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Get creative every week at CMA’s Play on the Plaza

During Columbia Museum of Art’s Play on the Plaza events, visitors are encouraged to flex their creative muscles and tap into their engineering ingenuity with design challenges, games and activities for all ages.
During Columbia Museum of Art’s Play on the Plaza events, visitors are encouraged to flex their creative muscles and tap into their engineering ingenuity with design challenges, games and activities for all ages. Photos courtesy of Columbia Museum of Art

Sometimes kids just want to have fun, no matter how old they are.

The Columbia Museum of Art knows this, and is providing an opportunity for kids — and those who want to play like a kid for a little while — with Play on the Plaza.

While Soda City is doing its thing on Main Street on Saturdays this summer, the Columbia Museum of Art will bring out “big blue blocks” and entertainment for folks of all ages on Boyd Plaza, challenging visitors to create drop-in designs.

Folks can use lesson plans provided by the museum, or “tap into your engineering ingenuity.”

On May 11, Play on the Plaza will have performances by students at the Suzuki Academy of Columbia and the University of South Carolina, which teaches students ages three and above the violin, viola, cello, and classical guitar using the Suzuki method and philosophy. Violin and viola students perform at 10 a.m. and cello and guitar students perform at 10:40 a.m.

Glenna Barlow, senior manager of education and interpretation, and Wilson Bame, engagement specialist, run the Play on the Plaza program series for the Columbia Museum of Art. They answered a few questions about the weekly event:

Q. Describe Play on the Plaza for us.

A. Play on the Plaza is a way to engage the folks at Soda City Market and show them how they can make Boyd Plaza even more vibrant and fun than it already is. Each Saturday we’ll bring out our “Big Blue Blocks” (think giant foam Legos) along with specific design challenges (like “build something that might help you get across a river”) as well as some other fun games and activities here and there.

Some weeks we’ll showcase the work of fabulous community partners like Suzuki Academy of Columbia and UofSC on May 11, or Historic Columbia and Girls Rock on June 8. On Independence Day weekend we’ll have our own version of a Touch-A-Truck with first responders as well as other American-themed art activities under the covered pavilion.

Q. Is this a year-around event?

A. We’re rolling out the program this May, and we’ll be playing on the plaza every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the summer, weather permitting.

Q. What are three reasons folks should stop by and play?

A. 1. Play on the Plaza is an awesome way to have fun and flex your creative muscles. 2. It’s the perfect complement to a morning at Soda City Market, and our grassy area is great for the whole family. 3. There’s always something exciting going on at the CMA — both inside and out. During Play on the Plaza hours, museum admission is just $5, so the fun can continue in the Cross Hatch (our interactive space) and in the galleries. Bonus: It’s free!

If you go

Play on the Plaza

When: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays through the summer

Where: Boyd Plaza, Columbia Museum of Art, 1515 Main St.

Cost: Free

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