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Volunteers Help Build 'Burble Bup' on Governors Island

By Julie Shapiro on May 4, 2011 5:33pm 

By Julie Shapiro

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

GOVERNORS ISLAND — The FIGMENT arts festival is enlisting dozens of volunteers starting this week to install "Burble Bup," a whimsical, eco-friendly pavilion, on Governors Island.

The volunteers will get an early peek at the playful structure as they help build its base of fabric tubes filled with woodchips and its roof of bright balloons.

Michael Loverich, one of Burble Bup's designers, said it would be impossible to finish the pavilion on his own before Governors Island opens for the season on May 27.

"It's also more fun when there are more people out there," said Loverich, who is part of the sustainable design firm Bittertang.

Jobs include stuffing sacks with sand and woodchips, building columns and painting the inflatable roof. People can volunteer as often as they like, for either half a day or a full day, but they have to sign up online at least 72 hours in advance.

When the pavilion is done, Loverich said he hopes its fanciful quirkiness will encourage visitors to let down their guard and interact with strangers.

Burble Bup won FIGMENT's City of Dreams Pavilion competition, which challenged designers to create a zero-impact, green structure.

FIGMENT has always relied on volunteers to mount its avant-garde arts festivals and programs, partly out of necessity and partly because executive producer David Koren likes getting the community involved.

"You really become invested in something when you get your hands in it and help to make it happen," Koren said this week. "It's a project that's about all of us. There's no replacement for that."

FIGMENT is also seeking volunteers to help build its annual sculpture garden and artist-designed miniature-golf course on Governors Island.

For more information on volunteering, visit FIGMENT's website.

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