.  FIGMENT hopes to provide carts or dollies to share.

Deinstall.  There will be only one deinstall day in 2016.  All materials must be off the island by Monday at 6pm. 

1) Artists may deinstall either Sunday afternoon or all day Monday.  Materials to be put on the cargo truck are to be returned to their drop-off point on the island by 4 pm Monday.  Artists leave materials at the drop-off point at their own risk.  Again, all materials left at the site to be loaded must be sturdy or packed in study boxes and labeled.

2) The cargo truck will make one round on the island picking up materials at the drop-off points at 4 pm.  Artists wishing to supervise the loading of their materials should be with their materials by 4 pm Monday.

3) The truck will return to the lot in the city Monday evening, hopefully by 7 pm.  Artists will need to be at the lot Monday night to pick up their materials.

Placement & Park Land

In 2016, the Placement Team is now part of the Curatorial Team.  We expect that this will improve placement decisions and coordination between artists and FIGMENT staff. Some updates on park land:

New Park Land

Governors Island opened 30 acres of new park land in and we are hoping to be able to offer this to artists in 2015!

Picnic Point

In 2013, Picnic Point was closed due to damage from Hurricane Sandy, and is not available to the public nor FIGMENT until further notice.

Indoor Space

In 2015, we had the privilege of using Pershing Hall for New Media projects. Pershing Hall looks to be available this year again!  We are also applying to use houses in Nolan Park and Colonels Row for New Media projects only. 

NPS Land

Certain parts of the island are maintained by the National Park Service (NPS), including Fort Jay (with the Magazine, moat, and surrounding land) and Castle Williams.  There have been pieces installed on NPS property in past years, and curatorial can try to work with any interested artists if we have enough notice beforehand to see if placement of their project on NPS land is possible.  Please apply early and communicate immediately to your curator.



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The FIGMENT NYC organization is one of many FIGMENT chapters around the world that carries the FIGMENT mission into its local community. FIGMENT NYC is the original and largest of these groups, and its 􏰜􏰁􏰁􏰳􏰁􏰊􏰅􏰋􏰁􏰏􏰁􏰊􏰉􏰋􏰆􏰕􏰋􏰉􏰓􏰁􏰋􏰇􏰈􏰝􏰕􏰓􏰆􏰣􏰋􏰦􏰧􏰖􏰨􏰩􏰞􏰒􏰋 Weekend event globally, drawing just under 22,000 visitors to Governors Island in 2013.

FIGMENT NYC supports multiple ongoing projects in New York. These are split into two main categories: “Weekend” and “Season
Long.” “Weekend” projects refer to the FIGMENT NYC Weekend event, a two-day event on Governors Island in early June. “Season Long” projects include the Mini-golf, Treehouse, Pavilion and Sculpture Garden projects usually located on the Parade Grounds. Weekend and Season Long projects have their own respective curatorial and management teams, which work closely together under the FIGMENT NYC umbrella. FIGMENT Weekend provides the inaugural celebration for Season Long projects.

This guide is intended for Weekend artists, although much of the material may be useful for Season Long artists as well.



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: http://www.figmentproject.org/history



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 http://www.figmentproject.org/principles



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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 ferry landings for the event itself).

4. We’re outdoors in a public park.  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 Island, and artists must be prepared to completely remove and clean up after their project. 

6. We’re an all-volunteer organization.  FIGMENT NYC 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 NYC 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 http://www.figmentproject.org/all_our_figment_cities_and_dates_in_one_place.



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The FIGMENT Weekend Curatorial Team is primarily concerned with the suitability of your project for FIGMENT and Governors Island, 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 Island 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 NYCCuratorial@figmentproject.org.  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 http://www.figmentproject.org/principles.


Is it durable and designed for the environment?

FIGMENT Weekend is a rain or shine event held outdoors on public park land that faces the ocean.  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 up to 22,000 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 island is open to the public during the day, but people are working on the island 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 Island, 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.

