Pianos in the Parks
SEATTLE, WA – July 17, 2014 – Today, notable local government, arts, community and business leaders unite to launch Pianos in the Parks, a summer campaign from July 17 to August 17, encouraging Puget Sound residents to discover 32,000+ acres of City of Seattle and King County parks and open spaces through the power of music and art. Pianos in the Parks is being underwritten by Laird Norton Wealth Management, and was created in partnership with Seattle Parks and Recreation, King County Parks, the Seattle Symphony, KEXP, Gage Academy of Art, City of Music, and Classic Pianos.
Pianos in the Parks features 20 artistically enhanced pianos created by Gage Academy of Art faculty, students and friends, each placed in one of 15 iconic Seattle city parks and open spaces, such as Alki Park, Cal Anderson Park, and Seattle Center, and five King County Parks locations, including Marymoor Park and the Sammamish River Trail.
“Our local resources like our parks are vital to creating meaningful connections within the community,” said Robert Moser, President and CEO of Laird Norton Wealth Management. “At Laird Norton, we believe that we have responsibility to support a strong and healthy community. This is precisely why we’re dedicated to help growth and protect these assets now and for future generations. We’re thrilled to make Pianos in the Parks possible for the community to discover and rediscover these great amenities.”
“We are delighted to host the pianos at 13 city parks, Seattle Center and City Hall plaza,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “Pianos in the Parks will enliven our parks and engage communities through the power of art and music.”
“We’re well known for having vibrant, welcoming parks and trails that bring communities together,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “This partnership is another way we’re improving the experience for our residents and visitors, and supporting local arts.”
Pianos in the Parks sheds light on how the City of Seattle and King County parks connect the county’s 1.9MM residents. These park systems feature more than 630 parks and open spaces, including trails, athletic fields, playgrounds, concert venues, swimming beaches and pools, fishing piers and more.
“When George Seurat painted his colorful landscape of a Paris crowd enjoying a summer afternoon on the Seine, it was also a celebration of something brand new – open space in the big city,” said Gary Faigin, Co-founder and Artistic Director at Gage Academy of Art. “Artists and parks have always had a love affair – parks are a great place to make art, to see art, and to enjoy the company of our fellow citizens. We’re fortunate to live in a city that also loves its parks, and Gage Academy of Art is happy to lend its support to Pianos in the Parks – a visual and musical tribute to our open spaces that are welcome to everyone, forever.”
Each piano, procured and tuned by Classic Pianos, is available for the public to play. Musicians of every level are encouraged to enter the Pianos in the Parks Facebook contest at: https://www.facebook.com/pianosintheparks, in which they can upload a video of their performance of an original piece or music from the public domain for a chance to play at Concerts at the Mural presented by KEXP and Seattle Center on Friday, August 22. Entries will be voted on by Facebook “likes” with the top five most heavily “liked” videos being judged by a community panel.
“Music discovery is quintessential to the continued development of our vibrant Northwest music scene,” said Tom Mara, Executive Director of KEXP. “KEXP is delighted to support the Pianos in the Parks program as it encourages new and imaginative ways to create and share musical ideas within our community. We‘re also looking forward to hosting the winner of the piano performance competition at our annual Concerts at the Mural series on August 22.”
Additionally, music partners KEXP, Seattle Symphony and City of Music, with support from the Seattle Music Commission, will be serving up fun surprises and activities for the public to enjoy at no cost. The Seattle Symphony will host a weekly “Seattle Symphony Playdate” at Westlake Park, where the public can enjoy instrument-making, instrument exploration, and more.
“One of our values is, ‘Everybody in, nobody out,’” added Seattle Symphony Executive Director Simon Woods. We strongly believe that music is for everyone, not just to listen to, but to play, imagine and create. We embrace everyone performing and creating their own music, and there’s no better way to do that than through Pianos in the Parks. Whether you are a professional musician or only know how to play Chopsticks, we invite you to explore your own passion for music, art and nature with us this summer.”
At the end of the campaign, all Pianos in the Parks pianos will be sold to the highest bidder in an online auction on the official website: www.pianosintheparks.com, finding new forever homes. Proceeds from the sale of these pianos will benefit Seattle Parks and Recreation, King County Parks, Seattle Symphony, KEXP and Gage Academy of Art.
“Just like people, every piano has a story,” said Ben Klinger, Sales Manager of Classic Pianos. “We’re thrilled to be a part of Pianos in the Parks as it offers pianos that are perhaps entering their final chapter, a grand final cadence, and they have been tuned, serviced and dressed up for the occasion. We love that people of all walks of life will be able to enjoy spontaneous musical moments on these pianos together in our region’s great parks.”
Pianos in the Parks is a campaign that has attracted a wide breadth of partnership support. In addition to the primary partners, Pianos in the Parks has received support from several local companies and entities, including PlayNetwork, a Redmond-based branded customer experience company that has generously donated their video production services to the campaign, Seattle Center, Dakota Art and Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral.
To view special content, scheduled activities, participating parks/open spaces and full contest information, please visit: www.pianosintheparks.com. To tag contest entries, pictures and experiences, use the hashtag #PianosintheParks.