Pianos on the streets of North York helped people express themselves and come together.
Two pianos had been placed locally as part of the citywide Play Me, I’m Yours project, which has been brought to Toronto by CIBC in celebration of the 2015 Pan American Games.
One, set up in front of the government of Canada building at 4900 Yonge St., was painted in honour of Paraguay, and is branded with the name of the project. Government workers and visitors to the building keep the piano busy at all times of the day.
“I think it’s fantastic!” says Frank Volpentesta, a passerby. “You feel comfortable about the area, and confident in how cultured you are.”
Volpentesta went on to play a few notes for passersby.
The Play Me, I’m Yours project was started by UK-based artist Luke Jerram. He thought of the idea while at a laundromat.
“No one ever talked to one another, but there were these invisible communities,” Jerram says. “A piano seemed like a good way of getting people talking. One hundred years ago, everyone had a piano at home, so it was natural. The pianos act as a blank canvas for expression, so whether you play Chopsticks or Beethoven, you can be a performance artist.”
At Mel Lastman square, the Guyana-themed piano was being played by Olivia Han, a music teacher, who was playing a lullaby for a friend’s baby.
“It’s refreshing,” she says. “I think it’s really inspired, and I wish it could stay longer.”
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