Interplay: Playful art exhibit at DAVA

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Interplay, the new show opening today at Downtown Aurora Visual Arts , is playful on one level...and very serious on another.

Kids ranging in age from three to eighteen created the video games, movable sculptures, miniature gardens and toys in this exhibit that invite visitors to experience art first-hand. Experience art, and then talk about it: Each piece is designed to inspire conversation about social change between the artists and the community at large.

Viviane Le Courtois, DAVA program manager, says this exhibit allows people to look at art in a different way. "This is going to be a show where people are asked to touch everything," she notes. "It's not often you can touch art and actually be involved."

Nikki Pike and Jaime Carrejo, both professors at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, are guest artists in the exhibit. Both have crafted works related to the theme: Pike created an interactive sound piece and Carrejo is collecting community messages in a giant piñata work titled "Our Own Worst Enemy."

"It utilizes the history of the piñata and Mexican folk art as a means of exploring the history of individuals," says Carrejo. "Participants are asked to write down a moment of indiscretion on a card, place it inside a slit on the donkey's back, in exchange for a handmade paper flower. I was thinking of the flower as a commemoration or reflection on people's lives. In that reflection, people may change something, even slightly. It's a sort of breaking things down by confronting them."

The b(ART)er collective, led by Pike, is a group of artists, designers and educators focusing on social engagement; they will present a special project during the opening reception tonight. Pike is excited about collaborating with DAVA, an organization that "saves children's lives," she suggests. "The time youths spend at DAVA not only grows independent thinkers, builds confidence, and teaches skills and creativity, but it provides a safe haven in an otherwise rough and risky environment. My hope is to allow a space for the community to become involved in the art, to directly become the makers and artists so that we as a community continue to employ and uphold the arts as a necessary and vibrant part of our lives."

The exhibit is free and open to the public; it runs through September 28. For more information, go to www.davarts.org

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