Starring an international cast of 34 artists, “Push Play,” the 2012 NCECA Invitational curated by NCECA Exhibitions Director, Linda Ganstrom and hosted by the Bellevue Arts Museum stimulates thought and provokes conversation regarding the relevance of play in contemporary life and its connections to creativity, art, technology, individuality and community with large scale installations and intimate investigations. “Push Play” explores play from multiple perspectives: the creative process, viewer engagement and subject matter. Contemporary trends exploring the subject of play in developing personality, gender identification and roles, moral and ethical standards, interpersonal relationships, social roles and education pique curiosity.

The process of play is integral to studio practice and the exhibition viewing experience. The role of art is changing. Long in service to religion and decoration, the visual arts are embracing an expanded role as entertainment. The museum encourages a form of play or active participation by engaging patrons in the provocative, engrossing experience of art. “On the Edge,” the NCECA conference theme interfaces with this investigation by searching for ceramic works that go beyond the obvious to reveal underlying patterns, challenge preconceptions, exposes motivation and enlighten behavior regarding play. Through works of great power, the artists selected push play to new heights of meaning, mystery and relevance.