Sunday, July 20, 2014

"Valory 5.0" Heads Upstream to FIGMENT, Boston

Last year, the Boston-based show was Valerie's Vignettes' first experience with Figment Arts Festival, the free, metropolitan celebration of participatory art and culture, "where everything is possible." Through sheer serendipity, a weekend day trip to Bean-town intersected with the day of fun, creativity and participatory art. It was a revelation. The event impressed me.

On that day, projects ranged from simple to complex, some with high-brow themes, like one of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Another project encouraged participants to grow "hope gardens" by constructing trees with trunks and branches made from P.V.C. piping and leaves made from plastic installation strips. A New York family, all of whom were dressed in webbed, lizard-like catsuits, performed together, acting out an evolution narrative that began with the age of dinosaurs and moved through time to the emergence of mankindMost all of the varied styles of work engaged and delighted.

I moved through the grounds at the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway which were filled with dozens of exhibits, crafts projects, dance and music performances. I thought: "I could do this." And so, I did.

This year, Valerie's Vignettes and Valorena Online, L.L.C. debuted the latest iteration of "Valory the Koi of Courage," which was affectionately dubbed "Valory 5.0." The result of a collaboration with Texas-based sculptor Michael Washer, the new fish design represents a refined notion and effort to create a fun experience that aspires to unite people and bring families together through story, art and words.

"Valory, the Koi of Courage" participated in three Figment Festivals: 
Philadelphia 2013, New York 2014, and Boston 2014. 

The lay of the land at Figment Boston. 
Interactive Art: "Valory the Koi of
 Courage" at Parcel #19
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) which tested my mettle through the processes of being cut, poisoned and burned through surgeries, chemo and radiation, the treatments for breast cancer.

On the verge of completing my "Valory the Koi of Courage, 5.0" journey, I looked 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 video on YouTube (, and in Twitter notes from ValorenaOnline.

I thank the Figment organization for making room for me in their creative spaces. I have enjoyed every moment of each experience. I also thank those who 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. 

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