Once upon a time, there was a world with no technology brought to life through children’s play.
Utah artists painted and a few sculpted childhood memories of their own, their children, or other children for the Sears Art Museum Gallery’s “Go Out & Play” exhibit. Like a child’s messy playroom, board games, antique toys, hopscotch and treasure chests were scattered amongst pieces of art.
Kathy Cieslewicz, Dixie State University art curator and director for the Sears Art Museum, said the gallery is a place for students, faculty, staff and the community to enjoy, to be inspired, to take a break from their studies and their problems, to start a conversation, or to even take a date.
“I hope [students] will come often and want to see more art,” Cieslewicz said.
Cieslewicz said the inspiration for the “Go Out & Play” exhibit came from her time as a Montessori teacher, a teaching style that emphasizes hands on, autonomous play and learning.
Kids don’t know how to play anymore, and play is an important part of their development, Cieslewicz said.
“We should never get over how to play,” Cieslewicz said. “And if [children] don’t learn it in the first place, how can they enjoy that part of being a human being?”
Tori Woodman, a junior nursing major from Castle Rock, Colorado, said playing allows you to learn skills like how to make friends, problem-solve and experience your creativity in different ways.
“The only job a kid has is to play,” Woodman said.
McGarren Flack, an adjunct art instructor, said he doesn’t have the best memory, so he decided to paint a memory through his daughter and her friend’s eyes.
In the painting, the sun had nearly set, highlighting peaks of red rock that Flack’s daughter and her friend crawled upon.
Flack said he wants the exhibit to enlighten students that they don’t always have to be entertained by a screen.
It is inevitable that college students will have a lot of screen time as they pursue their education, but there is a lot more to college than that, Flack said.
“Yes, [students are] here to get an education, but [they] can also go cliff-jumping at Sand Hollow, bouldering in Snow Canyon, or go out to a concert and have fun,” Flack said.
Play isn’t only important to your physical health but also your mental, Cieslewicz said.
“Instead of calling it exercise, why not call it playing and make it fun?” Cieslewicz said. “And how will [people] ever be able to create a new invention if [people] don’t know how to use their imagination?”
Chloe Lichtenberg, a junior Spanish major from Hailey, Idaho, said art allows for individual interpretation and is a unique way of experiencing different perspectives.
“Art is a mood booster, and college students can use that since we are all a little stressed,” Lichtenberg said.
There will be six art exhibits held in the Sears Art Museum Gallery this year; the “Go Out & Play” exhibit will be on display until Nov. 11. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is always free.