I moved through the grounds And so, I did. thought:"I could do this.”On that day, projects ranged from simple to intricate installations with high-brow themes, like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, to projects that encouraged participants to grow "hope gardens" made to resemble trees. Branches were made of P.V.C. piping and leaves, of vibrant strips of plastic. One family dressed in webbed, lizard-like cat-suits to act out their notion of how the evolution from the age of dinosaurs into the age of mammals and the emergence of mankind, may have played out.
I moved through the grounds at the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway which were filled with dozens of art installations, crafts projects, dance and music performances, and thought: "I could do this."
And so, I did.
This year, Valerie's Vignettes and Valorena Online, L.L.C. looks to debut the latest iteration of "Valory the Koi of Courage" which has been affectionately dubbed "Valory 5.0." The result of collaboration with Texas-based sculptor Michael Washer, the newly designed fish body represents a refined notion of my heartfelt effort to bring to create a fun experience that unites people, and brings families together through communication, artistic expression, words and art.
"Valory, the Koi of Courage" will have been part of three Figment celebrations: Philadelphia 2013, New York 2014 and looks to continue its journey at the upcoming July 26-27, Figment Boston 2014.
My participation in Figment Festivals continues to be a journey of imagination, an ongoing labor of love, through which I have grown tremendously, and completed my own challenges from each of the category of scales. I have met and persevered through relationship challenges with loved ones and new people I have met through my participation in the event; education and knowledge challenges which have tested my ability to write and develop the project and proposal to step out into a completely new arena — participatory art; financial challenges which have pushed me to invest in myself and my resourcefulness to bring this vision of mine into being at a level of which I can be proud; and health challenges (the challenge that started it all) that have taken me through the process of being cut, poisoned and burned, through surgeries, chemo and radiation, the current gold standard treatment protocol for stage II breast cancer.
Now on the verge of completion of the "Valory the Koi of Courage, 5.0" journey, I look to not only manifest and feature the new creation, but also to continue and complete this project which has truly transformed me. The experience has affirmed in me, my spirit of creativity, imagination, and my sense of "can do possibilities." More, my experience has shown me the willingness of others to share stories, strength and power as illustrated in the amazing stories articulated and noted in the dozens of scales that have been created, many of which have been featured in the recap video on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6tQRJEkOm8), and in Twitter messages from ValorenaOnline.
I thank the Figment organization for making room for me in their creative spaces. I am and have enjoyed every moment of each experience. I also thank those who have participated in Valory's journey. I have been truly moved and inspired by the bits of yourselves, stories of courage, and sheer joy you continue to share.