Join the FIGMENT NYC Team for on Feb. 10th for our next Meet & Greet

Join the FIGMENT team and community on Tues. Feb. 10 at Open House Club (244 East Houston) from 7:00-10:00 PM for our February Meet & Greet event.

The FIGMENT NYC team will be on hand to share exciting updates about our 2015 Sculpture Program and City of Dreams Pavilions (yes, plural!). Bring us your questions about submitting a proposal for FIGMENT Minigolf, the Treehouse, or FIGMENT weekend, and if you're interested in, or just curious about volunteering or getting involved in FIGMENT in any way, this is a great opportunity to learn more. 

We'll be joined this month by the team from ALPHA; FIGMENT's weekend camping event for creators.  Happening in Maryland, April 24th-26th, we use a bucolic space for workshops, skill-shares, building and burning (of art) too. Meet the ALPHA team and connect with other attendees to plan projects. Our effigy team, ALPHAGY, will be on hand as well and looking for volunteers. Learn more about the event at and rsvp for the event at .

As always, the good company of our amazing FIGMENT/ALPHA community is assured, so join us to round out your Tuesday with a little creative energy and great people no matter whether or not you have questions.

Pleas RSVP to the Facebook event here, and please help us spread the word.

The 2015 City of Dreams Competition: Two pavilions too good to pass up

FIGMENT, the Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY), and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) are pleased to announce that a distinguished jury has selected two winning designs in the fifth annual City of Dreams Pavilion Competition: Billion Oyster Pavilion by BanG Studio of New York City and Organic Growth by Izaskun Chinchilla Architects of Madrid and London. Pending approvals and fundraising, these pavilions will both be assembled on Governors Island and open to the public for the summer 2015 season.

Read the full story here.

Our first meet & greet of 2015!

The first FIGMENT meet & greet of 2015 is coming up on Tuesday, January 13th.

We hope you'll join us to help us kick off the ninth season of FIGMENT NYC.

Join the team of doers, artists, volunteers, contributors, and participants that make both FIGMENT weekend and our summer long sculpture, treehouse, and minigolf courses happen. We'll be on hand to answer questions, share stories, and explore ways to make this year's event the best FIGMENT yet.

WHEN: Tuesday, January 13th, 7:00-10:00 PM

WHERE: Open House, located at 244 East Houston.

RSVP to our Facebook event here, and please share and help us spread the word.

Thanks for helping the FIGMENT community thrive; we hope to see you soon.

      -With gratitude, 

George Ingalls and the FIGMENT NYC team.

Have you heard the news?

(c) 2014 Anthony Collins, FIGMENT NYC
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!

David Koren
Executive Director

Photo (c) 2014 Anthony Collins, FIGMENT NYC

FIGMENT and Santacon: The Whole Story

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. 

FIGMENT Refuses Donation from Santacon (NYC)

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.


2015 Minigolf Call - Here to There

Open Call: Submissions for 2015 Minigolf Course

Join us for a design meeting on Wednesday, December 17th 6:30-7:30pm at CMA, 103  Charlton St., New York, NY 10014.


Photo by Erik McGregor. Attack of King Kristy by Campus Operandi

From Here to There

Welcome to 2015! Over the past seven summers, FIGMENT has created a free, artist-designed minigolf course on Governors Island in New York City. This course, one of a number of summer-long programs created by FIGMENT in addition to its weekend-long FIGMENT NYC event, has received substantial amount of critical acclaim and media attention, and has delighted hundreds of thousands of visitors of all ages.

As FIGMENT's mission is to build community through participatory art, we have found that artist-designed minigolf provides a great template on which artists can envision a creative framework in which others can interact. For the visitor to the island, minigolf provides a basic point of entry to participatory art: it's easy for almost anyone to pick up a golf club, ball, and scorecard and interact with the art!


Photo by Scott Lynch. City Bikes by Gary Dolan

Our theme for the 2015 FIGMENT minigolf course is "From Here to There."

