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Exploring Play

May 22, 2013 - January 11, 2014

What is play? How is the process of art similar to the process of play? These questions and more are addressed in this highly interactive exhibition. Especially appropriate for children, this show uses works from our permanent collection to explore different kinds of play and how artists are playful as they create.

In a child’s life, play is a natural and necessary action. Games, make-believe, and spontaneous activity are the pathway by which we discover and come to understand the world around us. Much like art, play stimulates curiosity and nurtures growth through the creative process.
Artists at Play
There are a lot of artists who prefer to create paintings and sculptures that are highly creative and fantastic. For artists, art is a fun way to play with medium, color, composition, subject matter, and ideas. You can practice playing “artist” at the easels or small tables in the gallery by creating an original work of your own.
Questions to consider:
Which pieces in the show do you think were the most fun for the artist to make?
What sort of fantasy or playful art would you like to make?
People at Play
Whether playing the violin, competing in a soccer match, or pretending to be a detective, people of all ages regularly engage in play. Through games, spontaneous activity, and make believe, we work through creative processes similar to that of an artist.
Questions to Consider:
How are different kinds of play similar to creating a work of art?
In what different ways do you “play?”

Want to get more involved?
There are a number of interactive experiences in the exhibition designed to enhance your museum visit. Please be sure that after each visit you leave the gallery as tidy as you found it.

Puzzle Table
Take a seat and reassemble one of the paintings in the exhibition. There are easy, medium, and hard puzzles for different age levels!

Drawing Station and Visitor Gallery
Use the paper and pencils provided at one of the easels or tables to create an original piece of art. When you are finished, hang your masterpiece on the wall for all to see!

Test Your Memory
This matching game features paintings from the exhibition. See how fast you can match the cards, then find the art in the gallery!


Create a sentence, poem, or a whole story as you play with words on this magnet wall!


Box Imagination Station
What is a box when it isn’t a box? Use the boxes provided to create playful structures – your imagination is the limit!


Share Your Thoughts
We want to hear what you have to say! Finds areas with paper slips and pencils, then respond to the questions about the art on display. Leave your answer for everyone to see!


Living Portraits
Are you inspired by the portraits hanging on the wall? Take on a new persona as you explore the different costumes and props in the dress up bin. Try out different poses in the mirror to see how your clothing and pose affect your entire character!


Theater Backdrop
Stage a play or take a memorable photo in front of this life-sized backdrop taken from a painting in our collection.


Reading Corner
Need a break? Take a seat and enjoy one of the children’s books about art or museums.

February 25, 2017
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