Mystic Musical Fences

Our collaboration with the Pickup Music Project—the Mystic Musical Fences

On September 29, 2018, the Mystic Musical Fences debuted at Macdonald Park in Medford. This public art project features two rows of 90 upright aluminum chimes that can be played like musical instruments. Anyone can visit and play with the Mystic Musical Fences by taking a five-minute walk from the main park entrance lot to the art work’s gorgeous setting along the Mystic River.

This project is the result of a three-year collaboration between the Medford Arts Council and the Pickup Music Project, directed by Daniel Joseph (DJ). The Mystic Musical Fences are visually harmonious with the surrounding willow trees, and acoustically harmonious in themselves—when struck, the posts of the fences vibrate like chimes tuned to the key of C. Any visitor can play the fences with small mallets found at the site. Come make music of your own, and bring your family and friends! And check out this short video of a local band using the larger fence to jam: Big Blue World.

The Mystic Musical Fences were installed in September 2018 after a successful online crowdfunding campaign. In June 2018, the community raised more than $7000 thanks to a partnership involving the Mystic River Watershed Association and Patronicity, a fundraising platform. The successful completion of the campaign’s goal, using public donations from 44 patrons, qualified the project for a $7000 matching grant from MassDevelopment, a state economic development agency. The cooperation of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, which owns the park land, allowed the project to get done in time for the public introduction of nearby park enhancements, including a new riverside overlook.

Public art is a local priority for the Medford Arts Council. We dedicated funding and many hours of volunteer labor to advancing the Mystic Musical Fences project. We hope that visitors to Macdonald Park will enjoy this wonderful new work of interactive sound art for many years to come.