Melissa McGill’s Palmas at Manitoga

Artist Melissa McGill at Manitoga’s Quarry Pool “composing” score for Palmas

Artist Melissa McGill at Manitoga’s Quarry Pool “composing” score for Palmas

Manitoga in Garrison, also known as the Russell Wright Design Center, is the former home of a significant 20th-century industrial designer. Under the stewardship of Dan Rigney, Manitoga is now emerging as the site of elaborate, high-concept multimedia performance and environmental music: art-as-place and place-as-art.

In May, the conceptual artist Melissa McGill opened her site-specific sound installation Palmas at Manitoga. McGill’s surround-sound installation makes use of Manitoga’s Quarry Pool and encircling paths, with music occurring at timed intervals as audience members tour the grounds. The work takes its name from the improvised, rhythmic clapping that is an integral part of flamenco music.


McGill has been exhibiting her artwork internationally since 1991, including solo exhibitions at White Cube in London, Power House in Memphis and CRG Gallery in New York, where she is represented in the US. She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work involves an interdisciplinary process primarily incorporating drawing, sculpture and sound.

Now, on September 27, McGill’s Palmas culminates in an elaborate performaance that extends the flamenco-themed installation and includes live performers making use of all the features, idiosyncrasies and personality of the Manitoga grounds. Palmas performers include dancers, singers and musicians performing on a special stage in the quarry itself, and amplified and strategy spots throughout the grounds.

Two outdoor performances will take place at Manitoga on Saturday, September 27: a Family & Friends Performance at 1 p.m. ($45/$35 for Manitoga members) and a Benefit Performance ($500/$125) at 4 p.m. The rain date is Sunday September 28 at 1 and 4 p.m. Tickets are available through For more information, call (845) 424-3812. Manitoga is located at 584 Route 9D in Garrison.

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