Monday, July 6, 2015

Museum Debuts Interactive Sound Sculpture

By Megan Fischer and Robin Meisner

Providence Children’s Museum has designed a vibrant, interactive sound sculpture for Harriet & Sayles Park in South Providence as part of PopUp Providence – an innovative urban place-making program funded by Providence’s Department of Planning + Development that supports temporary and inexpensive artistic and cultural interventions to enliven neighborhoods across the city.  Installed at the park now through August, the sculpture invites kids and adults to explore rhythm and make music on a variety of inventive percussion instruments.

Exhibit Designer Chris Sancomb observes the first kids to test the sculpture.

Children inherently respond to banging on drums and ringing bells – they love making and sharing music.  The Museum-created sound sculpture invites kids of all abilities to play with instruments in their own ways and to create meaningful interactions with music and with each other.  Making music together promotes confidence and social skills, as well as the development of language, mathematical and spatial thinking – and it's just good fun!  By incorporating a variety of intriguing reclaimed objects and new materials, the sculpture offers kids the opportunity to play both usual and unusual instruments.  We hope to inspire children and their caregivers to explore ways that everyday items can be repurposed into something playful, and to encourage kids to explore their interests and express themselves freely.

While some sculpture components were repurposed, others were laser cut or handmade from steel and welded together.

Many people don’t know that we make our own exhibits at Providence Children’s Museum.  One of the defining features of our environments is that they are original creations made by the Museum's professional staff along with additional educators, scholars and artists, which means that most of what you see at the Museum was developed, designed and fabricated in house.  We were excited to go beyond our walls to create the sound sculpture for Harriet & Sayles Park because we have a deep commitment to bringing high-quality play and learning experiences to low-income families across Providence – particularly to the South Providence neighborhood close to the Museum.  Most of our outreach takes the form of programs and activities, and the sound sculpture allows us to offer something new.

Stop by Harriet & Sayles to make some joyful noise this summer!  And if you arrive on a weekday from 11 AM - 2 PM, you’ll also see unstructured, creative play activities guided by Providence PlayCorps, in conjunction with the free federal summer meals program.

See more photos of the music sculpture installation on Facebook.

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