Chandler exhibits celebrate play, playgrounds - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler exhibits celebrate play, playgrounds

March 25th, 2021 SanTan Sun News
Chandler exhibits celebrate play, playgrounds


Two Chandler arts and culture spaces will feature exhibits in April and May that honor childhood artifacts and play.

A traveling exhibition titled “Once Upon a Playground” will be on display at Chandler Museum April 6- May 25, “celebrating the heritage of the classic metal and wood structures that populated playgrounds for most of the 20th century, the city said in a release.

The exhibit focuses on the metal slides, jungle gyms, merry-go-rounds, seesaws and similar artifacts that many Americans over 30 likely remember.

“The exhibit examines the cultural and industrial design heritage by combining recent photographs of classic equipment and vintage images of playground scenes from the Library of Congress,” the city said.

Another exhibit titled “Play Hard” at  Vision Gallery April 3-May 8 features the work of artists Melissa Sclafani and Ellie Richards with both examining the idea of play through different lenses.

“Sclafani’s political sculptures use the aesthetics of the playground to examine systemic racial and economic inequalities in communal outdoor areas, while Richards’ artistic readymades and assemblages seek to address the distinct psychological shifts between objects and behaviors associated with childhood memory, labor and learning,” the city said.

Peter Bugg, city visual arts coordinator, said that despite the exhibit’s serious theme, “it is presented in a vibrant, playful way that will have visitors engaging with the pieces and examining their concept of play.”

Chandler Museum will host a virtual Our Stories program at 10:30 a.m. April 17, featuring city Community Services Director Andy Bass and Community Services Planning Manager Mickey Ohland.

They will discuss the history of play and recreation as well as current trends in playground equipment and park design. Registration is required at

“We hope both exhibitions will honor these icons of childhood and trigger fond memories for visitors,” said museum Director Jody Crago. “We look forward to the community coming and playing with us at Chandler Museum and Vision Gallery during the run of these shows.”

Chandler Museum and Vision Gallery have social distancing reminders throughout their spaces, limit the number of visitors in the exhibit spaces and require face masks for the health and safety of their patrons.

The museum, at 300 S. Chandler Village Drive, and is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. It is closed on Monday. Admission is free. For more information call 480-782-2717.

Vision Gallery is a city art venue managed by the Chandler Cultural Foundation. Located at 10 E. Chicago St. It is open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

“Once Upon a Playground” is organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. The exhibition is co-curated by Brenda Biondo, author of “Once Upon a Playground: A Celebration of Classic American Playgrounds, 1920-1975,” and Carol Johnson, former curator of photography at the Library of Congress.