A vous de jouer

I shared a video clip on FB a couple of days ago, I’ll post the link at the end of this entry.

It was about a homeless artist in Edmonton, Canada, who taught himself to play the piano and I was wondering where did he find a piano on the streets to do that.

This is how I found out that: “There’s a public piano on the sidewalk in downtown Fargo (North Dakota . It’s in front of an art gallery and is free for anyone to play. (It’s covered during rain and taken indoors for winter, of course.) The plan is to acquire and “sprinkle” more of them around downtown. It’s very popular.”

I was very glad but my happiness was both short-lived and and quickly born again: “The first piano placed on the corner of First Ave. and Broadway in Fargo was vandalized within 10 days. When it comes to public art, our biggest challenge lies in defining the type of behavior our community will tolerate. We must hold each other accountable for our actions. I am working with the local police and with business owners to create ways to reduce the potential for future vandalism.”  
What’s going on there is way bigger than a lonely enthusiast sharing his piano with the passersby. It’s an entire project and the guys aren’t going to give up so easily.

Even more important is that the project is supported by the community: the pianos are donated by the general public and expenses are covered by private sponsors (Kickstarter “helped” a lot) while the big heart behind all this is Susanne Williams.

On this side of the Atlantic, or more specifically in Paris, pianos have found another way to get in touch with the general public. They have somehow convinced the managers of most rail-stations to have one installed near the platforms used by the commuters, as can be seen in the picture that opens my post. Click on it if you want to find out more.

While searching the internet to find out more about ‘street pianos’ I discovered Luke Jerram, the artist who in 2008 had the idea to launch “Play me, I’m yours” : ”

‘The idea for Play Me, I’m Yours came from visiting my local launderette. I saw the same people there each weekend and yet no one talked to one another. I suddenly realised that within a city, there must be hundreds of these invisible communities, regularly spending time with one another in silence. Placing a piano into the space was my solution to this problem, acting as a catalyst for conversation and changing the dynamics of a space.’
Luke Jerram, International artist and creator of ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’

Now I wonder if Luke Jerram and Ryan know about each other.
Ryan playing the piano

Thanks Maria Flieth and Paul Wehage for providing me the initial information for this post.

Me and my limited vision. I consider myself to be a person who is relatively well connected to the world at large yet I could never conceive of somebody not only dreaming about but actually bringing pianos out on the boardwalk for everyone to play.
Maybe it is high time for the rest of us to unleash their dreams.
And to start working on them!

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