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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


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.

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.

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.


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


8:30am to 8:00pm

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

8:30am to 5:00pm


8:30am to Noon





ROUND: Cambridge
A city-wide sound art installation
by Halsey Burgund

Now through 2014 throughout the City of Cambridge
with a related exhibition at the
CAC Gallery at the Cambridge Arts Council
344 Broadway, 2nd Floor, Cambridge, MA

Gallery exhibition: October 1 through November 23, 2012
Artist Reception: Thursday, October 4, 6:00-8:00pm  

Round: Cambridge by Halsey Burgund

Participate in a Public Sound Art Installation in Cambridge.

ROUND: Cambridge, created by artist Halsey Burgund, is a new city-wide, site-specific sound art installation. The project engages the general public through music and participant commentary via smartphone technology. Using Cambridge's impressive Public Art Collection and public spaces as a touch-point, citizens and visitors are able to participate by adding their thoughts, questions, and reflections to an ever-evolving composition encompassing the city. As a participant moves throughout the city, the person can record comments or listen to those left by others about a specific artwork or location. Users' comments immediately upload to the composition, adding a new auditory layer to the landscape.

The CAC Gallery is the launching site for ROUND: Cambridge. Gallery viewers, and those without a smartphone, can experience the project and contribute to the composition in the recording booth at the CAC Gallery, located in the City Hall Annex at 344 Broadway, 2nd Floor, Cambridge.

Download the free ROUND: Cambridge app at iTunes and Google Play.

This new public art project, commissioned by the Cambridge Arts Council, will be live through 2014. As a public artwork, ROUND: Cambridge exists in the public domain, like the sculptures, murals and other public art around Cambridge. By allowing people to leave their mark on the landscape, Cambridge is transformed into a collective audio work.

Learn more by visiting the CAC Gallery or download the ROUND: Cambridge App at or   

About the Artist
Halsey Burgund is a musician and sound artist living in Greater Boston. Both his installations and musical performances make extensive use of spoken human voice recordings as musical elements, alongside traditional and electronic instruments. Halsey has exhibited and performed in museums and galleries throughout the country, including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, the Museum of Science, Boston and the California Academy of Sciences.  He was awarded a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship in 2011 to explore their audio archives for future work.

ROUND: Cambridge Partners & Support
Cambridge Arts Council acknowledges the support and partnership of the City of Cambridge Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program, in addition to funding through the National Endowment of the Arts and Massachusetts Cultural Council.

:: New app allows "audio graffiti" in Cambridge, Cambridge Chronicle, Sept. 14, 2012
:: Public art and the 'raw material of thoughts' inspires musical soundscape, Wired.Co.UK, Sept. 29, 2012
:: Why The Roundware Open-Source Audio Location Platform Rules,, 10/17/12
:: Fuse Review - ROUND: Cambridge Sounds the Depths of the City's Public Art, The Arts Fuse, 10/21/12

Cambridge Arts Council Public Art Program
In accordance with Cambridge's Public Art Program, one percent of construction costs for capital improvements is designated to support the inclusion of integrated, site-responsive public art. Since 1979, over 200 artworks have been commissioned into the Cambridge Public Art Collection for the enjoyment of all who live, work and visit the city.