NYC Extends Open Invitation to Two-Week Piano Party

New York City is placing pianos in 60 parks and other public spaces throughout the city and inviting anyone to decorate and play them.

The two-week project, dubbed “Play Me, I’m Yours,” kicks off June 21 with a one-day music festival to feature 1,000 free performances citywide. Artists, volunteers and any member of the public may decorate the street pianos and will be encouraged to play them, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office said in a news release.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a world-class virtuoso like Beethoven or a guy who took one year of lessons like Bloomberg, just sit down and let your fingers do the talking,” the mayor said in a statement prepared for a news conference today at Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island City, across the East River from Manhattan in the borough of Queens, where a piano will be installed.

It’s the latest public art display conjured up by the administration of Bloomberg, who in 2005 drew millions to a Central Park transformed by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude into a maze of 7,500 saffron-colored banners called “The Gates.” In 2008 he helped Olafur Eliasson create “New York City Waterfalls,” four cascades as high as 120 feet (37 meters) that adorned and illuminated New York harbor.

The pianos will be cared for by “piano buddies,” volunteers from community organizations, while they are installed in public plazas and parks. At the end of the project, the pianos will be donated to local schools and hospitals selected by Sing for Hope, a group of 600 classical musicians, photographers, Broadway performers and other artists who donate time to benefit schools, hospitals and communities.

The mayor was to be joined at the news conference by Luke Jerram, a U.K.-based artist who conceived of the public piano installation, and Deputy Mayor Patricia Harris.

The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

(Corrects penultimate paragraph of story published June 17 to say U.K.-based.)
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