This year's proposals should reflect artists' interpretation of the concept of transportation, whether across state lines or between states of mind. With the vast choices for getting yourself or getting "goods" from one place to another, how where you are now to where you want to be? Our aspiration is to create artist-designed, free to the public, minigolf course on Governors Island (our eighth annual course!) that captures the multitude of transportation options from the past, present and future; highlights the positive and/or negative social, economic, or environmental impact of transportation; or interprets abstract transportation practices such as telepathy or psychotherapy. Designs should interpret this year's theme with as much diversity of perspective as possible. You can interpret the theme literally, metaphorically, or with as much poetic license as you like. Be bold!

A jury will evaluate proposals based on the following criteria: creativity, durability, playability, feasibility, adherence to theme, budget and community involvement. Please be sure not to use any proprietary, copyrighted, or trademarked symbols or characters in your proposal.

Deadline: March 1, 2015

Download the complete submission packet.

Photo by Anthony Collins. Hoods and Woods by Vanessa Khouri

2015 Pavilion Finalists

FIGMENT, the Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY), and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) are excited to announce the finalists for the 2015 City of Dreams Pavilion Design Competition:

  • The Pulp Pavilion by MegaZoo (Melody Rees and Arthur Azoulai)

  • Billion Oyster Pavilion by BanG studio (Babak Bryan AIA – principal; Henry Grosman – principal; Suzie Betts – with Sam Janis, Harbor School/Billion Oyster Project)

  • Tied Together by Hou de Sousa (Nancy Hou & Josh de Sousa)

  • Organic Growth by Izaskun Chinchilla Architects (Izaskun Chinchilla Moreno, Adriana Cabello Plasencia, Alejandro Espallargas Omedas and Alfonso Aracil Sánchez)

  • Galassia by Michele Zanella


This year’s finalists incorporate reclaimed and biodegradable materials, educate visitors about harbor restoration, and raise awareness about recycling regulations.

The Pulp Pavilion

by MegaZoo (Melody Rees and Arthur Azoulai)

Made from cast paper pulp, this pavilion is constructed out of recycled material and is biodegradable. The cradle to cradle design is comprised of many cone shaped modules that are tightly packed to form a domed archway. On the exterior, the design celebrates the inherent qualities of the fibrous material. On the interior, color is used to celebrate the modularity of the design and filter light to create dramatic and contrasting effect for individuals who reside within. Each cone is cast from a unique and fibrous mix consisting of recycled paper and grass seeds. Its impact is net zero and it actually contributes to the positive biomass of the earth upon demolition. This temporary structure is a showcase for the potentials of new biodegradable material technologies within the design and construction industry.


Billion Oyster Pavilion

by BanG studio (Babak Bryan AIA – principal; Henry Grosman – principal; Suzie Betts – with Sam Janis, Harbor School/Billion Oyster Project)

Our proposal for the Billion Oyster Pavilion joins two of Governors Island’s most exciting enterprises: Figment’s City of Dreams Pavilion and The New York Harbor School’s Billion Oyster Project. The materials that form the woven canopy (steel rebar, nylon rope, and hose clamps) are specifically used in their harbor restoration work. Additionally, the base of our Pavilion is made up of custom-cast “Reef Balls,” a restoration device that the school will also use as part of their habitat creation effort. By donating the entire pavilion to the Harbor School, its materials will be completely re-used on the island, eliminating the need to further transport.


Tied Together

by Hou de Sousa (Nancy Hou & Josh de Sousa)

Tied Together is a pavilion made out of aluminum pipes and strands of rope braided from 38,000 repurposed plastic bags (the amount NYC wastes every 90 seconds). The project provides a venue for events and performances, while serving as a great picnic area, and functioning as an iconic meeting point for visitors to Governors Island. From afar, Tied Together appears to be a solid sculptural object, but from up close, the overlapping composition of rope and linear gaps produces a moiré effect which visually shifts and alters the surrounding landscape as one moves between the pavilion’s spaces. Currently, less than 1% of New York City’s plastic bags are recycled, even though they account for 22% of all the plastics sent to landfills. The NY Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling Act was passed in 2009 and requires medium to large scale retailers to accept plastic bags for recycling. Tied Together aims to raise awareness for this law and thereby increase its impact.


