Pianos In The Street

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In an interactive public art project, ten functional, playable full-sized pianos will sit unattended in outdoor Salem-Keizer locations for two weeks this summer. Salem Chamber Orchestra (SCO) is lead sponsor of the innovative effort, which it calls Play Me, I’m Yours. It hopes the public will engage with the pianos and play them.

“Questioning the ownership and rules of public space,” says SCO, “Play Me, I’m Yours” invites the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment. Crossing boundaries of age, class and culture, Play Me, I’m Yours democratizes the arts and encourages the exploration of creativity by everyone.”

SCO is working with British artist Luke Jerram, who has presented the project worldwide. Salem is the first city in the Pacific Northwest to try it.

SCO is sourcing the pianos from places like Craigslist and its subscriber base and has arranged for them to be decorated by ten different Salem-based nonprofits. The nonprofits include such diverse groups as A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, Culture Shock Community Project and the Willamette Humane Society. Each will decorate a single piano, and – if the piano survives the two weeks intact – will receive its instrument/art piece back when the exhibit has ended.

The pianos will be outside from July 13 – 29th at:
Keizer City Hall
Kroc Community Center
Pedestrian bridge crossing the Willamette River
Downtown, corner of Chemeketa and Liberty Streets
Salem Conference Center
Bush Park
Minto Brown Park, dog park area
Capitol Building
Lancaster Mall
Brian Johnston City Park
VFW Building

Although they will be outfitted with a plastic cover in case of rain, the pianos are expected to evolve naturally over time.

Mayor Anna Peterson has endorsed Play Me, I’m Yours, citing Salem’s goal “to be a leader in projects to improve the quality of our urban environment.”

More information, including a map of the locations involved and sponsorship opportunities, is available on the Salem Chamber Orchestra’s site.

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