Street pianos as vehicle for self-promotion

Posted on: June 25, 2010

In Thursday’s (6/24) Wall Street Journal, John Jurgensen writes about some of the participants in a two-week arts project in New York City involving 60 decorated pianos in public spaces. “‘Play Me, I’m Yours,’ which appeared in eight cities before arriving here, will offer pianos to anyone who wants to play them through July 5. The installation, which began Monday, was spearheaded by the New York-based nonprofit arts group Sing for Hope, which navigated city bureaucracies, raised funds and accumulated donated pianos. Though the event is intended as an exploration of mass creativity and shared public space, another dynamic has emerged: Musicians are piggybacking on the project to promote themselves and their music. They’ve planned marathon performance routes around the city. They’ve worked their way into TV news footage and mustered their own video teams. And, in some cases, they’ve used the novelty of the pianos to rustle up a few bucks from onlookers. As they become part of the mass art project, these musicians are also tapping into the city’s rich history of street busking. On another level, however, they’re improvising with a tangible alternative to the online marketing on which most musicians have come to rely.”

Posted June 25, 2010