Sights and Sounds Abound!

Take a moment and take in all the details of this street scene from Roger Clark Miller’s Davis Square Symphony. Imagine you are standing on the corner. What are some sounds you might hear?


Artist and musician Roger Clark Miller filmed this street scene in Somerville, Massachusetts, and composed a musical score to accompany the action. He created a soundtrack by assigning specific instruments to the cars, pedestrians, and bicycles. The sounds rise or fade as the people or vehicles enter and disappear from the frame. Have a listen and see if you can identify what each sound corresponds to. 

Here’s a painting by Jacob Lawrence of a bustling neighborhood in New York City. Spend a moment taking in all the details of this vibrant scene in Harlem. If you could jump into the picture, what are some sounds you might hear?

Jacob Lawrence, This is Harlem, 1943

Alma Thomas was a color field artist whose abstract images reference nature, movement, and sound. Check out the titles of these two paintings.

Alma Thomas, Red Azaleas Singing and Dancing Rock and Roll Music, 1976


Alma Thomas, Falling Leaves Love Wind Orchestra

You can imagine her listening and looking out her window as she rhythmically taps bright dabs of paint onto the canvas. Alma Thomas taught art to kids in Washington, DC, for decades and didn’t really start showing her work publicly until she was in her mid-60s!

Artists and musicians have always inspired one another. Click here to hear the music that seventeen contemporary artists are listening to while they make their work. 


Gather up whatever art supplies you have on hand (even a pen or pencil and a large piece of paper will do) and let your ears guide your hand. Listen to the sounds around you and start making marks on the page that reflect what you’re hearing. Don’t worry about making a picture. Just respond to what’s happening aurally around you.

Spring is in full glory here in Vermont—the birds are warbling and bright green leaves rustle in the breeze. Listen to this wonderful composition by Aaron Copland entitled Appalachian Spring. Do any particular images come to your mind? Draw what you imagine and share your work with us on Instagram tagged with #bmackids.