Jackson, WY – An old piano that had been gathering dust in the Center for the Arts hallway has been given a new life, thanks to a collaboration between The Center and Jackson Hole Public Art.
It is now Jackson’s first-ever public piano and is adorned with a design by local artist Haley Badenhop. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held this Friday at 12 p.m. outside the entrance to the Center Theater.
Oona Doherty, The Center’s Creative Initiatives Director, regularly walked by the neglected piano. Last spring, she decided it was time to reclaim the piano, bring it back to life, and make it accessible to the public. JH Public Art agreed to co-sponsor the project, and a collaboration was born.
“JH Public Art is so happy to partner with The Center on Jackson Hole’s first public piano. People have been asking for a public piano, and, now, through this collaboration, they have one,” said Carrie Geraci, director of JH Public Art.
Street pianos are huge in Europe, and the concept is gaining popularity stateside with pianos popping up in major cities including Portland, Boston, Atlanta, New York City, and Boulder.
In May, The Center teamed up with Jackson Hole Public Art to facilitate a call for proposals that was sent to several hundred local artists. Jackson-based artist Haley Badenhop was selected based on her proposal to create a place-based, inspirational design. Haley is known for her colorful, large-scale murals and was intrigued by the opportunity to paint a piano having learned to play the piano herself at a young age.
“The inspiration for the piano was to incorporate playfulness with images from our natural surroundings,” Badenhop said. “As you circle the piano you see a fish leading towards a river, flowers below the mountains, continuing towards trees, and a bear climbing onto the other side. Many of the public pianos say ‘Play Me,’ but I decided to simply go with ‘Play’ as a push to PLAY the piano & PLAY outside.”
Following Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, the public piano will continue to live on The Center campus for all to enjoy and use.
“The public piano creates a neighborhood vibe on The Center campus. It is a welcoming presence, inviting participation in the arts. I look forward to seeing who sits down to play,” Doherty said.
The Center and JH Public Art are seeking Piano Stewards, volunteers that can check-in on the piano and help us ensure it continues to be well-cared-for. If you are interested in volunteering, send an email to Oona Doherty – [email protected].
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Center for the Arts
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