Urban pianos are the key to Gallery Town
Published Wednesday 4th July 12
Taking their inspiration from Ben Kealey, the keyboardist for rock band Kasabian, Rotherham residents are being urged to get involved and turn an old piano into a work of art.
Ben performs worldwide which has given him an opportunity to absorb many styles of art and culture which is reflected in his urban art projects. One of which is a key piece in the innovative "Gallery Town" project in Rotherham town centre.
Now the Gallery Town team are looking to add more pianos to the collection and are appealing for unwanted pianos and also for groups and individuals of all ages who would like to take part in "customising" them.
Funding has been secured from Arts Council England for workshops where people can work with an artist to turn each piano into a work of art.
There will also be music workshops to create a short tune that can be played on the pianos at the launch event in the town centre later this year. Rotherham charity, Get Sorted Academy of Music will also be offering tuition for anyone who wants to play the tune at the event.
Completed pianos will then be exhibited across the town centre and brought out for events.
The first of Rotherham's urban pianos has recently been given a new home in the council's new library at Riverside House. Ben Kealey's "Sapheye Rae" represents a coming together of cultures from East and West.
Julie Hird, manager for integrated cultural services at Rotherham Borough Council, said: "Ben's urban piano is a wonderful addition to the new library, heritage and arts space.
"Despite what people think, we are keen for people to get together and make some noise in our libraries.
"We also have a beautifully restored Steinway that we are going to make the most of."
Town centre locations for other completed pianos are also being sought with retailers already looking to take advantage of this unique art project as a way to boost trade.
If you or your group would like to take part in the project, or have a piano to donate, please contact Rotherham Borough Council's Arts and Regeneration Officer, Lizzy Alageswaran on 01709 823636 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lizzy said: "This project shows that Rotherham people have not lost their sense of fun - it's a wonderful idea to make unwanted instruments into works of art and it will create a fun and unusual event that will being more people into the town centre."