Play Day


As part of the Creative City Challenge’s summer-long programming, there are three themed activity days: Play Day, July 19; Discovery Day, August 16; and Maker Day, September 13.

Play Day

Play Day, in association with the Minneapolis Aquatennial, is focused on play. According to Stuart Brown, President of the National Institute for Play, play is part of the ‘‘developmental sequencing of becoming a human primate. If you look at what produces learning and memory and well-being, play is as fundamental as any other aspect of life, including sleep and dreams.’’ The Creative City Challenge Play Day is a day of activities for all ages, from ping pong to electronic hopscotch; from massage and acupuncture to Ayurvedic medicine; from video games in a backpack to DIY activities. There will be musicians performing all day on the Balancing Ground stage.

Balancing Ground Stage

10 am – noon
Social Jam Session with Ross Hackenmiller
Presented by Piazza on the Mall and The Musicant Group

The Social Jam Session is a collaborative music making event that allows everyone to make some joyful noise. Join musician Ross Hackenmiller to bang on some drums and rattle noise makers. Those of all talents and abilities are welcome and encouraged to participate!

12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Amanda Lovelee, The Complimentaries and caller Ann Carter, Call and Answer
Artist Amanda Lovelee is collaborating again with the amazing square dance caller Ann Carter to reenact the Call and Answer Project. A project that creates a joyful space for physical connection. Hosted in Balancing Ground Lovelee and Carter are interested in playing with concept of balance on the dance floor. Expect to hold hands with strangers, do-si-so, and smile so much your face hurts. The Call and Answer Project is about square dancing, hand holding, and connecting. No experience necessary and all ages invited.

2:00 – 4:00 pm
Eclectic Ensemble, Music of the Sun
Music of the Sun (MOTS) is a mobile, solar- and bicycle-powered outdoor music program celebrating the connections between summertime Minneapolis and the communities that love it. It is a symbol of spontaneity, creativity and independence. The ensemble, Tim Donahue, Charlie Henrikson and John Vance, with 520 lbs of solar and musical gear, will settle in at the Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza to serenade with their music the cyclists, pedestrians, families, passers-by  at the Minneapolis Convention Center Plaza. It’s a serendipitous, spontaneous, joyous performance of the inter-connectivity Minneapolis shares with its people and its physical environment. The music occupies a middle ground between abstract and popular, familiar enough that people can relate but unique to the point of being unpredictable. It is an instrumental music that sparks the imagination of the audience through an unusual arrangement of rhythm, timing, texture and presentation. A different kind of music without a preconceived role.


Artists and organizations participating in Creative City Challenge Play Day include:

Function Massage and Acupuncture

Get a free relaxing shoulder rub or scalp massage. Learn performance enhancing techniques, therapeutic recovery methods, and facilitated stretching. Hear about the benefits of acupuncture.

Peter Haakon Thompson, Temporary Table Tennis Trailer

The Temporary Table Tennis Trailer (TTTT) engages residents, business owners, patrons and passers-by in the sport of ping pong (also known as table tennis), through creating Popup Ping Pong Parks. An Olympic sport, table tennis can be played by people of any age or skill level including singles and doubles. The Popup PP Parks will be places for play, conversation and connection. The Temporary Table Tennis Trailer consists of a steel top mounted to a trailer allowing it to travel anywhere. A detachable tow bar and four trailer jacks level and stabilize the table. It follows standard dimensions for a Ping Pong table, 5’x 9’ with a height of 30 inches with a metal net. The table functions perfectly for the sport, it is meant to feel the same in play as any tournament quality Ping Pong table. Paddles and balls are always with the table to facilitate spontaneous play. Benches are provided for spectators and players to hang out and converse.

Jess Hirsch and Ginny Sims, Dosha Kitchen

Dosha Kitchen is a mobile camper that helps the public discover Ayurvedic Dosha. Doshas stem from Ayurvedic medicine, the oldest healing system in the world, originating in India five thousand years ago. Doshas are the triad of characteristics that dominate an individual: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Dosha Kitchen reveals the viewer’s disposition through food, drink, and objecthood.