Is it feasible to bring to Governors Island? Does it pose legal or liability issues?

There are a host of restrictions on materials and activities on Governors Island. See the section on Designing Projects for FIGMENT below for more information.

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 NYC Weekend.

2016! Review the updated Weekend Event Process Timeline to ensure you or someone on your team is available on key dates such as site visits, de/install, and the event itself.

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 artistportal.figmentproject.org 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 2016, 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 “New York” 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 Governors Island 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 NYCcuratorial@figmentproject.org for assistance.

Also please note that FIGMENT NYC 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 http://www.figmentproject.org/all_our_figment_cities_and_dates_in_one_place. Each city has its own quirks, leadership, and curatorial process, so acceptance in NYC 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 on to a public ferry 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 on the island
  • must be taken off the island 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 NYCCuratorial@figmentproject.org.


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 ferry landings and minigolf kiosk 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 park land that faces the ocean, 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 NYC 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 NYC 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 island 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. However, it can only be applied to areas of the island outside of NPS property.  Chalk artists should submit a project so we can place your project in an appropriate area of the island. 

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 NYC due to Governors Island Policy

Compressed Gas

Helium has not been a problem in past years.  Any projects involving other compressed gases will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Water & Bubbles

The water from public spigots on the Island is not potable.  If your project involves water that will touch participants' skin or eyes, you will need to bring your own water onto the island.  This includes large bubble machines in which the solution is made on-site. 

Food & Water

All public food and drink distribution on Governors Island is subject to NYC Department of Health regulations.  If your project involves the distribution of food or beverages to the public, you must obtain a permit from the NYC DOH.  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 Island for the event, you will need three copies of your approved permit - one for the island, one for FIGMENT legal, and one to be posted at their project. 

As we noted above, there is no potable drinking water on Governors Island.  If your food or beverage project requires water, you will need to bring it on the island.

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 still requires 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 island?

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.



There are two separate groups that run different areas of Governors Island: the Trust for Governors Island and the National Park Service (NPS).  The NPS runs two areas: Fort Jay and its moat & magazine; and Castle Williams.  The NPS domain also includes about 200 square feet of land surrounding both installations.  The remaining land is operated by the Trust.

NPS and the Island Trust are separate bodies, and approval for placement on their respective land is handled separately.  In general, most of FIGMENT takes place on Trust land, and FIGMENT is largely responsible for vetting projects placed there.  If you do not request NPS land, you will be placed on Trust land. 

Temporary or movable projects, such as roving parades, vehicles, performance art, theatre and dance may cross over onto NPS land during the day without a permit from NPS so long as nothing is left or installed on their property.

For projects that will install anything on NPS land, we must follow a much stricter approval process that involves the NPS itself.  FIGMENT cannot guarantee NPS land even if it is requested.  Projects requiring approval include the placement of sculptures, as well as chalk, signage, tables, or chairs.   Here's what you should know about NPS projects:

  • NPS requires FIGMENT to submit proposed projects for approval about two months prior to the event.  As such, any project to be installed on NPS land must be submitted to FIGMENT well before our regular submissions deadline.  See the Weekend Event Process Timeline for the NPS submission date.
  • NPS submissions are required to provide specific dimensions, materials, the  specific requested location on NPS Land, and a photo or illustration of the installation.  Projects without an image will not be considered by the NPS. 




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

Electrical power is not reliable on the island.  It's usually stable, but due to active construction and old infrastructure, we have had times when power temporarily went out, or there was an infrastructure problem that unexpectedly cut off power to some parts of the island for the entire weekend.  You should consider what you would do in the event of a power problem.  We recommend power-dependent groups bring a backup generator, just in case.

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 island 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 slitter if you require multiple outlets.


Wifi, Cell Phones, and Internet Access

At this time, there is no public wifi or other Internet access that we know of on Governors Island.   Projects needing Internet access have successfully used celluar access in the past.

