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Windsor Lake Recreation Commission members pass around a disc golf 'putter.' Erik Carlson, left, wants to install a course for the sport at the lake.

Community Arts Festival Planned for Windsor Lake

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Krystal Henriquez, an MCLA arts management student, is planning a community arts festival at Windsor Lake this coming spring.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Windsor Lake will host a collaboration of community and art this coming spring with the city's first-ever Figment Project event.

The Windsor Lake Recreation Commission endorsed the project last week, with preliminary permission from the city, and an anticipated date of April 19.

Launched in 2007 with a one-day immersive event on New York's Governors Island, the platform for participatory art has grown to involve hundreds of communities across the country with events ranging from one to several days.

Figment Boston, for example, was held on the Rose Kennedy Greenway on a July weekend and offered music, dance (such as a colorful bubble-wrap dance floor), printmaking, interactive art installations and more.

Krystal Henriquez, a student at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, volunteered as an associate producer for the Boston event and hopes to produce a Figment fest here.

"What I have really come to love about Figment are their core values," said Henriquez, who approached the Windsor Lake Recreation Commission last week for permission to move forward.

"The installations are interactive, free, collaborative, and have to have no impact on the environment ...  It's about inclusion and self-expression."

She said the event would rely on a grant from Figment and other fundraising, saying the cost to put an event on can range from a $1,000 for small communities to up to $30,000 for large ones. A volunteer team has also come together to develop the event.

"It's completely volunteer and community run," she said, hoping for an attendance of about 1,000.

Henriquez is in the college's arts management program, in which students are asked to select "real world projects" that they can make happen, said her instructor Lisa Donovan, associate professor in the Fine and Performing Arts Department. "Not only did she do a beautiful grant, but the research she did led her to do an internship with the Figment organization and she came back with the knowledge to actually put a program together."

Henriquez required permission from the city to complete the grant application process with the nonprofit organization and develop fundraising; a solicitation to local artists and the community would begin late this year. She assured the commission that submitted projects would be "steered" to align with Figment's mission of being family friendly, participatory, accessible and free.

Figment's "goal is to advance social and personal transformation through creativity, in the form of free participatory arts events and exhibitions," according to its website.

"It's clear that Figment has the power to transform a space and that's what I'm hoping to do at Windsor Lake," she said.

"It's great to have young people up there," said Chairman George Forgea, who added that often students at the college weren't aware the lake existed. "I'd certainly like to see something like this."

The commission also gave approval for a nine-hole disc golf course that will begin near the entrance to the lake and cross over toward to the former ski tow.

Erik Carlson, a disc golf enthusiast who recently moved to Dalton, said he was surprised to find only one course in the area. After visiting Windsor Lake with a friend, he walked the area and thought it would be perfect for a course.

"Other places have a lot of courses," he said. "But here the only one is in Pittsfield, which is a very challenging course."

Disc golf is played by using discs of various sizes and weights — putters, drivers, etc. — with the goal to get them into the "hole," which is a standup basket.

"It's endlessly creative," he said. "You can have any kind of throw or grip ... every player has his own style ... the courses are located anywhere you can fit."

Carlson said there are more than 2,000 courses in the United States and that the sport is played by all ages. He said such courses can be community builders and offer a new hobby.

"Where there is a disc course, there's less vandalism and they're environmentally friendly — all we do is put a basket in the ground," he said.

He thought sponsors could help in purchasing the baskets, which run around $300, but Commissioner William St. Pierre, also a disc golfer, suggested McCann Technical School could build them to cut down on costs.

Forgea was concerned about the maintenance, since it's a mostly wooded area not really kept up. Carlson said there were a few saplings that might have to be removed but little else would be changed.

"I think it's exciting and I think the footprint is separate enough that it's not going to impact [the lake's] use," said Commissioner Nancy Bullett.

Forgea asked that both projects be brought to the City Council for informational purposes.  

"It's nice to see some positive things moving forward," he said.

Tags: arts festival,   community event,   disc golf,   Windsor Lake,   

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