A work of art is only of interest, in my opinion, when it is an immediate and direct projection of what is happening in the depth of a person’s being…

– Jean Dubuffet

Outside Sound is a mixed-media collaboration between differently-abled artists (both visual and musical) and professional music artists. Since its start in 2012 the project has held live public concerts/gallery events in Philadelphia, Boston, and Minneapolis,  music intensive workshops at five participating art programs, and the curation of musical recordings and an art booklet. The art programs involved are Center for Creative Works in Lower Merion/Wynnewood PA, SpArc Creative Arts in Philadelphia, Outside the Lines in Medford, MA, Interact Art Center in Minneapolis, and Midwest Special Services in the greater Minneapolis area. Most recently, Outside Sound has also been presented via educational workshops in numerous Philadelphia area schools, sharing our work as well and demonstrating a model for inclusion and creative collaboration.

The idea behind Outside Sound was formulated by Chris Coyle (project director and composer) after he began working with adults with developmental disabilities during the summer of 2011. Though he was conducting music workshops with the population at Center for Creative Works, it was the artwork that he saw being made there that turned his head immediately. Here was a group of creative, outwardly kind people making everything from paintings to ceramic pieces, from plaster sculptures to stop-motion animation videos. With the assistance of a dedicated staff of professional artists, the differently-abled participants were expressing themselves and unabashedly showing who they were, what they liked or disliked, and what they felt. Chris saw great effort and progress with the musical involvement, at the time a new endeavor at CCW, with these same participants and eventually he came to a conclusion: by combining their artwork with a musical component the art could be enhanced and could easily be showcased in a brand new way and to audiences that wouldn’t have otherwise been exposed to it.

With Outside Sound, all of the artists involved aim to produce mixed-media pieces that bring to life the feeling, the experiences, and the eccentricities that are found in this unique artwork and within these unique individuals. The compositions are influenced by much of the music being made in his workshops in which common musical norms are often disregarded and rules broken in order to capture what the participants are hearing or physically feeling. Program participants engage in the creative musical process through recording, sampling, and performance.

Outside Sound has received support and funding from organizations such as American Composers Forum, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the McKnight Foundation, Resources for Human Development,


Chris Coyle – project director, composer, musician

Paul Giess – project director, composer, musician

Guest musicians include: Doug Hirlinger, Elijah Thomas, Dave Sanders, Joe Veltri, Brendan Cooney, Jeff Ormsby, Jon Coyle, Matt Scarano and Carlos Santiago

Avi Fox, Nikolai Fox, Jovielle Gers and Chris Coyle – photography and editing

Michael Toland – film and media editing

Tom Spiker – recording engineer

All of the wonderful staff and management at CCW, SpArc, Outside the Lines, Interact Art Center and MSS!

Please read the ‘Support’ page to find out how you can contribute, follow, or spread word about Outside Sound.

“One hundred artists introduce us to one hundred worlds”

– William Baziotes


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