By John Lynds
Last week the Celebrity Series of Boston delivered East Boston’s three street pianos as part of artist Luke Jerram’s popular art installment, Play Me I’m Yours Street Pianos Boston.
After local artists J. Felipe Aguirre, a.k.a. Phil Hoa, Jeannette Staley and Sara Begin decorated Street Pianos, the three pianos were dropped off at their neighborhood locations. The pianos in Eastie are being sponsored by the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association, the East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library and the Veronica Robles Cultural Center. One has been placed at Lewis Mall near the Maverick MBTA station and weekly Farmers Market, another at the East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library on Bremen Street and the third is at the Veronica Robles Cultural Center on McClellan Highway.
“The Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association is thrilled to be the sponsor of a piano at Lewis Mall as part of the Celebrity Series of Boston: Street Pianos 2016 Festival,” said JPNA in a statement. “Zumix will be partnering with us to care for the piano and offer programming. It will be open to the public and we encourage everyone to stop by to listen and play!”
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.
In Eastie, 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. Organizations with connections to the community in arts, culture or other charitable areas were encouraged to apply to host a piano.
Eastie’s sponsors 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.
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. 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.