This should make you smile. For two weeks, New Yorkers will get a note-worthy dose of music, art and style.
Starting June 18, pianos will be sprouting up in the city’s parks faster than summer dandelions. That’s because nonprofit organization Sing for Hope — which debuted the pop-up project last year with installation artist Luke Jerram — will place them throughout the five boroughs for anyone to play. Piano neophytes needn’t worry because, while musical talent isn’t necessary, an enthusiasm for the arts is encouraged.
The concept of the ‘street piano’ spread quickly from its originating city of Sheffield, England to places like Sydney, São Paulo, and Barcelona. But Sing for Hope claims to host the largest installation of its kind throughout the world, expecting to reach more than two million New Yorkers and tourists this year. Even better, all 88 of the donated pianos (there are 28 baby grand and 60 upright pianos, and ode to the 88 keys on the piano) were painted by Sing For Hope volunteer artists. If you’re lucky, you might catch an impromptu performance, which (if this year is anywhere as successful as last year) will inspire thousands of photo and video uploads to the projects’s website.
Opera singers Camille Zamora and Monica Yunus co-founded Sing for Hope with the goal of making the arts accessible to all New Yorkers. Their programs highlight art education for youth, and healing arts programs in hospitals. Sing for Hope’s community outreach programs have raised more than $4 million for The Children’s Aid Society, Habitat For Humanity, the United Nations, and dozens of others.
The project has already attracted high-profile support from actors Adrien Grenier, Tituss Burgess, Lauren Ambrose, and BD Wong (Wong painted one of the pianos). Designer and television personality Isaac Mizrahi painted the pink glitter “Hello Miss Piano” that will sit in Manhattan’s Greeley Square. Designer Kate Spade contributed a wicker-and-floral-themed piano; while Diane Von Furstenburg painted the playful message, “love is life,” on the piano she designed. Artist Agata Oleksiak, who simply goes by Olek, dressed an entire piano in one of her signature crocheted designs for display in Brooklyn’s DUMBO archway.
The public can freely access the pop-up pianos (and make 30-minute reservations on a limited basis) until July 2. After the project ends, the pianos will be donated to local schools, hospitals, and community organizations.