Mar 162016
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Street Pianos in Mesa

Playable pianos transformed into works of art on the streets of downtown Mesa, AZ,
part of the internationally touring PLAY ME, I’M YOURS exhibition

Play Me, I’m Yours, an artwork  exhibition placing decorated, playable pianos in public places in cities across the world, came to Mesa, Arizona March 1, 2016 and I wandered Mesa’s downtown streets looking for pianos.

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. It was created by artist Luke Jerram. Since then, more than 1,500 pianos have been installed in 50 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

Brochures were available at each piano containing information on the exhibit and the locations of the pianos. The exhibit runs until April 9, 2016. 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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  38 Responses to “Street Pianos In Mesa”

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

    • 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.

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

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

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

  4. 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!

    • 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    • 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

    • 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.

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

    • 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

    • 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

    • 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.)

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    • 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.

  16. 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.

    • 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

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

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