This week, British artist Luke Jerram debuted the art exhibit “Play Me, I’m Yours” in New York City. Sponsored by the nonprofit organization Sing for Hope, the general public has the opportunity to experiment with 60 pianos placed all around the city. The project has been touring the world since its 2008 debut in the UK. Since then, street pianos have been placed in eight cities worldwide including Barcelona, Sydney, and São Paulo. According to an article on Newsweek:
Each host city gets brand-new pianos that are painted by local students and artists, and after the installation shuts down, the pianos are donated to schools and community centers. Each instrument, then, is visually unique, turning pianos into public sculptures.
Jerram states on his website that:
“Play Me, I’m Yours” provides an interconnected resource, a blank canvas, for the public to express themselves and share their creativity. Questioning the ownership and roles of public space, “Play Me I’m Yours” is a provocation, inviting the public to engage with, activate, and take ownership of their urban environment.
Jerram encourages people to document their pianistic experiences through photographs, comments, and videos on http://www.streetpianos.com/. A particularly moving story from Brazil was posted on the website:
Dear Mr. Jerram,
… in the train station, I came across a girl sitting at a piano with her mother in tears. It turns out she had worked as a cleaner for four years to send her daughter to piano lessons on the other side of town. They couldn’t afford to own a real piano and this was the first time the mother had ever heard her daughter play. Their story made me cry as well.
The pianos will stay in New York until July 5. Pianos will also be placed in Cincinnati, San Jose, and Grand Rapids later this year.
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