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A Playful Approach: Art by Sara Kaltwasser

A participatory painting with a game of X's and O'sTIX, mixed media participatory painting

Sara Kaltwasser takes a playful approach to her artistic practice, blending toys, games, and other forms of entertainment with fine art sensibility. The artist’s works span a variety of media, and sometimes include interactive elements.

A mobile play table with a chess or checkers boardMobile Play Table, participatory sculpture, mixed media


Sara’s recent series Play Works is an interesting meditation, blurring the line between art, activity, and play. The pieces in the series are often participatory, allowing viewers to become part of the sculpture by moving pieces of it, and playing the game that the sculpture is based on. For example, one work takes the form of a chessboard, and audiences are encouraged to play the game.

A screen capture of Sara Kaltwasser's art websiteThe front page of Sara's portfolio website


An accompanying series, Play Histories, compiles stories from interviews with Baltimore residents about the nature and narratives of play. The works in this series take the form of painted portraits that are layered over backgrounds of text and quotes, presumably from the same person. The result feels well-rounded, like a solid, multi-layered impression of a person.

A painting of a woman with a background of her wordsPlay History - Ms. B

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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