Street Pianos In Mesa

March 16, 2016
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Street Pianos in Mesa

The 2016 exhibition in Mesa, Arizona was just one example of the PLAY ME, I’M YOURS exhibition, which brings playable pianos onto city streets across the world 

(Last updated June 2019)

Play Me, I’m Yours is an artwork  exhibition by British artist Luke Jerram that places decorated, playable pianos in public places in cities across the world. I had an opportunity to see one of its exhibitions when it came to Mesa, Arizona in 2016. 

Street Pianos in Mesa - Knowledge is Key

Street Pianos in Mesa

Play Me, I’m Yours was first commissioned in Birmingham, UK in 2008, where 15 pianos were located across the city for three weeks. Since then, more than 1,900 pianos have been installed in over 60 cities across the globe, with more planned and in discussion. The pianos are designed to provoke people to engage with their urban landscape and interconnect, and maybe coax a hidden musician or two out of the woodwork.

Glitzy street piano in Mesa

Glitz in front of Mesa Arts Center


Street Pianos in Mesa

This piano looks ready to take off


Street Pianos In Mesa

Unfortunately my lapse in practising meant all I could play were scales


Street piano in Mesa engages young musician

But I enjoyed listening to this talented young musician

Street Pianos in Mesa

In Mesa, artists, working with local community groups, transformed 24 playable pianos into works of art, 16 of which were located in downtown Mesa. Downtown Mesa has no skyscrapers and few multi-story buildings. With wide streets, broad sidewalks, and lack of hustle-bustle, it was an easy area to walk through and discover the pianos. Seven other pianos were located in other parts of Mesa, including one at Mesa-Gateway airport. The last piano was a “rogue” piano and was moved regularly, with people encouraged to follow @rougepianomesa on Twitter to see where it showed up next.

Mesa Street Pianos rogue piano

I found the rogue piano complete with guitar busker beside it


Mesa Street Piano in front of Ideas Museum

In front of Ideas Museum

 For information on other current and upcoming locations for street pianos see Play Me, I’m Yours.

Street Pianos in Mesa

Street Pianos in Mesa

Play Me, I'm Yours

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The PLAY ME, I'M YOURS exhibition  brings playable pianos onto city streets across the world. See some examples for an exhibition in Mesa, Arizona #art #StreetPianos

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  • Reply
    Teri
    March 16, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    We’re going to try and take this in when we get to Mesa.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 17, 2016 at 11:08 am

      Teri, it would be nice if I had been able to be there with you guys and hear Warren play on some of the pianos.

  • Reply
    jacquiegum
    March 16, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    I read about a similar exhibition in Seattle…love this idea so much. I hope Street Pianos continue to expand.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 17, 2016 at 11:09 am

      Jacquie, I love the piano and I too would like to see this continue to expand.

  • Reply
    Anita and Richard @ No Particular Place To Go
    March 18, 2016 at 2:32 am

    What an awesome idea. It sounds like you had a great time on a quest to find all the pianos! Anita

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 18, 2016 at 9:47 am

      Anita, it was fun to walk and discover the pianos. I didn’t make it to all the piano locations across town though.

  • Reply
    Doreen Pendgracs
    March 20, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    What an absolutely neat idea, Donna. Thx so much for telling us (and showing us) all about the Street Pianos of Mesa. Just one more reason that I have to visit Mesa soon!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 21, 2016 at 9:50 am

      Doreen, the street pianos will only be around for a few more weeks (I don’t know what happens to them after that), but there are other reasons to visit the greater Phoenix area. And the street pianos may turn up in another city you visit.

  • Reply
    Arleen
    March 20, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    It is not only a great idea but it engages people not only to enjoy the art which is amazing but give the piano a try. There are many of us that are frustrated musicians.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 21, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Arleen, it is nice to be able to engage with art in such a fun way.

  • Reply
    Erica
    March 20, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    What a fun and entertaining exhibit! I love that all the pianos have their own unique design. Back when I lived in NYC, they had something kind of like this, but with cow sculptures. There were random cows all over the city, each painted in their own unique way. I never quite understood why cows, but it was still a lot of fun.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 21, 2016 at 11:08 am

      Erica, I was in San Antoine years ago when they had brightly painted cows throughout the city. It was such fun to find them and take our photos with them.

  • Reply
    Phoenicia
    March 21, 2016 at 2:17 am

    What a great idea – bringing out the inner musician in people! I like the designs too which instantly attract the attention of passers by.

    A piano was placed at a London landmark and commuters stopped to play. My friend used her phone to record one man in particular who could have given Mozart a run for his money!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 21, 2016 at 11:09 am

      Phoenicia, it’s great to stumble across a talented musician like that, isn’t it?

