Parks' Artist-In-Residence Synthesizes Music, Science, And Learning

August 3, 2018 by Lauryn Stalter

Thanks to our first artist-in-residency, those who visit the Frick Environmental Center are treated to a live musical performance every time it rains. The musicians, though, may surprise you; the rain itself, falling from the building's roof, will play cymbals on a new art installation for all who listen. 

Placed just outside the building's windows along the first floor hall, this art piece is just one of the projects that artist-in-residence Ryan McMasters has been working on during his time at the Center. With a focus on accessibility for both audience and performer, his work encourages park users to listen carefully to the soundscape of the parks.

Throughout the residency, you could find Ryan leading 'listening walks' with camp counselors and summer campers; constructing site-specific sound art installations with our high school Young Naturalists; programming a cellphone application that imitates fireflies; and installing cymbals throughout the park that harness the elements in order to create musical experiences for visitors. 

Ryan talking about the sounds of the parks with summer campers

Ryan is determined to end his residency with a bang (or, more accurately, a cymbal crash). Using cymbals that have weathered outside in Frick Park, he will be joined by his band WOLFTRAP for a free public performance on August 11. The show will feature the world premiere of his piece phonetinus_, followed by a performance that takes place on the park trails. The evening event ends with an audience-driven, interactive cell-phone based performance. Click here for event information.

Special thanks to the University of Pittsburgh Humanities Center and the Public Humanities Fellowship for making this artist-in-residency program possible.

Frick Environmental Center, Parks Conservancy Programs, Frick Park