By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
People passing under the Manhattan Bridge archway, in Brooklyn Bridge Park, at Grand Army Plaza, in Coney Island and in about a dozen more locations in Brooklyn may have noticed a colorfully-adorned outdoor piano near them and asked, “What is that keyboard doing here?”
The installation of 88 artist-designed pianos (one for each key on a piano) throughout parks and public spaces in the city is part of the Sing for Hope organization’s outdoor piano project.
The pianos were installed on Saturday. If you’re interested in playing one of them, that’s the whole point, and in some areas, they will be also used by bands or performers for outdoor concerts. However, don’t dally, because the pianos will only be there until June 16.
Sing for Hope, introducing the outdoor pianos, originally partnered with another organization, “Play Me, I’m Yours,” in 2010. It repeated the outdoor piano installation project in 2011. Sing for Hope concentrated on other projects last year, but now the Sing for Hope Pianos have returned to city streets.
There are more than 20 Brooklyn locations this year. They include McCarren Park in Greenpoint, the aforementioned DUMBO archway, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Columbus Park (near Borough Hall), the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Fort Greene Park, near the BQE in Clinton Hill, the Old Stone House in Park Slope, at Grand Army Plaza, at the Prospect Park Carousel, in Sunset Park, in Owl’s Head Park, at Shore Road Park in Bay Ridge, in Bensonhurst Park, on the Coney Island Boardwalk, on the edge of Marine Park, at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum, at George Walker Park in East New York, in Brower Park in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and at Irving Square Park and Maria Hernandez Park (both in Bushwick),
Visual artists from Sing for Hope’s roster of over 1,000 Volunteer Artists and local community members were selected through an open application process and donate their time and talent to create this beautiful gift to our city: 88 unique and interactive piano artworks.
Once on the streets, neighborhood associations and community organizations serve as “piano buddies” and supervise each piano throughout the duration of the project, making sure they are protected from inclement weather.
After their public “residency,” the pianos are donated to under-served local schools, healthcare facilities, and community organizations, where Sing for Hope artists continue to bring the pianos to life year-round through classes, performances, and workshops.
The Sing for Hope Pianos project is sponsored by Chobani, which makes an increasingly popular line of Greek-style yogurts.
Sing for Hope was founded in 2006 by Camille Zamora and Monica Yunus, internationally acclaimed sopranos who met as students at the Juilliard School of Music. Camille and Monica share a belief in the power of arts volunteerism to transform communities in need.