Pianos in the Parks encourage park discovery through music

Piano from the 2014 Pianos in the Parks program. Photo provided by Laird Norton Wealth Management.

It’s music to our ears: the pianos are back. After a successful first campaign, Pianos in the Parks will be returning for a second season on July 16. The month-long program will add to additional pianos to the roster this year, totaling 22 pianos in Puget Sound-area locations. Seattle Parks and Recreation will host 11 pianos in public parks.

The program, led by Laird Norton Wealth Management, is designed to encourage the discovery of parks through music and art by placing one-of-a-kind, artist-designed upright and grand pianos in parks and public spaces across King County including Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island and Sea-Tac, for free public use and music exploration.

All 22 previously owned pianos are procured, repaired, tuned, transported and maintained by Classic Pianos; and are painted by student, alumni and faculty artists of Gage Academy of Art.

Piano from the 2014 Pianos in the Parks program. Photo provided by Laird Norton Wealth Management.

The specific parks and public spaces which will host the pianos through Aug. 16 will be announced at a public kick-off celebration from noon to 1:30pm on Thursday, July 16 at Lake Union Park (860 Terry Avenue North) near the park’s model boat pond in downtown Seattle. At the celebration, local artists who painted the pianos will unveil their works of art – followed by a musical performance in which all 22 instruments will be played by local pianists. Also participating in the event are a number of musicians, city and county officials, and program partners. Following the unveiling, the public will have an opportunity to view all 22 pianos, meet the artists and be treated to additional musical performances.

“We’re excited to participate in the Pianos in the Parks program for a second year,” Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jesús Aguirre said. “We strive for all residents, regardless of income, neighborhood or background, to have access to free recreational activities in our parks, and this is a unique opportunity for different communities to come together and unite around a common appreciation for music and fresh air.”

Piano from the 2014 Pianos in the Parks program. Photo provided by Laird Norton Wealth Management.

Laird Norton Wealth Management underwrites and manages the program with generous community support from founding partners Classic Pianos, Gage Academy of Art, KEXP 90.3 FM, Seattle Symphony, PlayNetwork, Seattle City of Music, Seattle Parks and Recreation and King County Parks; as well as new partners Bellevue Parks and Recreation, Kirkland Parks and Community Services and Mercer Island Parks and Recreation, Classical KING FM, City of Bellevue Arts Program, Mercer Island Center for Arts and Seattle Center. The program also receives support from KCTS 9 and Port of Seattle.

The pianos will welcome park-goers in their respective locations thru Aug. 16. During this time, people of all skill levels and musical persuasions are urged to enter a Pianos in the Parks video contest for a chance to perform as part of the Seattle Center’s Concerts at the Mural presented by KEXP 90.3 FM on Friday, Aug. 21. Entrants simply need to upload a video of their performance using one of the participating pianos to the Pianos in the Parks website, www.pianosintheparks.com beginning July 16.

For more information on Pianos in the Parks, visit www.pianosintheparks.com.