If you were in Lower Manhattan recently and thought you heard the sound of a piano being tuned, you may have been picking up tones from the 2016 Sing for Hope Pianos Art Studio!
50 unique Sing for Hope Pianos got their own dedicated floor of the iconic downtown skyscraper 28 LIBERTY, under the careful watch of our team of technicians, tuners, and stellar 2016 Sing for Hope Pianos Artists. To quote a recent article in “The Broadsheet, “in space donated by the landmark structure’s new owners, Chinese real estate developer FOSUN INTERNATIONAL, creative minds and brights colors are turned loose on 50 pianos scattered among the many rooms on the empty floor. Their mission is to festoon the spinets and grands with everything from a moose with paint dripping off its ears to clouds scudding across a cerulean sky, inspired by the “severe clear” weather of September 11, 2001. Artists seek to render the audible visual…”
The 2016 Sing for Hope Pianos hit the parks and public spaces of all 5 boroughs for anyone and everyone to play from June 9-19— a symbol and celebration of our mission of art for all. During their time on the streets, the instruments were enjoyed by an estimated 1 million New Yorkers and visitors to the city, and after their public residency, all 50 SFH Pianos are being placed in permanent homes in NYC public schools, bringing their colors and sounds to an estimated 15,000 NYC schoolchildren.
The many artists and notable New Yorkers who created Sing for Hope Pianos this year include renowned photographer BRUCE WEBER, NY Jets wide receiver ERIC DECKER, country music star JESSIE JAMES DECKER, multi-platinum singer/songwriter NATHAN SYKES, fashion designer GEORGES CHAKRA, and many others. What unites them is their gift of time and talent to the project, and their shared belief in increasing arts accessibility for all individuals and communities.
Among the artists whose magic graced our public spaces this summer are Chelaine Neufeldt and Shannon Thiesen of Abbotsford, British Columbia. The Canadians teach together at ABOTTSFORD SCHOOL OF INTEGRATED ARTS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (Thiesen, 5th grade, and Neufeldt, Kindergarten). Having heard Sing for Hope Co-Founder CAMILLE ZAMORA speak about SING FOR HOPE at the ARTS SCHOOLS NETWORK SUMMIT IN SEATTLE last fall, the two teachers decided to apply to paint a piano designed in tandem with their students. Neufeldt and Thiesen traveled from British Columbia to NYC during their spring break in March to execute their design, which features a technicolor Canadian moose and detailed wooden discs created by their students.
YUKI SAKAGUCHI is another 2016 Sing for Hope Pianos volunteer artist who worked intently in the SFH Pianos Art Studio, bringing to life her second Sing for Hope Piano in as many years. Yuki is a painter, illustrator, graphic designer, and Reiki practitioner specializing in spiritual aesthetics. Born in Japan, she has lived in New York since 2012, and says that she is thrilled to create an ethereal piano this year to represent “sky, ocean, light, feathers, angels…”
Nearby, NICK STAVRIDES, a self-trained painter born in Washington Heights, was hard at work on his instrument. As a child, Nick used to spend hours in the waters of Montauk, the inspiration for his “fish series” that’s consumed him for the past 10 years. The marine life depicted on his 2016 Sing for Hope Piano almost seems to swim off its piano canvas, and the design also features chalkboard paint areas that allowed New Yorkers to contribute their own images to his underwater scene.
On another side of 28 Liberty’s expansive 16th floor, EVA PETRI, a native of Slovenia currently based in Vienna, createdÂ a luminous piano entitled “Etude ABOVE Ground Zero.” In her words, the piano artwork “transcribes the blue sky I experienced onÂ 9/11, with lace representing clouds that transport memories and emotions, and help to transform trauma into something positive…”
And in a tucked-away corner of the space, OKSANA PROKOPENKO‘s piano glittered with an array of constellations, Greek gods and muses, and ancient astrological signs. As she says, her Sing for Hope Piano was designed “to inspire the viewers not only to play, but also to reflect that creativity is a vast field of possibilities; that by inviting the muses into our creative life we engage wonderful benevolent co-creators; that all we have to do is look into the starry night and feel their creative help coming.”
The 2016 Sing for Hope Pianos are made possible by the support of FOSUN INTERNATIONAL and 28 LIBERTY, The Sing for Hope Founders Circle (The Arnhold Foundation in loving memory of Sissy Arnhold, The Anna-Maria & Stephen Kellen Foundation, and Ann Ziff), our volunteer artists who donate time and talent to bring the piano canvasses to life, and THE GENEROSITY OF DONORS LIKE YOU.