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Six Street Pianos Coming To Raleigh For Artsplosure

A child playing a street piano in New York.
Ed Yourdon via Flickr, Creative Commons

All the world’s a stage. Or, at least Downtown Raleigh will be for the next two weeks, as six pianos have been placed there outdoors for anyone to play.  The decorated instruments are set up in public locations around the city as a part of Artsplosure, Raleigh’s annual visual and performing arts festival, and passersby of any skill level are encouraged to give them a go.

The six pianos being used for the project were originally headed for the garbage dump, but a group of special needs artists commissioned by Artsplosure restored them and gave them artistic makeovers. Now, they're covered in stars, flowers, photos, and a range of colors, ready to be played upon. Terri Dollar, program director for Artsplosure, says that the goal is bringing people together. She hopes that people will stop to watch strangers play, even bring other instruments to accompany the pianos.

One of the decorated pianos being used for Artsplosure's Raleigh Street Piano Project.
Credit Terri Dollar, Artsplosure
One of the decorated pianos being used for Artsplosure's Raleigh Street Piano Project.

"In other cities, street piano projects have encouraged all sorts of impromptu music jams," she says. "Someone might say, 'hey, grab your fiddle and meet me at the piano later,' and that's part of the fun."

While the instruments will be out in the open from May 15-31, they will have tarps attached to them with  signs that ask, "If it rains, please cover me." At certain times of day, Artsplosure has asked piano teachers and their students to perform simultaneously across the city. Information about these events will be available on the Artsplosure Facebook page.

The six locations are:

  • In the courtyard at Marbles Kids Museum at 201 E. Hargett St
  • Moore Square on the north end of the park
  • City Plaza on Charter Square in the 500 block of Fayetteville Street
  • Lichtin Plaza near South Street in front of the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
  • City Market across from Big Ed’s restaurant, outside Cobblestone Hall
  • The Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex at 222 W. Hargett St., under the outdoor rotunda in front of the building

View Artsplosure's Raleigh Piano Street Project in a larger map

Laura moved from Chattanooga to Chapel Hill in 2013 to join WUNC as a web producer. She graduated from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in the spring of 2012 and has created radio and multimedia stories for a variety of outlets, including Marketplace, Prairie Public, and Maine Public Broadcasting. When she's not out hunting stories, you can usually find her playing the fiddle.
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