Twenty-four pianos being painted for 'Play Me, I'm Yours'
Local artists are busy decorating pianos to be placed throughout Florence for “The Play Me, I’m Yours” project, beginning next month. Twenty-four pianos will be placed around the city for the public to play and enjoy, April 17 through May 3. They will be placed in area parks, including Timrod and Veterans Park, downtown plazas, Magnolia Mall, FMU, FDTC, at both hospitals, as well as many other public places. Those outdoors will have covers to protect them from the weather. “The purpose is the bring a lot of people to play and have a good time,” said Roger Malfatti, Project Manager.
Attorney Reynolds Williams organized this project after seeing a piano in a park in Vancouver, Canada. “I just saw one piano, but I wanted to try something like that here,” he said. During his research, he stumbled upon the “Play Me, I’m Yours,” project and took it from there. In the process he talked with people in New York, Australia, and Nicosia, Cypress, which, he noted, happens to be about the size of Florence. “Play Me, I’m Yours,” was started in London by British artist Luke Jerram. Touring internationally since 2008, it has reached over six million people worldwide with more than 1,300 pianos installed in 45 cities across the globe, bearing the simple instruction, “Play Me, I’m Yours.”
Florence will be the first city in the southeastern U.S. to host this project. Reynolds hopes it will become an annual event. Originally, he was hoping for 15 pianos, so he is more than pleased to have 24. The pianos were donated by individuals or bought with funds donated. An opening night kick-off party is planned for April 17 on the 200 block of West Evans Street between Irby and Coit Streets. The evening will be highlighted with many local pianists and will conclude with a dueling piano team from Myrtle Beach and Columbia. The public is invited. During this event, the most creative piano will be selected by an out-of-town judge, and the public will have an opportunity to vote for the “People’s Choice” piano decoration.
Participating artists, including students, art teachers, business people and others are using their creative talents to paint the pianos which are located at 237 W. Evans. They include Kelly Amerson, Mills Brown, Kathryn Cain, Hayley Douglas, Sharri Duncan, Jennifer Dyke, Jerry Edwards, Pamilla James, Charles Jeffcoat, Brian Kress, Matt Lee, Emily Linquanti, Adrianna Lovato, Zach Lynch, Laura McFadden, Julianna McRae, Bran Oswalt, Margaret Smith, Jamie Stuckey, Gwendolyn Tennille Galloway, Tiffany Thomas, Ayla White and Minnemie Murphy.