Rubin Museum Power Play

An interactive soundscape by Rhiannon Catalyst and Building Beats (empowering youth through music) for the Rubin Museum of Art

The Power of Intention

Details from the interactive project and the call that went out to the public:

On July 21st at the Rubin Museum of Art, Rhiannon Catalyst curated and emceed a live painting and sound event (The Power Painting Jam: carefully curated artists live painting to an interactive soundscape) presented with an original soundscape created by Catalyst in collaboration with Building Beats. A celebrated non-profit organization launched in 2013, Building Beats develops and expands DJ and digital music production programs, instilling entrepreneurship, leadership, and life skills in New York City’s low-income and minority youth. The Rubin Museum asked Catalyst to collaborate with Building Beats to create an original soundscape with young producers, which she then also opened to the public to create an interactive project designed to lift and celebrate multigenerational voices and inspire the next generations of artists and producers while creating a live multidisciplinary experience for the roughly 7,000 people that attend the Rubin Museum’s Block party each year in NYC.

A personal message from Rhiannon publicized at the time of the project: “I am thrilled to be working in collaboration with this amazing organization and their students to create an inspiring experience for people of all ages, and I am expanding this project to make it a public invitation- I want your voice to be part of this soundscape. Call this toll free number: 888-744-7044 and leave a voicemail message sharing one sentence on what empowers you. You can talk about the power of intention, expression, community, music, art, or collaboration. I value your voice and your words highly and you can inspire so many with a very short message. The museum has a amazing exhibit called “The Power of Intention” that this soundscape is inspired by and designed to tie into, and I highly encourage anyone in NYC to visit the museum (hopefully on July 21st from 1pm- 4pm for the “Power Play” Block Party where this will be premiered- you’re all invited!) to see that exhibit. If you want to participate and you’re not in the United States, you can also make a short voice recording with your cell phone or computer and send it to: 

This piece is designed to help inspire and empower young people and people of all ages by sharing a soundscape of voices (set to beats made by and collaboratively with youth through NYC-based non-profit organization Building Beats) with a beautifully diverse all-ages crowd where people can hear people speaking about things that matter to them, while artists create live art on canvases on a stage inspired by this soundscape and your words). I will MC the event and share with the crowd how this soundscape was made. You can absolutely remain anonymous if you wish. 

Other questions to inspire your contribution* (answers to the prompts above or below will make it most likely I can use a sample of your voice in the project):

What empowers you?

What does the power of intention (or community, art, collaboration, vision, music) mean to you? 

What are your intentions for the future, and / or visions for a more positive collective future?

*When answering these questions directly, please state the question or subject first, as in, “For me, the power of intention is…”

A special message to young people:

Today, as perhaps more youth than ever are standing up for change, it seems the world is fully recognizing the power of young voices. I have long been an advocate for youth empowerment and truly listening to the next generations, and I’m grateful to and proud of this generation for taking the stands they are on so many issues. I am looking for young people who want their voices to be amplified and heard. Take part in an interactive soundscape to be played for thousands of people at the Rubin Museum’s Annual Block Party, this year’s theme being POWER.

In this original soundscape, samples of young people speaking will be an integral part and focus, in the same spirit my soundscape for the new York Hall of Science asked for public interactive involvement to create a soundscape designed to inspire people to collectively reach and work together. Link to that project is below if you’d like to know more about my last soundscape. For this current project I have the opportunity to start something I’ve been visualizing for a long time- to highlight and help young voices to be heard, and for other young people to hear voices of their peers being celebrated and amplified (literally) in the streets. There is a long lineage and history of people amplifying their voices on the streets of NYC to draw attention to things that are important to them, and wherever you are in the world, I want you to know that feeling and be part of that history (as I know many of you already have, in many cities and places in the world). 

Thank you for your consideration and for lifting your voices!

With great respect,

Rhiannon Catalyst

(Curator, soundscape artist, organizer, and youth mentor)