Downtown Pianos Debut Public Art Friday, May 1

Four Play It Missoula! community pianos will be painted by local artists in the public’s view during First Friday Gallery Night this Friday, May 1 from 5-8 pm in Downtown Missoula. These pianos, plus two others, will be rolled out to their seasonal outdoor locations on Friday, June 5.

Modeled after several United States and Canadian cities, Play It Missoula! is a community project, where pianos are placed in the public realm throughout Downtown Missoula to showcase visual art, music and place-making efforts. The goal of Play It Missoula! is to enhance Missoula’s sense of community and pride as people slow down to appreciate art, listen and play on the ivory keys.

This Friday’s activities include piano playing by the University of Montana Keyboard Society students and informal discussions with the local artists who are painting the pianos.

Artists and the painting venues include:

Jack Metcalf at Black Coffee Roasting Co. (525 E. Spruce) from 4-6 pm
Luke Smith & Madeline Carr at the Dana Gallery (246 N. Higgins) from 5-8 pm
Amber Prouty at Le Petit Outre (129 S. 4th St. W) from 5-8 pm
Bayla Laks at E3Convergence Gallery (229 W. Main) from 5-8 pm

playitlogo“Our goal is to bring people of all kinds together for positive experiences, in Downtown Missoula,” said Tim France, President of the Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) Board of Trustees and owner of Worden’s Market. “We value the opportunities to build a sense of place for our community, and the pianos create the space and place to share art, music, and stories. Last summer the pianos helped to improve safety, economic vitality, and the positive experiences of Downtown. We expect the additional pianos will expand on the positive impact for all who visit Downtown Missoula.”

The pianos located at the Dana Gallery and E3Convergence are completed, and the pianos at Black Coffee Roasting Co. and Le Petit Outre are still being painted. Community members are invited to visit any of these locations this Friday, May 1 to see the pianos, enjoy music, and meet the artists. Both the artists and the business hosts have been very generous, donating their time, talent and space to the Play It Missoula! project.

“Having a piano at the Dana Gallery is a great way to bring music and fine art forms together,” said Lindsey McGee, manager of the gallery. “Art is often categorized and separated, but we’ve hosted many music and dance events at the Dana Gallery that have created this great dialogue about the arts as a whole in this small Missoula community. The piano project is another great example of combining art and music together in a creative way.”

In addition to placing the painted pianos at three outdoor Downtown locations, there will be Play It Missoula! pianos placed at three additional locations:
• Poverello Center (1110 W. Broadway)
• Broadway Bar & Grill @ Broadway Inn (1609 W. Broadway)
• The Starving Artist Cafe & Art Gallery (3020 S. Reserve)

“We have loved having the piano in our space at Le Petit Outre,” said Manager Libbie Early. “It has allowed us to introduce members of the community to the piano project and to the artist working on the piano itself. This project has helped make our business feel more and more like a gathering place.”

Since the program’s inception a year ago, several community members have donated pianos, and local businesses Dotz Piano and Jeff Stickney Piano Tuning & Repair have contributed significantly to this project.

In addition to significant donations of time and materials, the Play It Missoula! project is funded by the Downtown BID, the Missoula Downtown Foundation, and the City of Missoula Community Forum.

For more information on Play It Missoula!, contact Noreen Humes via phone (543-4238).