The next major exhibition entitled “Play Date!” will be on view from August 2 through September 14 at the Harrington Gallery, located inside the Firehouse Arts Center. Featuring seven diverse artists, the works explore creative interpretations of “play and playfulness” in a variety of media, from watercolor to mechanized fiber sculpture.

The exhibit opens with an Artists’ Reception in the gallery on Thursday, August 1, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. The public is welcome to come explore the works, meet and chat with the artists, and enjoy light refreshments.

Subject matter ranges from marionettes and circus clowns, to Chinese fairytale characters, tightrope-walking elephants, and a variety of original and imaginary subjects. The artists: Carolyn Crampton, Susan Else, Dimitry Grudsky, Martin Hsu, Diana Krevsky, Hugo Kobayashi and Joshua Nissen King.

The exhibit’s curator, Senior Recreation Leader Alena Sauzade offers a “bigger picture” view of the works as well: “Beyond presenting a world of fun and whimsy, the exhibiting artists also use play in surreal and satirical ways- from questioning the capitalist utopia promised by Monopoly, to imagining an uncanny carousel of humans ridden by ponies. Original and complex, Play Date speaks to the kids in all of us, engaging viewers of all ages in a conversation about imagination, the games and amusements we love, and the roles they have in our lives.”

A demo and book signing will take place Wednesday, August 28th, 4:00-5:30 p.m. at the Harrington Gallery. Artist Martin Hsu will present his illustrated children’s book “Metta,” an intimate collection of artworks to inspire compassion and loving-kindness, with wisdom by Rumi.

A special class connected to the exhibit for young people ages 5-11 will be offered. Thursday, August 29, from 4:30-5:45 p.m. Using the theme of “Play,” students will be guided on a fun and hands on session to discover where art and play meet up. After touring and discussing the exhibit, participants will take part in interactive games and hands on activities. Register at www.pleasantonfun.com, code 13959. The fees are $18 for Pleasanton residents, and $21 for non-residents.

The Harrington Gallery is located inside the Firehouse Arts Center in downtown Pleasanton, 4444 Railroad Avenue. Regular gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Closed on holidays. Free parking is available in the Firehouse lot, entrance on Spring Street. For more information on gallery exhibits and events, please visit www.firehousearts.org/gallery, or call 925-931-4849.