Cell phone signal strength has improved considerably over the past few years, but certain parts of the island may have a poor or no signal depending on your carrier.  We have no carrier recommendations.  If you or your project requires the use of a cell phone, you should visit the island and determine what areas will work best for you.  Let your curator know that you have a cell phone requirement, and what areas will work for you, and we'll do our best to accommodate your placement needs.



Staking into the ground

Governors Island is the former site of one of the oldest military bases in the US, and there may be unexploded munitions under the topsoil.  No one may drive a stake further than 6" into the ground.  We have had artists use water barrels or other heavy objects to weigh down tents and tarps. Please notify your curator if you plan to stake down your project.

Projects in the harbor

If you wish to propose a project in the harbor itself, please consider that this is an active harbor. It’s not a beach or a lake-- It’s a harbor with rough current, tidal flows, and a lot of ships. If you are considering a project for the harbor, please consider carefully (1) where the project will go, (2) how will you keep it there, (3) how will it float, and (4) how you would convince the local authorities to give you permission to build and maintain your project for the duration of FIGMENT. If your curator is confident that you’ve considered all these issues, we will work to secure permission for your project with all appropriate local and maritime authorities. 

Throwing projects into the harbor

No project should be thrown over the seawall into the water below without permission from Governors Island, even if you have done so in the past.  Please notify your curator if you project involves throwing materials into the water.

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.


Governors Island is 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.

Wishing Trees will need to be reviewed approved by the US Department of Parks and Recreation Special Projects Unit for compliance with federal wishing tree regulations.

Muddy Grass

If it rains (and historically speaking, it will) 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: Governors Island is in an open harbor with little protection from the 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 Governors Island is 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.  Vendors are not open on the island when the park is closed to the public (ie, before 10am). Please plan to bring any food or drink you may need.

Indoor space for storage, & security

FIGMENT takes place in a public park 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.

The island is only open to the public during the day, but people are working on the island around the clock.  Valuable equipment or materials are left unattended overnight is at the artist’s own risk.  FIGMENT artists must leave the island by the departure of the last public ferry.  You may not stay on the island overnight to supervise your project.

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 island. 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 NYC Weekend, we don't typically receive adult-themed project submissions at FIGMENT NYC, but we are not opposed to them.  Here's a few things to keep in mind before bringing an adult-themed project to FIGMENT NYC Weekend:  

  • FIGMENT NYC Weekend takes place on NYC public land.  If you can't do it legally on a street corner in Manhattan, you can't do it on Governor's Island. 
  • There are no gates or fences between the area FIGMENT uses and the rest of the public park, and not everyone comes to Governor's Island 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 park in NYC, 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 onto the island.  Many logistics 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.

Governors Island will be open seven days a week.  This has multiple implications for install logistics, the details of which will be worked out with your curator. If you are a returning artist, do not assume things will be the same as they were in prior years.  Logistics are subject to change due to any new policies 


Artists are encouraged to install and deinstall their projects on the days before and after FIGMENT Weekend itself.  See the Weekend Event Process Timeline for specific install and deinstall dates for this year.

The Island will now be open to the public during install and deinstall days, which will limit the use of motor vehicles, among other things.  We expect to continue to have non-public ferry access for early morning access to the Island.

Deinstall is only one day: the Monday after FIGMENT Weekend.


