“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” ~ Thomas Merton ~
Not all agree on what is acceptable art, as evidenced by the vote of 5 city commissioners in Sarasota. By a vote of 3 to 2, an interactive art project was approved for a 6 month trial period last year. The Sarasota Arts and Cultural Alliance oversaw the project. Six spinet pianos, donated by Pritchard Pianos and Organs, were fitted with dehumidifiers, colorfully painted by local artists, and then scattered around on sidewalks downtown. Businesses that agreed to host them on their site would wheel the pianos inside at night or give them cover in rain conditions. Passer-bys had such a positive reaction that the project has been extended for at least a year beyond the original May 31, 2014, end date.
Talent at the piano has ranged from just sliding fingers across the keys, to endless “Chopsticks”, to more seasoned performers. A number of the pop up performances have been captured for Facebook and YouTube. Most recently, a homeless man has gained international fame by his performances when they went viral on Facebook and it has given him a chance to turn his life around. You can hear what a great pianist he is by searching YouTube with key words “Sarasota”, “piano”, “homeless.”