Organic Growth

by Izaskun Chinchilla Architects (Izaskun Chinchilla Moreno, Adriana Cabello Plasencia, Alejandro Espallargas Omedas and Alfonso Aracil Sánchez)

The natural structures are adaptive and can grow up and down in response to context and time. The morphology of the hydrangea plan has been particularly useful. Mophead flowers are large dome-shaped flower heads. Through it’s growth, the plant maintains a good balance with the environment, shouldn’t the ‘city of dreams’ do the same? Architecture has to learn to adapt to changing social requirements and ecological dynamics. The philosophy of organic growth: maintaining a flexibility of ideas that is adaptive becomes crucial. This logic also generates a biophilic component, learning from nature helps to take care of human wellbeing naturally, beautifully and intuitively. 



by Michele Zanella

Galassia is a free standing, geometrically rigorous yet formally expressive, self-sustaining pavilion. The nature of its shape, deriving from the minimal surface generated between two circular loops, is contemporarily expression of maximum structural efficiency and of refined formal completeness. Paced by the array of a bamboo structure and of a densely spaced set of tensed ropes, the pavilion is simultaneously identifying its structural, formal and functional content. Galassia is the depiction of flawless dynamism and internal movements within the city of the future and is the materialization of the concepts of efficiency, sustainability and aesthetic qualities combined together. A pavilion as the architectural crystallization of a collective dream: the process of a sustainable urban metamorphosis.


About the Competition

The City of Dreams Pavilion will be a gathering place for people to meet, learn about the arts programs on the island, enjoy a performance or lecture, and experience the interaction of art and the historic context of Governors Island. Our theme for the pavilion, the City of Dreams, points toward the future. If we imagine a future New York City where anything is possible, what would it look like? In our wildest and most optimistic dreams, what is the future of the city? The goal is to create a pavilion that has a net zero impact and that serves as a prototype for a new, truly sustainable, way of thinking about design and construction.

The current state of the world is such that both economic and natural resources are extremely limited. A new way of thinking is necessary to solve the problems that the world faces. Inevitably, the result will be a change in the basic practices that have driven the world to its current state. One place to start to activate and energize these changes is within the architecture and design community, where the movement toward sustainable design has only scratched the surface of what is possible and necessary.

The winner will be selected by a jury of leading architects and other industry professionals in November 2014. The jury meets again later this month to review revised design proposals and a winning design will be announced in December. The pavilion will be installed on the island in June for the 2015 summer season, pending permit approvals.

All renderings (c) the artists

Call for Sculptures is Open

FIGMENT is now accepting proposals for the NYC 2015 Summer-Long Sculpture Program

FIGMENT is a free, annual celebration of participatory art and culture that began on Governors Island in 2007. It has since expanded to ten cites in three countries on two continents. In New York, in addition to the FIGMENT NYC Weekend EVENT, FIGMENT has hosted an Interactive Sculpture Program on Governors Island since 2008.


We invite you to submit a proposal for this year’s Sculpture Program. We intend to select 3-5 large-scale interactive sculptures that are daring, creative, and durable. The work must survive the elements for four months and withstand constant interactivity with the public. We intend to offer each chosen sculpture a budget of $3,000 - $5,000. However, if your vision exceeds this budget and you are driven to reach your goal, we can collaborate with you to help raise the additional funds.


January 15, 2015

Information Session

Thursday, November 20th at 7 PM

WeWork Lounge, 154 Grand Street, Soho

This optional session gives you the chance to meet the curators, ask questions, and learn more about past successful projects and common pitfalls. Please RSVP.

Proposal Packet

The proposal packet provides details on how to submit your proposal, all requirements, tips, and images of the location and past projects.

See more photos in our Flickr gallery



If you have any questions at all please address them to

We look forward to receiving your entry by 11:59pm ET on January 15, 2015, via email to (full instructions in the FIGMENT Summer-Long Sculpture 2015 Call for Proposals.pdf file).

Good luck!

Imagine a New York where anything is possible

AIANY and SEAoNY team up with FIGMENT to bring the City of Dreams Pavilion to Governors Island each summer

The Governors Cup construction. Image by Chu Yang.

