Call for Participation: FIGMENT First Night 2015

Call for Participation: FIGMENT First Night 2015

Deadline: 11:59 pm EST Wednesday November 12, 2014

Submit your proposal:

Proposal Notifications: By Tuesday November 18, 2014

Who Can Submit? Entries are encouraged from individuals or teams of any age or experience level, provided they are prepared to carry out the project. We encourage new and emerging artists to submit!

Please email any questions to:

Please read through all of the information below before beginning the submission process!

We are soliciting the following types of projects:

Unfunded projects of any type will gladly be considered, as we do for our summer event.  For unfunded projects, our criteria are more relaxed but we are asking you to follow the same protocol as funded projects for consistency.  Unfunded projects may submit relatively short proposals, as long as they provide clear, easy to understand info about the projects and meet FIGMENT’s principles. You may request electricity and a 10x10 tent.  Our goal is to place as many unfunded projects as space allows.

Minor Projects should have a budget of $250-$1000.  You may submit projects of any nature, provided they follow our guidelines. Minor projects are not required to have a significant visual impact.  The bulk of the awards will be made in this category.

Major Projects should have a budget of $1000-$2500.  These pieces should be visually stunning, wildly creative, be professional in their appearance, and have a major interactive element.  These will be the signature projects of FIGMENT First Night.  Projects may include audio elements.  This is an excellent opportunity to re-use existing large interactive projects in a new venue, or to create major new work.  A limited number of major projects will be selected.

We are soliciting Special Projects in the following categories:

  • Tree Lighting.  Creative tree lighting projects will be considered for some of the larger trees on the site.  The tree lighting projects, in keeping with FIGMENT’s leave no trace principle, will be non-destructive and non-marking.  Pending approval by Boston Parks Department staff, they may include hanging very lightweight decorations from the trees.  They may also include ambient audio elements.  The goal of the tree lighting projects is to create unique spaces for public interaction.  As the simple act of walking into a creatively lit space can in itself be participatory, the tree lighting projects will not require further interactive elements, but preference will be given to projects that somehow engage participants.  Please participate in one of our artists’ walkthroughs to see the trees that are available for lighting.  The maximum budget for tree lighting projects is $500.

  • Art Cars.  Art cars will be stationary at the event and will serve as sculptural pieces.  Cars that are in some manner interactive when parked will be given preference.  This could include cars that will allow members of the public to sit in them or activate elements of the art while the car is stationary.  Art cars will be granted a stipend of $250 per car.  These cars may participate in the First Night parade prior to the event if they wish to do so.  Should the parade include a corporate sponsor, their appearance in the parade will not be linked to FIGMENT.   

FIGMENT First Night will not be accepting submissions for propane art or fire performance this year. 

Permitting Considerations:

Be aware that projects may be subject to a variety of regulations from Boston Inspectional Services Department and Boston Fire Department. Projects that include domes, mazes, enclosures, hanging fabric, etc., may pose permitting challenges.

Email if you have questions about any regulations or permits.

Proposal Criteria

All projects must adhere to FIGMENT’s 11 principles, which are described in detail at this link.  Briefly, projects must be free, unsponsored, participatory, appropriate for all audiences, and be designed to leave no trace (LNT).  Prior to being ranked on the criteria below, projects must pass through a set of filters that includes suitability for all audiences, safety, and LNT plan.  Projects that do not pass through these initial filters will be rejected prior to scoring.

Proposals can include installations, art cars, performances, 2-D and 3-D works, activities, or other participatory and interactive projects. Projects will be selected based on:

  • Theme: The theme of First Night 2014 is Inspiration, Innovation, Celebration. How well does your project fit with this theme?

  • Participation/Interactivity:  How well does this project encourage interaction or participation?

  • Creativity:  We seek projects that are wildly imaginative. Projects should surprise and delight our participants.

  • Visual Impact: Proposals that request more than $1000 will be expected to have a significant visual component. Will your project serve as a beacon to draw crowds from across the Common? Once there, will participants feel it was worth the trip?

  • Feasibility: Can this project be built as described? Will it require hours of cleanup?  Can it be set up on time?  Does it require complicated, expensive infrastructure to complete?

  • Appropriateness for the Event: Is it durable enough to survive the First Night environment of large crowds, potentially inebriated patrons, poorly supervised children, and the potential for rain, snow, sleet, ice, and high winds?  Is it suitable for a wide range of audience sensitivities, ages, and backgrounds?

