Exhibitions - Prototyping Play

Cas Holman
Prototyping Play

05.19.24 – 09.22.24

Cas Holman, a white person with short brown hair, kneeling on the floor with two young kids playing with Rigamajig, a large-scale building kit designed by Cas.

Cas Holman playing with kids with a Rigamajig, courtesy of the artist.

The Queens Museum has engaged Cas Holman as the designer of Prototyping Play, a project that explores the intersection of art making and play. Prototyping Play will activate the first floor Skylight Gallery as the Museum prepares for an intergenerational family learning center – a children’s museum – focused on art and culture. 


Prototyping Play furthers the Queens Museum’s knowledge of its audiences and facilitates test thinking as the Museum prepares for exciting developments in its programming. This experimental project encourages ongoing learning from prototyping new ideas and experiences. 


Prototyping Play touches on four concepts at the core of the new children’s museum spaces: PLAY (performing arts, playground); MAKE (create, build, panorama); GROW (sustainability, porousness); and INTERACT (technology). Through research, observation, designing, and curation, Holman will understand the Queens Museum and its mission, space, staff, as well as the young people and families it serves. This understanding will be used to propose and design temporary, interactive, participatory play elements, including new designs as well as variations and customizations of existing play products.


Prototyping Play is curated by Lauren Haynes, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Programs, and Kimaada Le Gendre, Director of Education.


Cas Holman (b.1974) has been designing playthings and playspaces for two decades, encouraging exploration, imagination, and collaboration. Through her company Heroes Will Rise, Cas creates intuitive toys that inspire creative, open-ended play, including the award-winning Rigamajig, a line of playful building kits used in schools and public spaces worldwide. An educator of 13 years and former Associate Professor of Industrial Design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Cas travels the globe to collaborate with thought and industry leaders in early education, curriculum design, public space, and childhood advocacy who share her passion for creating opportunities for child-directed free play. Her philosophy and approach to designing for play was recently featured in the award-winning documentary series Abstract: The Art of Design on Netflix.


Cas Holman: Prototyping Play is made possible in part by lead support from The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and the Queens Museum Exhibitions Circle.


The Queens Museum is housed in the New York City Building, which is owned by the City of New York.

The Museum is supported, in part, by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with Mayor Eric Adams, the Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and the New York City Council under the leadership of Speaker Adrienne E. Adams.

Major funding is generously provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ford Foundation, Hearst Foundations, Jerome Foundation, MacMillan Family Foundation, Mellon Foundation, E.A. Michelson Philanthropy, New York Community Trust, Lambent Foundation, and Rockefeller Brothers Fund.