The Nine Dot Challenge is a simple puzzle that frequently reveals self-imposed restrictions. Imagine a blank piece of paper with three rows and three columns formed from nine small circles. Your task is to connect all nine dots using only four lines. The only caveat? Once you start, you can’t lift your pen from the page.

How do you solve it? The solution lies in our ability to literally think outside the box, navigate obstacles both real and imagined and redesign the spaces in which we operate.

This month, we take on the challenge of reimagining our spaces. Kate Wagner of McMansion Hell takes a break from analyzing subpar architecture to breaking down the acoustics of your own private practice space. It’s time to upgrade that egg-crate-and-mattress-pad décor in favor of real solutions for practicing in not-so-private places.

Then, we learn an important lesson from flash mobs. Whether playful or profound, musicians have been greeting unsuspecting audiences within public spaces with an art-for-everyone ethos — and this practice has a lot of implications for the programs back in our concert halls. 

Our series re/CREATE continues with Moira Smiley reflecting on the influence of Béla Bartók and, more broadly, eastern European folk traditions. With host Joe Brent, she performs three Bartók works, all of which she has arranged and lyricized.

Finally, we welcome Kate Sheeran as this month’s POP Picks curator, as she celebrates the people, organizations and projects that create the kind of welcoming spaces we long for.

Thanks for joining the conversation.

Mark Rabideau
Director, 21CM