 Please make sure your proposal follows the guidelines described below:

Go to: and fill out the submissions form.

In addition to the submission form, we ask that you upload a document/documents with the following information.  Do not include your name or identifying information anywhere in the name or the content of the document.  Place your project name, and only your project name, on top of all pages of the PDF.

Please copy and paste the following information into your proposal and provide info/answers in-line below each section:

Description of the proposed project (up to 2 pages)

  • This is your chance to explain the project to us in plain English.  Please keep the description as clear and easy to understand as possible.  If we cannot parse what you are proposing, you are unlikely to receive funding.

  • The description should explain how the proposal meets each of the following criteria: participation/interactivity, creativity, visual impact (for major projects), feasibility, and appropriateness for the event.  

 Brief construction/installation plan (up to 2 pages)

  • If you have a specific location in mind for your piece, please include a map or photograph of the spot you wish to use.  

  • What resources do you need to build and install the piece?

  • Are there any safety concerns, and if so how have you addressed them?  

  • Do you need vehicle access?  If so, how large is the vehicle?

  • How long will it take to break down your project?

  • What is your leave no trace plan?

Project Images/Renderings (up to 2 pages)

For physical projects (sculptures, installations, art cars, etc.) include graphics of your project.

For existing projects, photographs or links to videos are required. Please make sure the links do not include identifying info.

For new projects, feel free to use any graphic style that is comfortable for you: hand-drawn, 3D, Illustrator, Sketch-up, or CAD are all perfectly acceptable. Images may be initially hand drawn or computer created, but must be clear and concise and converted to digital format for inclusion in the final PDF.

For performances, it will be helpful if you can link to short videos or MP3s of similar pieces so that we can understand the nature of the performance. Please make sure these links to do not include identifying info.

The most important thing is clarity.

Budget (1 page or attach a separate MS Excel file)

In your budget, please include the level of funding you are requesting. If you are requesting funding, include a budget for the project.  You may elect to include a stipend for yourself. Your budget should include transportation for your project to and from the site, if applicable.  If your budget exceeds the amount requested, include a fundraising plan to make up any shortfalls.  Art cars will be granted a stipend of $250 and may omit the budget. You do not need to include the cost of tents, generators,

Please email any questions, to

Projects that do not fulfill the above requirements will not be reviewed.

Proposal Review Process

Proposals will be reviewed by a 5-member jury made up of 3 members of the FIGMENT Boston Core Team and 2 representatives from the City of Boston’s Office of Arts, Tourism, and Special Events. The jury members will score each proposal based on the criteria listed above.

Prior to review, the projects will be “blinded,” e.g. all names will be removed from the projects to make the judging process as impartial as possible. If an artist submits more than one project, the blinding official will note which projects have come from the same artist. Only one project per artist will be selected.

Infrastructure Support

All projects may request electricity (standard 110v/100 amps) and a tent, as well as a folding 6’ or 8’ banquet table and 2 folding chairs.. Tent sizes will be 10’x10’ or 10’x20’. If you would like a tent, please specify the size and tell us how you will make use of the tent. Tents will be placed on the lawn with one side opening onto the cement walkways. These types of infrastructure do not need to be included in your budget.

We may place multiple small projects in one larger tent. We will also have a 20x20 headquarters tent which you may use if you need to change clothes for a performance, come out of the weather for a few minutes, etc.

 If your project is funded, we will send you a contract to ensure that you are willing to commit to using the funds as proposed and that you agree to follow through on your project. If you fail to send in the contract by the contract deadline, funds will be distributed to the next grant in the waiting list. 


  • October 27,2014: Registration and submissions open

  • Thursday November 6, 2014 (6:00 PM ET): Optional artists’ walkthrough

  • November 12, 2014 (11:59 PM ET): Deadline for project submission

  • November 18 2014: Notification of selected projects

  • Early-Mid December, 2014: Up to 50% of funds available to artists.

  • December 31, 2014 (10:00 AM ET): Installation begins.  All vehicles (except art cars) must be off the site no later than 1PM

  • December 31, 2014 (7:30 PM ET): Installation complete, event opens

  • January 1, 2015 (12:01 AM – 1:30 AM ET): Event closes, breakdown.

  • First week of January, 2015: remaining funds paid to artists

We look forward to seeing your proposals!