Loading...
Art

Who Put Random Pianos All Over L.A.?

Comments (0)

By

Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 2:45 PM

click to enlarge Diego, 10, plays the piano near LACMA
  • Diego, 10, plays the piano near LACMA

On a sunny but breezy Saturday, 10-year-old Diego Grijalva of Gabriella Charter School in Echo Park found himself at 5900 Wilshire Blvd., seated at a piano designed by local artist Evan Skrederstu. Diego, who has played on his school's piano, was intrigued by the street piano and was playing a simple tune.

The piano, strategically placed adjacent to a line of food trucks across from LACMA is one of about 30 currently ensconced all over Los Angeles as part of the international public art installation "Play Me, I'm Yours."

click to enlarge Street piano at 5900 Wilshire, designed by Evan Skrederstu
  • Street piano at 5900 Wilshire, designed by Evan Skrederstu
Founded by Luke Jerram in 2008, the pianos have brought spontaneous street music to cities all over the world, including London, Barcelona, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Austin and Cincinnati.

Launched on April 12 after more than a year of preparation, the pianos are all over the city, at locations including L.A. Live, UCLA, USC, the Santa Monica Pier and Union Station. The goal is simple: to bring people together by creating the opportunity for spontaneous music-playing. The pianos are available 24 hours a day for the next three weeks, and anyone is invited to play.

The program, sponsored by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, features pianos donated mostly by the Hollywood Piano Company. The uprights were decorated by local artists and community organizations, turning the pianos into works of art ranging from Chinatown's colorful dragon (perhaps a bit too on-the-nose?) to an evening skyline at Plaza de la Raza in Lincoln Heights. Each piano comes with a protective plastic cover in case of rain.

Once the program ends, the pianos move on to schools and community groups, or are auctioned off. While New York and other cities have had more pianos, Los Angeles' pianos have a wider gamut of community involvement, from local artists like Frank Cubillos to organizations such as the Braille Institute of America and Homeboy Industries.

On Saturday, 15-year-old Jordan came with his parents and younger brother from Orange County just to play the piano. After seeing the pianos on the news, Jordan put his four years of piano playing to good use. "It's pretty neat," says Jordan, after playing a recital-worthy mini-concert.

click to enlarge Jordan, 15, puts years of piano lessons to good use.
  • Jordan, 15, puts years of piano lessons to good use.

Isaiah, a 17-year-old senior at Summit High School in Fontana, had been to visit LACMA and was grabbing lunch at the trucks when he decided to tickle the ivories, despite claiming he didn't know how to play. A fan of street art, he was excited to see the painted pianos after taking in LACMA's surrealist exhibit "In Wonderland." "Music is sort of the same as surrealism," he said. "There are no ground rules to it. You can just do whatever you want to with it, but it resonates just as much."

Find a piano near you using the "Play Me, I'm Yours" map. And future Rachmaninoffs (or maybe just the next keyboard cat) are encouraged to upload their videos there as well.

Follow us on Twitter at @LAWeeklyArts and like us on Facebook.

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets

Slideshows

  • Lina in L.A. -- Tiki Oasis
    Pin-up girls, beatnik boys and tiki lovers from L.A. and beyond made a splash at San Diego's Crowne Plaza Hotel, which hosted the annual Tiki Oasis event, this year themed "Beat Tiki" with a groovy "60s beat" thrust. The wild weekender took over the grounds with colorful cocktails, non-stop pool and room parties, fashion shows, seminars, shopping and live entertainment including burlesque, bands and more.

    See also: Tiki Oasis, a Convention for Fans of Retro Tropical Kitsch
  • Lina in L.A. -- Swinghouse Studios' Farewell to Hollywood Soiree
    A rocking, raging night was had by all when Swinghouse Studios marked a big move Saturday night. The legendary Hollywood recording and rehearsal space, which has been home to big bands and wild bashes for two decades (first on Cahuenga Blvd. and then on Willoughby Ave. near Santa Monica Blvd.) will soon move to Atwater Village. Food trucks, drinks, and great live sets by Prima Donna, Dorothy, The Beta Machine and Alexa Melo highlighted the bittersweet revelry.
  • Beatlemania at the Flying Morgans' Mansion
    In honor of the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania the Flying Morgans had a Beatle prom this last Friday to celebrate Molly, Bonnie and Gary's Birthday with 400 of their closest friends. All photos by Star Foreman.