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 Let the Public Play
CAC Gallery at the Cambridge Arts Council
City Hall Annex, 344 Broadway, 2nd Floor, Cambridge, MA

January 20 – June 20, 2014

gallery

Play is fundamental to human development.  Difficult to define but universally experienced, free play appears to have no function and yet has persisted throughout evolution.  It can be observed in an infinite variety of forms, sometimes with intricate rules, sometimes with no rules at all – a “behavioral kaleidoscope”.  It can be solitary or social.  At its best, it is imaginative, generated from the “player”, improvisational, challenging, open-ended, and multi-sensory.  Play is an activity where we learn and think with our bodies as well as our brains.


opening
Above: Opening Reception

While the desire to engage in playful activity persists throughout life, we tend to think it should be abandoned upon exiting childhood.  Our built environment reflects this view, evidenced by “playgrounds” confined to fenced-in areas in parks – where play is supposed to take place.  If play nurtures cognitive, sensory, and social development and contributes to our well-being, then creating more playful public spaces also nurtures stronger communities, and our cities should physically and visibly reflect these facts.

Let the Public Play, presented by the Cambridge Arts Council, is a three-part project offering experiences of playfulness in daily life: 1) an interactive exhibition in the CAC Gallery;


Water Brushing (below)
water brushing

2) playful sculptures by Adam Simha and Skylar Tibbits (pictured) for outdoor installation:

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3) an interactive deck of cards designed by Rick Rawlins. All together, these three components present activities indoors and outdoors as well as in a range of scale from small to large. Let the Public Play is an invitation to take play seriously, to be inspired, to remember the critical value of play throughout our lives, and to envision along with us a more playful city.
cards

In 2007, the City of Cambridge formed the Healthy Parks and Playgrounds Task Force to determine goals and write recommendations for designing and building public spaces that incorporate, to a greater degree, the principles of healthy play for all ages and abilities. The resulting report in 2009 was followed by a citizen advisory committee that met to discuss ways to bring the mission of the Task Force to the wider public. The work of the Task Force is meant to be continued by all who design, construct, manage, maintain, and use our City.

Resources

Cover of Healthy Parks and Playgrounds Report

A report describing the City's vision to provide fulfilling play opportunities for people of all ages, including play that is creative, imaginative, physical, challenging and social.

Cover of Play in the Public Realm Guidebook

A guidebook suggesting ways that designers of streets, walkways, plazas and other public spaces can make them more playful, engaging and welcoming to people of all ages.

 

 

 

 

 

CAC Gallery Hours

Monday 

8:30am to 8:00pm

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

8:30am to 5:00pm

Friday

8:30am to Noon