Erin Lavelle and Tony Chapin, Nightime Post

Nighttime Post conjures the magic of the night and invites us to offer dreams to each other and our shared surroundings. Messages will pass slowly through the day—from the heart and mind to the mouth, the ear, the typewriter, the bicycle, and finally the hands of the recipient. What wishes do you have for your fellow citizens? Find the Nighttime Post tent and spread some light. Postmasters are on hand to assist.

Leonardo’s Basement

Invent, make and play games with Leonardo’s Basement. Build things that fly, roll, shoot, bounce, spin and burst! Tools and materials await builders of all ages to bring their imagination to life. A little engineering, a little art, a little technology, and a whole lotta fun! Leonardo’s Basement provides innovative learning environments for children aged 6-16 and their families to learn about themselves and their world designing and building creative projects mixing art and science with technology.

Play From Scratch

Roll up your sleeves and start inventing with YOXO, the hit construction toy from Minnesota-based green toy company Play from Scratch! YOXO transforms paper towel tubes into dragonflies, turns cereal boxes into robots and helps remind kids (and adults) that everyone is creative. Make your creation, take your picture to share and then take apart and recycle your invention!

YOXO® (“yock-so”), made from Minnesota-based toy company Play from Scratch®, is an exciting new eco-awesome construction toy made from sustainable materials and designed to inspire relentlessly creative kids with colorful Y, O and X links that connect in thousands of ways and attach to recyclable stuff around your house (like paper towel tubes and cereal boxes) to build anything you can imagine! High-density YOXO cores are made from 100% recycled fiber and are recyclable, made with soy-based inks and water-based coatings and made in the USA. YOXO links are both recyclable and designed to withstand years of creative play. For more information visit

Tyler Stefanich and the UCLA Game Lab, Arcade Backpack

Presented by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Take your turn playing the ultimate portable arcade machine designed to be worn as a backpack. The Arcade Backpack’s cabinet frame is constructed of lasercut plywood and assembled to house a laptop, arcade-style controls, and an LED marquee powered by a drill battery. The entire cabinet is holstered onto a military grade back frame and can be adjusted to fit comfortably on almost anyone.

Asia Ward, Electric Hopscotch

Electric Hopscotch is a glowing, electronic twist on the classic jump and skip game. In Electric Hopscotch, the interaction between players is a physical dance of memory, ranging from simple steps to complicated jumps. Electric Hopscotch is mobile; instead of chalked squares on the pavement, players position “jump-pads” in any order or direction they prefer. The jump-pads contain electronic memory sensors, outlined with glowing surface-mounted LEDs. They come in four shapes: triangle one-foot pads, square two-feet pads, long pill-shaped spacer pads, and circle start and finish pads. To play, a person completes a sequence of jumps and skips on the pads from start to finish. The pads remember the sequence of jumps and play back the order by lighting up in sequence. Player 2 then has to jump in the same order as Player 1. If there is a misstep, the jump-pads blink red, and Player 2 gives up a turn. For more variety, or for new players, the jump-pads can be reset to take on a new jump sequence. An unlimited number of players can participate in Electric Hopscotch, just not all at once. One player at a time—and then whoever wants to accept the challenge can try to replicate your rad jump and skip moves!

Yang Yang Sim

Yang Yang Sim brings a refreshing show with the diabolos, also known as Chinese Yoyos. Coming all the way from Malaysia, he brings the highest tosses and the craziest spin-tastic tricks that will surely blow your mind.

Presented by

The Creative City Challenge, a competition for Minnesota artists and architects to create a destination artwork. which acts as a sociable and participatory platform for summer-long onsite activities, is presented by the Minneapolis Convention Center and Arts, Culture and Creative Economy Program of the City of Minneapolis and Meet Minneapolis in collaboration with Northern

Minneapolis Aquatennial

Play Day is an official event of the Minneapolis Aquatennial.