Play and make-believe shape the way children grow and learn as they become members of society. For centuries, play has taught youngsters skills that have helped them form the way they see the world and their place in it. Toys are the catalyst to this knowledge, in the sense that they are a tool for acting on a child’s need and desire to be a grown-up.


In this collection of ten sculptures developed from my research in the Library Company’s collections, online, and at antique stores as the Visual Cultural Program summer intern, I represent popular toys from the period between 1850 and 1950. Each unique piece is based on one or a combination of different toys that existed during the decade represented, as well as my own imagination. The individual sculptures, in materials and aesthetics, mirror the era of the toy that inspired them. While I created each art work using a different method than I would normally use, each one also reflects my own artistic style.


Every object in the collection is meant to provide "endless amusement" and to be touched and played with. And while there is always the fear that the sculpture could be damaged, it is in the interest of play and experimentation that I take that risk with my art. In reality, toys break, and the world does not come to an end.

Jesse Lentz
Moore College of Art ‘13
VCP Artist-in-Residence Intern, Summer 2012