By John Lynds
With the deadline for local organizations to apply to host a Street Piano in East Boston set for Thursday, May 12, the organization that brought the city artist Luke Jerram’s Popular Art Installment Play Me, I’m Yours street piano program is looking for a neighborhood partner for fall 2016.
“The application deadline to host a piano is Thursday, May 12 and we are looking for organizations to host pianos in East Boston” said spokesperson for The Celebrity Series of Boston Tori Wenzel. “We are encouraging local organizations and local artists to get involved. The Celebrity Series of Boston is bringing Luke Jerram’s popular art installment Play, Me, I’m Yours back to Boston September 23-October 10, 2016. There will be sixty pianos, decorated by local artists, spread across every neighborhood in Boston and select Cambridge locations.”
Wenzel said Street Pianos Boston was first featured in the city in 2013 when more than 500,000 people engaged with these pianos, sharing music and song in a citywide festival.
Each piano features a simple invitation, “Play Me, I’m Yours”.
“In 2016, The Celebrity Series of Boston made a commitment that every Boston neighborhood will have at least one piano for the community to enjoy,” said Wenzel. “Organizations with connections to the community in arts, culture or other charitable areas are encouraged to apply to host a piano. Applications will be accepted through May 12 at streetpianosboston.org.”
Wenzel said before the pianos hit the street, each piano becomes a piece of visual art, created by local artists. The program is also seeking visual artists of all backgrounds, artistic abilities and mediums. Artist applications will be accepted through May 25 at streetpianosboston.org.
Host organizations must commit to acting as a “piano buddy”, which includes covering the piano in inclement weather, reporting any damages and locking the keyboard up every night during the two weeks of the festival. Ideally, all locations will be outdoors, visible and easily accessible to the public. Preference will be given to locations that highlight public spaces and are located in high pedestrian traffic locations.
This public art installation was created by UK artist Luke Jerram and has been touring internationally since 2008. More than 1,500 pianos have now been installed in 50 cities across the globe, from New York to London. The project has reached more than 10 million people worldwide, with each new city that commissions the work becoming part of a growing legacy.
In Boston, Play Me, I’m Yours is presented by the Celebrity Series of Boston, as part of Arts for All!– a community engagement initiative that reaches over 10,000 individuals annually through master classes with main stage artists in public schools and conservatories. The organization also offers hands-on, interactive workshops for youth led by a core group of Boston-area artists, free community concerts in Boston neighborhoods, free and discounted tickets to main stage performances and large-scale, public participatory performance projects such as Street Pianos Boston.
“Our Arts for All! program is a core part of our mission at the Celebrity Series, to ensure performing arts are a valued, lifelong, shared experience,” said Celebrity Series President and Executive Director Gary Dunning, . “Street Pianos Boston is a perfect fit for this program, bringing visual and performance art into the community. Street Pianos Boston proves art truly is everywhere and everyone can participate.”