Twenty one beautifully decorated ‘street pianos’ have popped up around Arts Centre Melbourne, the CBD and in suburbs across Melbourne for everyone to enjoy until 4 February 2018, as part of the interactive installation, Play Me I’m Yours.
Devised by British artist Luke Jerram, Play Me, I’m Yours has been touring internationally since 2008. More than 1850 pianos have now been installed in 55 cities across the globe, from New York to London, Geneva to Sao Paulo bearing the simple invitation – Play Me, I’m Yours.
The project has reached more than ten million people worldwide, with each new city becoming part of a growing legacy. The work was first presented in Melbourne in 2014 as the first Betty Amsden Participation program event, large-scale free projects for the community to enjoy.
The pianos have been located in public parks, train stations, markets and even on bridges and ferries. Questioning the ownership and rules of public space the interactive artwork invites the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment. Crossing boundaries of age, class and culture, Play Me, I’m Yours democratises the arts and encourages the exploration of creativity.
“I’m really excited to see the project returning to Melbourne in 2018, it was so popular back in 2014, so I have great expectations this time round,” said Luke Jerram, creator of Play Me, I’m Yours.
“I’m looking forward to seeing people interact with the pianos, and to meeting some of the artists and groups that have transformed them into musical works of art when I visit in January. I’d like to encourage everyone, from confident professionals to first-time public performers and kids that have never played a piano before to get out and share their creativity!”
All of the pianos have been donated by community members and will be painted and decorated by community and cultural groups across Melbourne working with visual artists from The Blender Studios and then installed on the streets for the public to enjoy. After being part of Play Me, I’m Yours the pianos will be donated back to community, cultural and educational organisations.
The artwork has toured the world, acting as a high profile event for many organisations, including the Pan Am Games, LA Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Festival, City of London Festival, Faculty of Music at University of Cambridge and Barcelona’s Maria Canals International Music Competition.
Each city has a unique website where the public is encouraged to upload and share their films, photos and stories of their interaction with the pianos. The website aims to connect the different communities across the world, providing maps of each cities’ piano locations and promoting special events. All content is created and uploaded by the public.
Play Me, I’m Yours returns to Melbourne in 2018 courtesy of the Betty Amsden Participation Program – an annual community event series established by the late Betty Amsden and Arts Centre Melbourne to explore and encourage cultural democracy. The large-scale, interactive and free projects are designed to inspire and engage the city of Melbourne.
“Whether you’re a trained pianist or you’ve never touched a key in your life, whatever your age, Play Me, I’m Yours is free for anyone to have a go and is another great summer activity for our creative state,” says Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley. “It brings the joy of music to our public spaces and puts creativity exactly where it belongs – directly into the hands of the public.”
Play Me I’m Yours continues at locations around Arts Centre Melbourne, the city and surrounds until 4 February 2018. For more information, visit: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au or www.streetpianos.com.au for details.
Image: Two children engaging with Play Me I’m Yours – photo courtesy of Arts Centre Melbourne