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Indy public art project a treat for eyes, ears

Updated: August 1, 2013 11:14PM



INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Your eyes aren’t deceiving you: Fancily decorated pianos are sprouting up all over Downtown today.

A silver metallic piano will be planted outside The Children’s Museum. Another one covered with flowers created from colored duct tape will take root outside the Central Library. And yet another piano covered with faces of famous Indianapolis jazz musicians will be garnering attention at Fountain Square Plaza.

Twenty pianos. Twenty artists. Twenty public places.

It’s art for the eyes, as well as the ears.

It’s all part of GO Ahead & Play, a new student-driven public art project that’s putting the artistically transformed pianos in public places from Aug. 1-18 to let the people create music while supporting a good cause.

GO Ahead & Play is a project of GO: Give Back, a program of the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana that teaches philanthropy to students in Grades 1-12.

The students solicited donated pianos and then found artists willing to help them transform the pianos into works of art, The Indianapolis Star reported. Women’s Fund staff and parents helped guide the project, modeled after the Sing for Hope organization, which has done similar piano art projects in New York City.

“We’re putting them around Indianapolis for the public to play and bring music to the streets,” said Madeline “Maddie” Hudson, 15, Indianapolis, a sophomore at Herron High School. She helped create the Indianapolis Star-sponsored, “Go Wild for Tape!” piano, decorated with about 100 flowers hand made from duct tape.

The pianos, which have been weatherproofed, will be outdoors, except for the one at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. “The Back Home Again” Indiana-themed piano, painted by Sheryl Smith Hays, will be on display inside the Home & Family Arts building during the State Fair from Aug. 2-18.

Residents, neighborhoods, businesses and schools donated the pianos, which were decorated by students, artists, local organizations, and even electric violinist Cathy Morris. Businesses donated piano warehouse space, custom piano benches, piano covers, piano tuning and piano moving services.

The project not only provides a way to engage the public with music — anyone is invited to just walk up and play — but also brings awareness to the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, a local organization that supports women and children.

Each day, during the project’s run, Piano Friends involved with the GO Ahead & Play project also will bring attention to each of the pianos in their various locations. They may put on mini concerts, play favorite songs, bring friends who play, or have a picnic around the piano.

“We will be doing something fun to entice people to stop and play with us,” said Maryjane Behforouz, who is assisting with the project.

Her daughters, Kayla, 14, and Stella, 11, will perform a mini concert from 1 to 2 p.m. Aug. 7 at a piano at the Monon Trail Shelter, just north of 65th Street. Artist Vandra Pentecost and Broad Ripple Art Fair participants painted the brightly-colored piano, which is themed “Art Rocks.”

She said her daughters love the arts and music, and they were thrilled when the art piano project was announced.

“This will be a fun and meaningful way to see the result of the efforts of many people who have invested hours in pulling this (project) together for the city of Indianapolis,” Behforouz said.

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com



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