Play Is fundamental to culture and society. Play is synonymous with freedom and yet, it has rules and carries with it a sense of order; it opens up a space that is distinct from everyday life and that completely absorbs the person at play. That play is not practiced for any material gain or profit also reminds one of the ideals that have been attached to art at many times in history, for instance as embodied in the philosophy of “art for art’s sake.” We can also think about how 20th-century artists, for instance Paul Klee, celebrated children’s playful creativity, free from the stifling constraints of tradition. Other important features that are associated with play and games are competition and chance.

winter theme24Francesco caroto ritratto di una fanciullo con un disegno infantile (verona castelvecchio) 01 copy

Giovanni Francesco Caroto, Ritratto di fanciullo con disegno (Portrait of a Youth with a Drawing), 1515–20, oil on panel, 14.5 x 11.4 in. (37 x 29 cm), Museo di Castelvecchio, Verona (photo: Wikimedia Commons).

Do you see your artistic activity as play? Is your practice fun or serious? Or both?

How do you understand the link between play and creativity? Between play and experimentation?

Is your work solitary or communal team play? Does competition or collaboration play a role?

How do you engage your audience in a playful manner?

Does chance play a role in your work and how do you incorporate it into your creative process?

theme Paul Klee ~ Angelus Novus ~ 1920 copy

Paul Klee, Angelus Novus, 1920, India ink, oil paper, watercolor paint, and monoprinting, 2.5 x 9.5 in. (31.8 x 24.2 cm), Israel Museum, Jerusalem (photo: Wikimedia Commons).

1924 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Surrealism (the First Manifesto was published on 15 October 1924, but it’s already earlier in that year that we witness a shift from Parisian Dadaism to Surrealism). A few months ago, we invited you to have some summer fun with your friends playing this favorite Surrealist game: Cadavre Exquis (Exquisite Corpse). It is not too late to play!  We hope to publish some in the Winter issue (for directions, click here). Please send us your cadavres exquis, accompanied if you wish with a few lines about your experience.

winter thmee ExCorp2

Exquisite Corpse, Islesboro, September 2023.

Deadline: 1 December 2023.

Guidelines for UMVA Members’ Showcase:

We invite MAJ member artists (to become a member: click here) to submit up to four JPEG or png images (NO TIFF files), approximately 2800 pixels on width, resolution 72dpi.

  • Include an image list and statement or brief essay (600 words or less) in Word doc. format, NOT a PDF.
  • Label each image file as follows: your last name_Number of Image_Title (with no spaces in the title). Please DO NOT put whole caption/credit in image file label, see image list/caption format below (if you are submitting for a group put your own last name in first).
  • Label your document file names: Last Name_Title
  • Image list/caption format: create a list that is numbered to match the number in your image file label that includes the following: Artist’s Name, Title of Work, medium, size (example: 9 x 12 in.), date (optional), photo credit (example: photo: Ansel Adams) if not included we assume it is courtesy of the artist. Example: Unknown Artist, Untitled, oil on canvas, 9 x 12 in., 2000 (photo: Ansel Adams).
  • Please wait until all of your material is compiled to submit.

Put “Playin the subject line and submit by email to by the 1 December 2023 deadline. MAJ will limit the “Members’ Showcase” section to UMVA members who have not been published in the past year.

Do not send preformatted visual essays. Our editors will lay out text and images submitted using the guidelines above.

It is the MAJ’s policy to request and then publish image credits. We will not publish images the submitter does not have the right to publish. However, it is to be assumed that any uncredited or unlabeled images are the author’s/submitter’s own images. By submitting to the MAJ, you are acknowledging respect for these policies.


Image at top: Bread and Puppet’s Our Domestic Resurrection Circus, Portland, 5 September 2021 (photo: Natasha Mayers).