I remember when I was young, going to piano classes that my mom would pay for, and enjoying it so much. The feel of the keys beneath my fingers and the harmonious sound of the notes that filled the room as I practiced. My instructor always told me I was a really fast learner, and playing the piano quickly became a favorite pastime of mine. Throughout the years I have drifted away from playing, however the memories still rest deep in my mind of those wonderful days sitting in front of the worlds most beautiful instrument.
From Beethoven to Fiona Apple, many people, gay and straight, have embraced the beauty of the piano’s sound. Thanks to British artist Luke Jerram thousands of people in NYC can join the musicians around the world by sitting at a piano and performing for the public for free.
Jerram, sponsored in New York by the non-profit arts group “Sing for Hope,” has placed 88 decorated pianos around NYC for public display and use. Debuting in 2008, the artist’s musical project has been touring the world ever since. The decorated street pianos have been seen, so far, in eight cities around the world, with more to come.
What is awesome about this display is that all 88 pianos have been decorated differently by well known, and not so well known, visual artists. There are pink pianos, rainbow pianos, spatter painted pianos, abstract pianos, flower power pianos, and many more.
“A blank slate for everyone’s creativity” is what Jarram is calling his piano installments. Which is a very true statement. Each host city the project hits is given brand new pianos that are painted, and designed, by local students and artists, and then placed randomly around the city. After the instillation is shut down, the pianos are donated to schools and community centers so the music never stops.
People throughout NYC were skeptical about playing the pianos at first, but not for long. Soon enough sounds of Beethoven, Billy Joel, Bach, Elton John, Mozart, Alicia Keys, and many more pianists started to flow through the summer air through strange fingers. These sounds will probably never leave.