Monday, July 23, 2012

Pianos under the Sky...

During my son, George's visit we took a ride few days ago to Salem's Minto Island State Park. We were very surprised to see that a jazzy piano was sitting on the road side, at the edge of a huge dog park. The puzzle was soon solved by this information from the net:

‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ was first commissioned by Fierce Earth of Birmingham, UK, in 2008. With 15 pianos distributed across the city over three weeks it was estimated that over 140,000 people across Birmingham played with or listened to music from the pianos. Since this time ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ has now reached over five million people worldwide. Each new city that commissions the work becomes part of this growing international legacy.

Play Me, I’m Yours is an artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram and has been touring internationally since 2008. Located in public parks, streets and squares, the pianos are available for any member of the public to play and enjoy.

News of the project spread internationally and since then, the artwork has continued to tour the world, successfully acting as a high profile launch event for numerous major international festivals, including the Pan Am Games, 2010 European Capital of Culture, San Jose Biennal, Sydney Festival, City of London Festival and Barcelona’s Maria Canals International Music Competition.

Disrupting people’s negotiation of their city, the pianos are aimed to provoke people into engaging, activating and claiming ownership of their urban landscape.

The pianos have also levered many hidden musicians from out of the woodwork. It has become apparent that there are hundreds of pianists out there who don’t have access to a piano to play. ‘Play Me I’m Yours’ provides access to musical instruments and provides musicians an opportunity to share their creativity by performing in public.

In cities like London, hundreds of perfectly good working second hand pianos get thrown away each year. Jerram transports dozens of these pianos annually to countries where the instrument is rare and more valued, for the public to enjoy them. After being presented as an installation artwork the pianos are then commonly donated to schools and community groups within the area.