Good Intentions (detail)

Street Pianos

Mesa, Arizona: 2016

Touring internationally since 2008, Play Me, I’m Yours is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram. More than 1400 pianos have now been installed in 49 cities across the globe, from Paris to Lima, bearing the simple invitation Play Me, I’m Yours. The project has already reached more than eight million people worldwide.

street-piano3

Street Piano designed by Sue Norton-Scott, constructed by the residents at Oakwood Creative Care.

Mesa Arts Center presented Play Me, I’m Yours from February 27 until April 9, 2016, as part of the celebrations of a major milestone: 10 years at their beautiful location in Downtown Mesa, AZ. When the project launched, more than 20 playable and artistically enhanced pianos were featured, primarily in Downtown Mesa along Main Street, near Mesa museums and libraries, on Mesa Arts Center’s campus and at numerous other accessible and open-to-the-public locations, including several satellite locations throughout the city.

The best part of painting the piano was working with the people at the community group I was matched with: Oakwood Creative Care. It is a day program for adults with cognitive or physical challenges such as Alzheimers, stroke, or Parkinson’s disease.

The art therapist there, Hamlet Opazo, runs a woodworking shop for the senior day club, so it made sense to use the resources already in place. We created a grandiose environment for our piano that was inspired by sculptor Louise Nevelson.

Frank Poole Jr. and Sue Norton-Scott with piano

Frank Poole Jr. and Sue Norton-Scott with piano

What I’ll remember most are intense and purposeful facial expressions of the seniors as they sanded, painted, glued, drilled, operated power tools, and discussed the evolution of our white piano. It was truly a creative community effort. In all my art career “Play Me, I’m Yours” is the project that I’m proudest of because not only did it touch my heart deeply, but it clearly touched the hearts of all its creators.

The project came full circle when I met the donor of the piano, Frank Poole, Jr. at Mesa’s public Street Pianos event. He shared that the piano belonged to his father, and he recalls having it in his home since the 1950’s. Frank Poole, Sr. passed from Parkinson’s disease a few years ago. Frank Jr. and I agreed that it was quite poignant that his dad’s piano was “glorified” by members at Oakwood Creative Care. We think Frank Sr. would be very proud that his instrument is bringing so much joy to others today.

For more photos, video and stories about the Street Piano designed by Sue Norton-Scott, visit: http://streetpianos.com/mesa2016/pianos/1-morris-plaza/