FIGMENT Project joins Phoenix’s art community for first time

A glass blower works outside ThirdSpace bar.(John Spevacek/DD)

The Unexpected Art Gallery at Grand Avenue and Polk Street was filled with music, color and creativity on Saturday for the FIGMENT Phoenix event.

“FIGMENT is a nonprofit organization,” artist and coordinator Erin Magorian said. “There’s no advertising and no corporate sponsorship so it’s more about community than commodity.”

FIGMENT Project was started in 2007 in New York as a one-day participatory event and was held in Phoenix for the first time over the weekend. The artists and hosts are all volunteers with a desire to share their art with the community. It was created as a way to bring together the community as well as change the way people go to art museums and galleries.

“I love this event because it breaks the barriers of the normal white-walled galleries and busts out into the public so people can see something unexpected,” Magorian said. “We have amazing artists here and a very active community that’s hungry for this participatory art. I want to create the space to be able to see what we can do as a collaborative community.”

The event was decorated with the personality of Phoenix — the walls of Unexpected were covered with eye-popping hues and sculptures constructed from different fabrics and mediums with shops and vendors selling their homemade work.

Sandra McClain and her business partner brought their handmade jewelry to FIGMENT after selling at a similar event the previous year.

Love Cycles had customers flowing in and out all day Saturday. (John Spevacek/DD)

“We heard it was fun and family-friendly so we just wanted to check it out and see what we could do,” McClain said.

Other activities included crafts for kids and adults to make jellyfish and hats out of recycled material to hang up around the gallery or little quote bubbles they could decorate with markers and crayons. While FIGMENT aims to open the community to the participatory side of art, it also reminded residents like Alexa Bloom of the past.

“It really reminds me of what I remember Phoenix being growing up,” Bloom said. “I love community and just all kinds of people and things to look at and things to do.”

FIGMENT is a global event and open to any artist looking to share their ideas with their community. For more information about how to get involved with FIGMENT or to host an event, go to www.figmentproject.org.

Contact the reporter at smedwar7@asu.edu.