Why Public Pianos?
A public piano changes the dynamic of the environment it's in. People stop and smile. They stop to play it, or they stop to listen. They stop to talk -- to STRANGERS. They speak with a light in their eye and a smile in their heart. People linger, and encourage, and applaud. Someone once called it a "smile generator." When there's a public piano in a neighborhood, everyone knows about it, and most can tell you a story about how it brought them joy.
Sometimes it's the first opportunity a child has ever had to touch real musical instrument. We've talked to parents who say their child asks to go to the playground at Chastain Park specifically to play our piano. We've hear countless of stories about how people have started to learn to play the piano because of their encounters with our public pianos. Sometimes it gives a person who hasn't had access to a piano for many years, a chance to dust off their skills and re-aquaint themselves with a long lost love. Or it gives a current pianist the opportunity to bring their practice out of a lonely corner of their home into the light of day and a welcoming community. Then there's that impromptu free public performance by -- you never know who! We've heard that members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra play our piano that's at the Woodruff Arts Center. A music video was made at one of our pianos because the artist didn't have a piano of his own.
The “Rethink Urban” website published a piece by Steve Woolrich who wrote,
“As a crime prevention specialist, I am very keen on street pianos because they are just the sort of positive influence that many streets need. When people come together in an upbeat and open way they realize that they have much in common.
We also learn that the best streets in our cities are the one where people care about what goes on there -- where people take a shared ownership and responsibility. Street pianos help create that vibe.”
Before the age of electronics the household acoustic piano was the center of activity in a home, but is now becoming more and more a rarity. It’s our belief that public pianos will continue to be treasured for what they are, and for how they transform our neighborhoods.
Cities around the world are now regularly installing temporary public pianos because the positive influence is undeniable. It’s a “smile generator”. But unlike those temporary installations, our goal is to make this a permanent experience.
Public pianos have become quite a phenomenon. We're keeping a working list of other public piano projects, both permanent and temporary. This is the list.