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Above, a glow-in-the-dark dance floor made of bubble wrap that Krystal Henriquez ’16 help to create last summer for a FIGMENT arts event held in Boston.

Senior Plans Local FIGMENT Arts Festival

01/20/16

Last spring, Krystal Henriquez ’16 of Springfield, Mass., was asked by Dr. Lisa Donovan in her “Grants and Fundraising” class to select a project she was passionate about, so she could submit a grant to bring that project to life. Henriquez immediately knew what she wanted to focus on.

Familiar with FIGMENT, a free, inclusive, participatory arts festival held in cities around the world that draws tens of thousands of participants each year to take part in family friendly art, Henriquez envisioned such an event for North Adams.

As a result of her efforts, FIGMENT will take place at Windsor Lake on April 30, with a rain date of May 1.

“I found it really interesting that you could just take on FIGMENT in your own city, and make it your own. And, I really appreciated its values, so I got in contact with its executive producer,” said Henriquez (right). “FIGMENT is a super welcoming community, and they’re really excited about having a FIGMENT in North Adams.”

In preparation, Henriquez served an internship last summer with FIGMENT Boston, shadowing the producer of that event, working as the production assistant. She also traveled to New York City to experience the event in that city.

“It was such a great experience. I learned the structure of FIGMENT and what the whole vibe of the event was,” Henriquez said.

Upon her return to MCLA last fall, she gathered a team together.

“Now, we’re making it happen,” Henriquez said. “You can expect to encounter sculptures and live art – really art of all forms – that’s meant to engage the participant, instead of just being viewed. FIGMENT really lets the walls come down so the participant becomes part of the art. People can socialize in an artistic way.”

A call for art – to remain open through March 6 – went out last week.

“Anyone at all – no matter what your experience or what your art form is – can submit a project, as long as it prompts people to interact and engage with it,” Henriquez explained. “We don’t know if we’ll see a ton of sculptures, or a lot of music. It’s really up to what the community puts together.”

Nothing will be sold at the event.

“We don’t want people to not come because they feel they can’t afford it,” Henriquez said. “Art should be something that everyone can experience. There will be potlucks, and we can direct people downtown if they want to grab some food. We plan to have shuttles in place to help everyone get to the event that day.”

While planning such an event is quite time consuming, especially since Henriquez is winding up her final semester at MCLA, she said it’s worth the effort. “This is work that I really love to do, and I don’t necessarily feel that it’s work.”

After her graduation this May with a Bachelor of Arts degree in arts management, Henriquez plans to attend the Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP) at MCLA. Next, she’d like to serve an internship with well-known event designer David Stark in New York City.

“With my degree, I want to continue to put events together. I like bringing art to people,” Henriquez said. “Arts management students are really tackling the arts world. Here at MCLA, it’s a beautiful program. I’m so happy I found it when I did.”

For more information, go to http://NorthAdams.figmentproject.org, or look for “FIGMENT North Adams” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Contact Henriquz at KrystalHenriquez@figmentproject.org or northadams@figmentproject.org.