  • Reply
    lenie5860
    March 21, 2016 at 4:33 am

    My goodness Donna, you do lead the most interesting life. I’ve never heard of Street Pianos but like the idea and the results are amazing as you show in the photos. The ‘rogue’ piano idea would certainly keep people involved. Who knows, this really could bring out some hidden talent, What fun you have.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 21, 2016 at 11:11 am

      Lenie, I didn’t know about the rogue piano until after I returned home and read the pamphlet more closely. When I went online to learn more I realized I’d found the rogue piano. It is a fun concept.

  • Reply
    Catarina Alexon
    March 21, 2016 at 10:32 am

    What a wonderful idea, Donna. More cities should have street pianos.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 21, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Catarina, I have a particular fondness for pianos, but I think any street art that encourages people to engage with their urban environment and maybe interact with each other is a good thing.

  • Reply
    Rose Mary Griffith
    March 21, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    How utterly wonderful! I love playable art–double creativity. I’m sharing this with Facebook friends who live in the Phoenix area…wonder if they know about it. Marvy post and wonderful pictures!

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 21, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      Thanks Rose Mary. Double creativity for sure.

  • Reply
    Susan Cooper/findingourwaynow.com
    March 21, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Pretty cool. Reminds me of the colorful traveling Cow Parade of painted cows that was in Chicago a while back. Except this is even cooler because people can sit down and play a piano! 🙂 wonder about the rain though …Not that that’d be a huge problem there.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 21, 2016 at 8:37 pm

      Susan, rain might be a problem in some cities but not here. The exhibition started March 1 and the last rainfall was sometime in February (and that was small). That painted cow exhibition made it to quite a few cities I think. I saw one in San Antoine years ago.

  • Reply
    Ken Dowell
    March 21, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    I love this. I came across street pianos in Denver on the 16th Street mall a few years ago. One of the most memorable things about it is I encountered several down-on-their-luck sorts of folks who were brilliant piano players.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 21, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      Ken, that does sound like a memorable experience.

  • Reply
    Ramona McKean
    March 21, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Your blog has brought a smile to my face! Really lovely, especially all your photos. We have a few street pianos in my city of Victoria. In the summertime, especially, they are such a delight! One is beside the ocean in an area called Oak Bay. “Play Me I’m Yours” type pianos are a wonderful way to bring awareness to the role music can play in our natural and urban environments. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 21, 2016 at 10:47 pm

      Ramona, I will be visiting Victoria again towards the end of April to see my sister. I’ll have to look for the pianos. (Oak Bay is a lovely area – I like the idea of a piano beside the ocean.)

  • Reply
    heraldmarty
    March 22, 2016 at 9:38 am

    These are wonderful Donna! I would love to see them, sadly not realistic from where I live but I really appreciate the lovely photos you’ve shared.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 23, 2016 at 11:41 am

      Marquita, I’m glad you enjoyed the photographs.

  • Reply
    W.A. Rusho
    March 24, 2016 at 9:35 am

    I live near Albany, NY, several years ago they did the same thing. It was nice to see them, even though I will admit not many people sat down to play them.
    Every spring and summer they put out something different.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 24, 2016 at 11:08 am

      William, I only saw one person sit down and play the afternoon I went looking for the pianos. I was in the area on a Friday evening a week later for another purpose and noticed the pianos being used several times.

  • Reply
    Sabrina Quairoli
    March 26, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Wow, that’s really cool. I never heard of this type of exhibit before. We used to have a piano and I would have loved to decorate it like this before we got rid of it, Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 27, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Sabrina, I’m not sure what I would do to decorate a piano if I was to do that, but it’s fun to start thinking about it.

  • Reply
    Jeri Walker (@JeriWB)
    March 26, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    I love this idea. Music is so infectious and instantly lightens the mood of someone having a bad day. A friend of mine plays guitar and it’s always a treat when he gets it out to play at gatherings.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 27, 2016 at 9:15 am

      Jeri, you’re so right about music lightening the mood.

  • Reply
    Andy
    March 26, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Better scales than “Chopsticks”! I am also a lapsed pianist, and can sympathize. Just out of curiosity, was the piano you played a well-known model (e.g., Wurlitzer, Yamaha), do you remember? Was it in good shape, and in tune?

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 27, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Andy, I didn’t look to see what brands the pianos were, but they were reasonably in tune.

  • Reply
    Jason @ TheButlerJournal.com
    March 27, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    That is a unique exhibit, I’ve never seen anything like it.

    • Reply
      Donna Janke
      March 28, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Jason, it was a little different and fun.

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