In general, FIGMENT artists should know that:

  • Access to the island is only available via ferry.
  • The larger Manhattan ferry has a clearance if 12.5 feet.
  • There are non-public ferry runs that start early in the morning and go until 10am, when the park opens to the public.  FIGMENT artists may use the non-public ferry runs on install, deinstall, and event days.  Non-public ferry runs require advance reservations through your curator.
  • Public ferries do not require reservations.  They are first come, first served.  Because of the high volume of visitors to the Island during FIGMENT weekend, we strongly recommend that artists ride a non-public ferry in the morning to ensure they arrive on the island before the event starts for the day. Public ferry lines can be unpredictably long (on fair weather days, and FIGMENT weekend for sure), and you may not get on the ferry even if you are in line before boarding begins.  In general, for public ferries,  we recommend arriving at the terminal an hour before you need to be on the island.
  • Ferries run about every 30--60 minutes from Manhattan and Brooklyn.  Non-public and vehicle ferries always depart from Manhattan.
  • Pedestrians and bicycles are welcome on any ferry. Passengers with bikes, strollers, and other wheeled contraptions usually board first, which you might use to your advantage if you do take a public ferry out. 
  • Your bags are subject to search.  You are representing FIGMENT; do not hassle security or attempt bring prohibited items onto the island.  Security is just doing their job; artists do not get special treatment or exemption from Island rules just because they're "with FIGMENT."


Vehicle access is extremely limited and requires advance reservations. Being accepted by FIGMENT does not guarantee vehicle access.  FIGMENT will triage and consolidate vehicle requests after submissions close. Vehicles may not operate on the island once the park is opened to the public at 10am.

2016! Because of the new park operating hours and increased island construction, we are anticipating that we'll have fewer ferries for even more vehicles chasing a limited number of spots. As in 2015, we will offer a rideshare board, as well as organizing an official FIGMENT cargo truck. For more details on the container, see our What’s New for 2016 guide.

For more information on the ferries, the ferry schedule, and the Island itself, visit http://www.govisland.com.


The island has people on it at all times, but public ferries only operate for part of the day. In previous years, the last ferry back to the city is at 7 pm.  All FIGMENT events, activities, and performances, including music, end at 5 pm sharp daily.  You should schedule any performances, parties, or events to end before 5 pm.  If you need to break down and pack equipment to be taken off the island the same day, plan to start breakdown so as to be on the 6 pm ferry.  If you miss the final ferry at pm, it is a costly private ferry ride off the island.

For install and deinstall days, the ferry may run on a different schedule than on the weekend.  See your curator for details.


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 on the island.  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 of the island, 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 Governor's Island as cell phone coverage can be spotty on the island-- just search for FIGMENT on your phone's app store.  

Roving projects

"Roving" projects move about the island, 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

Like placement, factors weather and power may require a sudden change in stage schedules. We recommend you tell your followers to find out the performance schedule when they visit the island. Schedules will be posted at stage locations. 

If you are performing on a stage, and you must tell your followers when you are scheduled, do not advertise the time of your performance until your curator tells you your performance time has been finalized. Just because you request a particular time, it does not mean we can accommodate it.  Check with your curator before advertising times.



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FIGMENT offers two optional “Site Visit” events prior to FIGMENT Weekend, which provide artists the opportunity to visit the Island 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 before the Island is open to the public for the season, giving artists the opportunity to explore the Island 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 island will be open to the public during SV2.

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


Here are some final tips for your visit to Governors Island.  For more information on the ferries, the island schedule, and the island itself, visit http://www.govisland.com

  • If it has rained considerably in the past few days, wear boots if your project is on the grass or you expect to be exploring the island.
  • Water on the island is not potable.  Bring your own water, or you can buy water from vending machines on the island.  Vendors also sell beverages when the park is open to the public.
  • Bring a bike!  The Island is very bike friendly, and it makes exploring the terrain faster and easier.
  • Bring a camera to take pictures of preferred locations.
  • Public restrooms with running water are in limited supply on the island, especially when the island is closed to the public.  There are plenty of portapotties.  You’ve been warned.
  • Visitors to Governors Island are prohibited from bringing alcohol on the island.  Certain vendors are permitted to sell beer and wine to the public in designated areas. Anyone caught drinking or serving alcohol outside of vending areas will be escorted off the island. 
  • Pets are not allowed on Governors Island.
  • If it’s a sunny day, pack sunscreen and a hat.