Public art projects like the pianos currently scattered all over Boston have the ability to reach thousands of people in an era when arts are often cut from the budget.
The crowd looks on expectantly as a young woman in a sheer black blouse steps up to the piano. “It’s a little out of tune,” Filiz Cagla, a classically trained musician from Bursa, Turkey, tells her audience halfway through her rendition of “Take Five.”
But no one seems to have noticed. After all, there are honking cars, chatting pedestrians, and children screeching for their parents’ attention on this small concrete island in the heart of Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass. The brown piano Ms. Cagla has taken over is painted with white stripes, polka dots, and ducks. It’s part of the public art project “Play Me, I’m Yours”; some 75 decorated pianos have been installed across Boston and its environs this fall.
Artist Luke Jerram came up with the project in 2008 in Birmingham, England, and since then has brought more than 1,000 pianos to 37 locations worldwide.
“[It] provides a blank canvas for the public ... to share their creativity with each other,” Mr. Jerram says, calling the installation the “democratization of art.” “[Art] doesn’t need to be in a gallery or opera house,” he says by phone from London.
“Play Me, I’m Yours” is sponsored by the Celebrity Series of Boston, but coincided with the city’s first celebration of ArtWeek, launched by the Citi Performing Arts Center.