Pianos for the people: Artists decorate pianos for music charity

Artists decorated 50 pianos for the Sing for Hope music charity, which held a kickoff event on June 4 at 28 Liberty Street, where pianists young and old were invited to tickle the ivories.
Photo by Milo Hess


A plethora of pianists gathered for a unique performance of Bach’s “Minuet in G” at Chase Plaza in Lower Manhattan on June 4, where each musician played one of 50 brightly decorated pianos before the instruments were taken away and scattered throughout the city for public use.

Photo by Milo Hess
Pianist Nadejda Vlaeva joined 50 others for a rendition of Bach’s “Minuet in G” at the June 4 kickoff event for Sign for Hope at 28 Liberty Street.

“It’s really fun to do it with so many pianos,” said pianist Nadejda Vlaeva. “We don’t usually get to play in an orchestra like that.”

Since its founding in 2006, Sing for Hope has harnessed the talents of local, and internationally known painters to transform dozens of pianos a year into unique works of art, and then dispersed the instruments throughout the city for use by musically talented — and not so talented — New Yorkers, according to one of the group’s founders.

“We founded Sing for Hope with one goal: making the arts accessible to everyone in every community. The arts enable neighborhoods to thrive by positively impacting those who live there and enriching the community as a whole,” said Monica Yunus, who co-founded Sing for Hope alongside Comille Zamora.

And in a special partnership this year, Sing for Hope teamed up with car manufacturer MINI USA, which supplied the charity with a souped-up MINI Countryman — outfitted with a foldout keyboard and sound system — which will roam the city bringing music to the masses, according to one big shot with the car company.

“MINI is pleased to partner with Sing for Hope in its important mission, bringing even more music, more art, more spontaneous moments of community to every corner of NYC with our unique mobile MINI Piano,” said Lee Nadler, Regional Marketing Manager, for MINI USA.

After the commencement bash for this year’s program at 28 Liberty St., most of the instruments were sent outside the borders of Lower Manhattan, but four pianos remain at Chase Plaza, while another was moved to the Battery Park City Esplanade near South End Avenue and Third Place.

The pianos will remain available to the public until June 24, after which the instruments will find permanent homes in city schools through a partnership with the Department of Education.

Photo by Milo Hess
The pianos’ designs were as creative as the music you could make with them.

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