Artists At Work AND Play

The word “play” by itself is a verb full of action that just makes me think of children. Now let’s combine the word with childhood activities—the verb can become a noun in ”playground time” or stay a verb in “imaginary playacting”, but the importance of play is never diminished. Jean Piaget, a clinical psychologist known for his pioneering work in child development was quoted as saying :

“Play is the work of childhood.” If one takes the time to watch children at the park playing:--they might be running, skipping, jumping, sliding and just taking in the joy of getting outside for some fresh air –you can see that play is very enjoyable work.



caution play

Artists at play?

Two years in its planning and development, multiple artists created an outdoor playground for kids of any age in Seattle. The Artists at Play playground –with the looming Space Needle spotted overhead–changes the noun of playtime to adventure time!

The playground is more than just a place for climbing and rope swings, it is a collaboration of artists Trimpin and Judith Caldwell and Site Workshop and Highwire to design the Artists at Play venue which combines art, music, and movement to make a playground for the senses. The playful, interactive sculptures designed by Trimpin, a German-born composer and sound artist who has lived and worked in Seattle since 1979, bring a kinetic and musical presence to the playground. There are numerous bronze inlays created by Caldwell, a Pacific Northwest artist and Seattle native, interact with the sculptures, adding whimsical and functional elements to the pieces.

seattle music park

Art Elements
At the Letter Tree, seven letters correspond to seven musical notes. Music lovers of all ages can crank a wheel and hear the note. Photo credit: Natalia Dotto,

 Artists at Play is a great title for this playground, but I was introduced to a relatively new concept of artists at play for a contest. Artist Sally Dailey entered an art competition through, Pottery Barn & PB Teen, the design marketplace that connects consumers with the world’s best artists,

“I created these pieces so a child has a pretty art illustration to enjoy as a baby and to enjoy the message as they age.  These pieces are for any age person!  Children's art should be sophisticated yet fun.  It should stand the test of time.” 

playonwords art

Minted is a design marketplace that sources creative content from a global community of independent artists, then sells product in the form of art, home décor, and stationery, directly to consumers. An early pioneer of crowdsourcing, Minted has held art and design challenges monthly since April 2008. Challenges are open for both submission and voting, the 'crowd' curates Minted's product selection by rating products, and Minted utilizes analytics to evaluate votes.

Minted partnered with Pottery Barn Kids and PB teen to look for a variety of modern art prints to span a wide range covering babies, kids, and teens - everything from art for a beautiful nursery to art for a chic college dorm room.

The current Minted/Pottery Barn Challenge can be voted on until February 29th. . Minted provides a community of independent artists to submit their designs then the public can cast votes on the designs.

At current count there are more than 7,500 designs in this one challenge! Sally Dailey's designs are meant to create a wall scape or be used individually. “Art is one of the most important elements in a child's room, “says Dailey. Her “Play on Words” designs make a perfect ending to the word of the week, PLAY!


A page from the book, DICK AND JANE. THE NEW WE WORK AND PLAY by William S. Gray et al. Chic: Scott Foresman 1956. 8vo, Dick and Jane, Sally and Spot, illustrated in color by Eleanor Campbell.


Let the children play, it’s good for them!


By: Ann K. Nicknish

The Blogging Word Girl, BWG



  • One can never have enough play dates !

  • I love the way your words remind us play without feeling guilty! Thanks Ann!


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