As part of the Tough Art residency at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, designer Scott Garner created Reach, a large-scale interactive mural and musical instrument. When someone touches both the moon and a star, a tone is played. A “triumphant chord” is the result when all of the stars are touched simultaneously.

“Pittsburgh is a city of bridges, so the idea of spanning or reaching across a space came directly from the skyline,” says Garner. “I was also interested in the idea of noncompetitive play, in which a child could accomplish a goal alone, or by cooperating with their family and friends.”


The panels of the installation are constructed of Baltic birch plywood painted in a textured metallic style. To make the aluminum stars, Garner used the water jet cutter at Pittsburgh’s TechShop. “I spent a lot of time filing them down to make them safer for little fingers.”

As for the final result, “After a few tentative taps, kids are often sprawled across the piece, touching stars with all limbs and giggling.”

For more, visit scott.j38.net/interactive/reach.


Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist and Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.

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