A five-month experiment — during which pianos will be available on downtown sidewalks for the public to play — is officially under way, as a large crowd turned out for the Sarasota Keys kickoff event this evening.
Six pianos, all decorated by local artists and sponsored by local businesses and individuals, were on display in Five Points Park as part of the event, put on by the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County.
An ensemble of local pianists played two songs before the pianos were moved to various locations throughout downtown, where they will remain available to the public during business hours through May.
Arts and Cultural Alliance Executive Director Jim Shirley thanked the artists, musicians, sponsors and attendees for making the event a success. He also thanked the City Commission, which approved a six-month trial period for the pianos in December.
“This just shows what we can do when we work together,” Shirley said. “Sarasota truly is an amazing community.”
City Commissioner Suzanne Atwell shared those sentiments. Atwell has long been an advocate for an interactive art project in the city, and said the event reinforced her belief that Sarasota Keys would be a success. She praised Shirley for helping to bring the project to the commission’s attention, and said it was significant that he was backing the efforts.
“When you have a leader like Jim in a community like Sarasota, you’re going to have strong arts and culture,” Atwell said.
Jesse Martins, director of the Sarasota Youth Opera, was one of the pianists selected to play during Friday’s event. As a member of a local arts organization, he said the Sarasota Keys project was exciting.
“It’s one of the great ideas that’s come to Sarasota,” Martins said. “I hope it stays and people support it. You can never have too much music.”
For more pictures from the event, check out our photo gallery here.
Contact David Conway at [email protected].