Posted on

May 14, 2024
Contact: Chris Melville, [email protected]

Ticonic Gallery Opens New Interactive Exhibition, At Play: Works by Tom Jessen

WATERVILLE, Maine—Waterville Creates and Ticonic Gallery + Studios are pleased to present the new exhibition At Play: Works by Tom Jessen, in conjunction with the Colby Center for the Arts and Humanities’ annual theme of PLAY.

At Play: Works by Tom Jessen is the first interactive exhibition at Ticonic Gallery. Jessen’s work invites visitors to become active participants in the creative process, embracing a playful spirit to explore how the act of making art—like the act of playing—incorporates and depends on elements of chance, mystery, and unknown outcomes. Through a series of public events grounded in structured gameplay, participants will dismantle, construct, and reconstruct pieces while immersing themselves in a group art-making process.

“I see parallels between the systematic approach one uses in making art works and the rules one follows while playing games,” Jessen said. “This observation has motivated me to employ chance operations in determining the final form of each work, often through the act of playing a game. Some pieces are designed to allow others to take the lead in constructing the forms by playing the game.”

Whether experienced or aspiring artists, or artists-at-heart, all are invited to bring their creativity, curiosity, and sense of play to shape works in this exhibition. No prior experience is necessary. By inviting people into the gallery to take a central role in the art-making process, Jessen hopes to remove the perception of art as an exclusive activity solely for individuals with a particular background or education. This approach perfectly embodies Waterville Creates’ mission of arts for all.

“By allowing others to construct the work, my hope is to demystify the art-making process,” Jessen said. “These works can be dismantled and reassembled continuously. Using chance operations ensures the work remains fluid, allowing each form to always be different. This process also allows me to minimize my own agency, stay present, and keep the experience mysterious.”

An opening reception will be held at Ticonic Gallery on Friday, May 24, 4–7pm. At Play: Works by Tom Jessen will then be on display in the gallery through August 26.

Jessen will enhance the At Play experience by adding a new interactive element to the exhibition during each of the three subsequent First Friday events in downtown Waterville on June 7, July 5, and August 2.

“We are thrilled to begin the summer season with our very first interactive exhibition,” said Marie Sugden, exhibition coordinator at Waterville Creates. “Tom’s artwork infuses elements of play and spontaneity, inviting visitors of all ages to actively contribute to the art-making experience. Come play with us this summer!”

At Play: Works by Tom Jessen is sponsored by: Morning Sentinel/ Kennebec Journal, Kennebec Savings Bank, City of Waterville, Colby College Center for the Arts and Humanities.

Ticonic Gallery is open 11am–7pm daily, except Tuesdays and federal holidays. Learn more about the exhibition at

About Ticonic Gallery + Studios
Ticonic Gallery presents diverse year-round programming that incorporates local, regional, established, and emerging artists as part of gallery exhibitions and associated events. This arrangement of exhibitions allows for a broad representation of artists and media throughout the state of Maine and beyond. Ticonic Studios provide a safe and supportive environment for creative endeavors for all ages and levels of experience and offer a diverse array of educational experiences that enrich, engage, and inspire. Ticonic Gallery + Studios are located in the Paul J. Schupf Art Center, 93 Main Street, Waterville. Learn more at, or follow Ticonic on Facebook and Instagram @ticonicgalleryandstudios.