Art Games: It's All About Connection
Submitted by Liz Glaser, Xavier University Communications Team Intern
Gallery hopping on Final Friday, I stumbled across a new gallery at 1417 Main Street. YES Gallery, which showcases the works of local artist Andrew Neyer and several other local artists, held its grand-opening on Friday. What immediately caught my eye was the life-size Connect Four game I saw through the window.
As I entered the gallery, three children followed right behind, and headed straight to the Connect Four game and the Peg Solitaire game next to it. When Andrew told them they were actually allowed to play with the games, their eyes lit up and they spent the rest of the evening standing on their tip-toes trying to put large wooden Connect Four pieces into the game. Of course they couldn’t reach the top, and everyone attending the opening took turns dropping them into the positions dictated by the children.
One little girl ran straight to the Peg Solitaire, grabbed one of the pieces, which was nearly her size, and maneuvered her way through people socializing to rearrange several pieces on the board. One child, Andrew’s brother-in-law, Josh, sat on the floor under the Connect Four board and listened intently as Andrew explained exactly how it functioned.
There was something special about the curiosity and innocence of the children as they ran around playing games with the help of total strangers never fearing to ask for their help.
And it struck me that perhaps, this is what an ideal community looks like, one where strangers socialize, where children play and, instead of fearing adults, include them.
And it was all built around art, around an idea brought to life by an artist and a community of people who nurture, support, and appreciate that idea. As I watched a nine year old girl place a red Connect Four game piece next to three others to create four in a row and win the game, I knew that Andrew had it right; it’s all about connection, and how fitting that a life-size Connect Four board would be the tool needed to create real-life connections between people in a community.
As I left the gallery, I heard the Connect Four pieces slam to the ground as the board was cleared for another game. Let the connections begin.