Pianos as art: Join Piano Cleveland’s scavenger hunt

Graffiti HeArt’s piano at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Graffiti HeArt’s piano at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Get ready, get set, go! From June 11 to July 8, fifteen uniquely repurposed pianos will decorate Cleveland neighborhoods as part of The Grand Piano Pursuit, a musical scavenger hunt organized by Piano Cleveland in the lead up to the Cleveland International Piano Competition. Your job is to find them. Individuals can seek out the pianos and post photos of them on social media using #GrandPianoPursuit to become eligible to win prizes.

When last year’s Cleveland International Piano Competition was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, Piano Cleveland pivoted to a virtual competition for artist relief. Tapping locations in Cleveland, New York City, London, Beijing and Hamburg, they held an online broadcast. More than 36,000 people tuned in from around the world, raising $75,000 for the contestants.

Amanda Pollock’s piano at the Music Settlement.

Amanda Pollock’s piano at the Music Settlement.

This year, Piano Cleveland executive director Marissa Moore said the organization wanted to find a way to help local artists while also promoting the competition, which will be held in both hybrid remote and in-person formats. “We wanted to keep the idea of supporting the arts, but focus it locally,” she said. “We thought, ‘How can we support local artists in Cleveland?’”

So, Piano Cleveland worked with 15 organizations throughout the city to “host uniquely repurposed pianos that have been re-imagined into new artwork,” according to a press release. Fifteen local artists were hired “to create the musically inspired art for the city to enjoy, using pianos generously donated by local individuals and Steinway Piano Gallery Cleveland.”

Anthony Andreoli’s artwork, which will adorn Public Square, references the historic beauty and architecture of Cleveland, according to the press release. “Multigenerational family members, including myself, have had a part in building many of the structures that create Cleveland’s landscape and beautiful skyline,” he said. “My design showcases a sculpturally transformed piano utilizing metal and wood symbolically merging the old and the new in the city.”

Hannah Manocchio’s piano in Little Italy.

Hannah Manocchio’s piano in Little Italy.

The instruments, which were at the end of their musical lives, were donated by local individuals and Steinway Piano Gallery Cleveland. Local artists were paid $500 to transform them into sculptural art pieces, some of which are playable. Locations include Beck Center for the Arts, Bop Stop at the Music Settlement, Cleveland Metroparks, Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland Public Square, InterContinental Cleveland, Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center, Little Italy Redevelopment Corp., Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The Music Settlement, The Van Aken District, University Circle Inc., University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, and Waterloo Arts.

Featured artists include Amanda Pollack, Anthony Andreoli, Bob Peck, Rich Cihlar, Chi-Irena Wong, Cyan Reyes, Gwendolyn Garth, Hannah Manocchio, Jamie Cohen-Kiraly, Kacey Gill, Megan Young, Nathalie Bermudez, Richard Duarte Brown, Amy Fisher, Amelia Joynes, Sally Levine, Tanya Tate, Andre’ Taylor, Alicia Vasquez, and Scott Pickering. Local organizations Graffiti HeArt, Shaker Arts Council, Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center, and Waterloo Arts helped connect local artists to these opportunities.

While searching out the pianos, Clevelanders are encouraged to take photos and post them on social media for a chance to win the ultimate “Experience Cleveland” inspired prize package, including an overnight stay in a Great Lakes Suite at the Intercontinental Cleveland, tickets to a Christmas Story House donated by Destination Cleveland, complimentary rounds of golf, zoo tickets and Chalet Park tickets from Cleveland Metroparks, a curated guided art tour of the UH Cleveland Media Center, and other Cleveland inspired prizes.

Lee Chilcote is a freelance writer and editor of The Land.

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