There’s a stunning new architectural pavilion on Governors Island this summer, thanks to over 100 volunteers and 120 donors

The Governors Cup Pavilion hovers among a cluster of trees on the south end of the Parade Ground. CDR Studio designed and constructed the pavilion specifically for the 2014 FIGMENT program. Visitors are invited to go inside the structure made of 30,000 reclaimed plastic cups that otherwise would have been tossed in the trash. The Governors Cup is the winner of the 2014 City of Dreams Pavilion competition, part of FIGMENT NYC, an annual free participatory summer-long arts event that has returned to Governors Island for the 8th time.

FIGMENT NYC is now accepting entries for the 2015 City of Dreams Pavilion design competition

More photos of the Governors Cup are available at Inhabitat.

Each year, FIGMENT teams up with the Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects NY Chapter (AIANY) and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) to host a competition to design and construct an architectural pavilion on Governors Island, the City of Dreams Pavilion.

As part of this year's FIGMENT summer-long program, the Governors Cup stands along with four interactive sculptures, a treehouse, and a minigolf course. The FIGMENT NYC Summer-Long Program will be free and open to the public while the island is open through September 21st.

FIGMENT kicks off each summer-long program and unveils the current City of Dreams Pavilion during FIGMENT NYC Weekend -- two days of exploration, play, dance, paint, and inspiration. Artists fill Governors Island with art of every imaginable style and medium. FIGMENT’s collaborative projects explored historical, current, and environmental issues while showcasing New York City’s diverse community. Check out pictures from this past June in TimeOut and Gothamist. This year, nearly 30,000 people came out to the island for the event.

Each year's City of Dreams Pavilion is a gathering place for people to meet, learn about the arts programs on the island, enjoy a performance or lecture, and experience the interaction of art and the historic context of Governors Island. FIGMENT asks applicants to imagine a future New York City where anything is possible, creating a pavilion that has a net zero impact and that serves as a prototype for a new, truly sustainable, way of thinking about design and construction. The pavilion should employ recycled or recyclable materials, be constructed off site, and will be transported by water taxi to the island.

Entries are encouraged from individuals or teams of architects and non-architects of any age or experience level, provided they are prepared to design and construct the project. CDR Studio shared their process of planning, constructing, and assembling the Governors Cup on their Kickstarter page. They’re using this as an opportunity to educate visitors on how the 100 billion disposable cups Americans use each year could be reduced, reused, and recycled. Visit the HuffPost to learn what was involved in constructing the 2013 Head in the Clouds pavilion.

The deadline to register is August 20th, 2014 and all proposals must be submitted by September 30th. Finalists will be notified by October 15th. The winner will be selected by a jury of leading architects and other industry professionals in November 2014. Pending appropriate permit approvals, the pavilion will be installed in June 2015.

Head in the Clouds Pavilion by StudioKCA, image (c) 2013 by Tes Rivera

The 2015 pavilion will be our fifth City of Dreams Pavilion. In 2010 the Living Pavilion was designed by Ann Ha, Assoc. AIA, and Behrang Behin, Assoc. AIA; In 2011 Bittertang designed Burble Bup; In 2013 Head in the Clouds by StudioKCA won a Best of Year award from Interior Design Magazine in the installation category.

Living Pavilion by Ann Ha and Behrang Behin. Image (c) 2010 SpatialK

Since Governors Island first opened to the public in 2004, the attention and interest that this new public place has received has increased exponentially. In 2013, nearly 400,000 people visited the island through its summer season to engage in a variety of arts and cultural programs, as well as to enjoy summertime activities like picnicking and bike riding on the island.

Visitors to the island can bring their own bikes aboard on the ferry or rent bikes on the island. Food vendors will be there to serve FIGMENT visitors, but packing your own picnic basket is also encouraged. Visitors taking the 10 am and 11 am ferries from Manhattan and the 11 am and 11:30 am ferries from Brooklyn ride free. Adults can purchase $2 round-trip tickets online or at the dock for afternoon ferries. Children under 12 ride the ferry for free at all times. More information on getting to Governors Island is available on the Governors Island website.

Learn about the proposal criteria and to register for the City of Dreams competition

  • Registration deadline: September 20, 2014
  • Submissions due: September 30, 2014
  • Construction: Spring 2015