Celebrate the start of summer and the opening of the blockbuster exhibition The Art of Video Games at the Toledo Museum of Art this weekend.
One of the first major exhibitions to explore the evolution of video games as an artistic medium, The Art of Video Games also is one of the most popular exhibitions ever held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. TMA is the only site in Ohio where the touring exhibition will be shown. It opens to the public at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 19, in the Canaday Gallery.
On Friday evening, June 20, Chris Melissinos, creator and guest curator for the Smithsonian American Art Museum touring exhibition, will talk about the evolution of video games, give a behind-the-scenes look at how the exhibition came about and sign copies of the catalog at 7 p.m. in the Little Theater. Admission is free.
On Saturday, June 21, the Museum will host #GameOn: The Art of Video Games opening party for members and the public from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Sponsored in part by Hanson Inc., the party will feature hands-on activities, video arcade games, a video-game-inspired photo booth and an epic rock-paper-scissors tournament. There also will be special appearances by gaming industry insiders as well as food trucks, dancing and a participatory video game with live actors on the Museum’s Terrace. Admission to the party is free for TMA members, $20 for adult nonmembers and $10 for children nonmembers ages 6–12.
The Art of Video Games is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from Entertainment Software Association Foundation, Sheila Duignan and Mike Wilkins, Shelby and Frederick Gans, Mark Lamia, Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, Rose Family Foundation, Betty and Lloyd Schermer, and Neil Young. The C.F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go. The showing in Toledo is made possible through the generous support of Toledo Museum of Art members.
The Art of Video Games is on view June 19-Sept. 28 in the Museum’s Canaday Gallery. Admission to the Museum, the exhibition and most exhibition-related programs is free. Parking for nonmembers is $5.
Here is a list of exhibition-related activities by date. Events are subject to change, so check toledomuseum.org for updates.
Presentation and Book Signing: Chris Melissinos
Achievement Unlocked: How Video Games Captured the World’s Imagination
June 20: 7 p.m., Little Theater
In the 40-plus years since video games first came into existence, they have emerged as an important artistic and storytelling medium in popular culture. Chris Melissinos, creator and guest curator of The Art of Video Games, traces the games from their humble beginnings to becoming a global phenomenon, explores why we love them and reveals how this groundbreaking exhibition came to be. Afterward he will sign copies of the exhibition catalog The Art of Video Games: From Pac-Man to Mass Effect, co-authored by Melissinos and Patrick O’Rourke. The event is free. Copies of the catalog will be available for $40.
#GameOn! The Art of Video Games Opening Party
June 21: 8 p.m. to Midnight, Main Museum
Celebrate the arrival of The Art of Video Games with hands-on activities, a cash bar, light snacks, a game-inspired photo booth and an epic rock-paper-scissors tournament. There also will be a special appearance by industry insider Holly Hirzel, a senior producer at Xbox, plus food trucks, dancing and a participatory video game with live actors on the TMA Terrace. Dress code ranges from graphic tees to video game character costumes and everything in between. Admission is free for TMA members; $20 for adult nonmembers and $10 for children nonmembers ages 6–12. The party is sponsored in part by Hanson Inc.
Panel Discussion: Gaming for a Living: The Life of a Pro-Gamer
July 18: 7 p.m., Little Theater
Video games are a $26 billion mainstream business today. The average male gamer is 32 years old and the average female gamer is 42. These are hardly the stereotypes of teenagers in their parents’ basement. Many gamers earn a living playing video games and producing video game events. This panel discussion brings together pro-gamers and video game personalities to discuss the business and lifestyle of the industry. Learn what goes into producing a major video game event and hear about the best moments of competition and victory. Justin Yamek, co-founder of Beyond Gaming, will moderate the discussion. Free.
Film: War Games July 24: 7 p.m., Little Theater A young computer whiz (Matthew Broderick) taps into a top secret supercomputer which has control over the U.S. nuclear arsenal. When it challenges him to a game between America and Russia, he innocently starts the countdown to World War III. Can he avert war and convince the computer he was only playing? (1983, 114 minutes) Free.
Panel Discussion: Level Complete: The Future of Video Games
Aug. 15: 7 p.m., Little Theater
Veteran video game innovators Nathaniel “Than” McClure, founder of Scientifically Proven; Navid Khonsari, creator of “1979 Revolution;” and Blaine Graboyes, founder of Mash3 and CEO of Beyond Gaming, talk about the future of video games. Each with more than 20 years of experience producing games, the panelists now are pioneering new frontiers. Based on audience interest, topics may include the business of games, how to pitch a game, current trends, failures and successes, new platforms, the art of storytelling and production processes. Free.
Film: The Last Starfighter
Aug. 21: 7 p.m., Little Theater
A video gaming boy, seemingly doomed to live out his days at his trailer park, finds himself recruited as a gunner for an alien defense force, chosen to take the skills he showed on the video game into real combat to protect the galaxy from invasion. (1984, 101 minutes) Free.
Game Day at TMA
Sept. 7: Noon to 5 p.m., Throughout Museum
Before video games, people played board games. Game Day, organized by UT-BASH, the University of Toledo’s gaming organization, lets visitors test their skills with new and classic board games at tables at various places throughout the Museum. Free.
Film: Indie Game: The Movie
Sept. 11: 7 p.m., Little Theater
Witness a portrait of a new breed of artist: the video game designer. It used to be that the only way to make it as a designer in the video game industry was to work with major developers. Now, independent amateurs have taken their industry by storm. (2012, 104 minutes) Free.
Masters Series Presentation: Brett Leonard
Sept. 25: 6 p.m., Peristyle
Toledo native Brett Leonard, a visionary film and video director, writer and producer, discusses the creative possibilities of digital technology during a conversation with TMA Director Brian Kennedy. “The Lawnmower Man,” Leonard’s cautionary tale on virtual reality, was the most successful independent film of 1992 and acclaimed for its cutting-edge computer animation and visual effects. His 1995 film “Virtuosity,” starring Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington, explored nanotechnology in a cyberpunk future. The Masters Series is sponsored in part by the Museum Ambassadors, a TMA group of supporters. For more information, visit toledomuseum.org/events/mastersseries. Free.
Note: Events are subject to change. For the latest information, check TMA’s online calendar at toledomuseum.org. For images or other information contact Teri Sharp, public relations manager, at 419-254-5082 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Alia Orra, marketing communications coordinator, at 419-255-8000 ext. 7542 or email@example.com.