In keeping with the theme of bringing music to public spaces, renowned non-profit organisation ‘Business and Arts NL,’ in collaboration with St. John’s based radio station ‘Coast FM 101.1’ and Memorial University unveiled a new public piano at the University Centre food court on February 14th, 2019. It is a part of the #ComePlayWithMeNL public piano project. The #ComePlayWithMeNL public piano project was launched in December 2014 with the Jag Hotel Piano placed at the St. John’s International Airport. Over the past five years, Business and Arts NL has placed pianos in multiple public places including the Memorial University’s Signal Hill campus, the Comfort Inn of the Health Science Centre in St. John’s and at the Deer Lake Airport. The new piano at the Memorial Centre food court brings the total of public pianos across the province to six.
An important feature of the public pianos is the unique artistic designs, hand-painted by different creative artists. Speaking with Mark Benson, the creative artist who designed the piano about how the creative process went, he said “we went through three to four designs before finally settling on this one here on the piano”.
“I am glad Pete Soucy of Business and Arts NL, my handler on this project pushed me to take the creative attempt on this project. The designs ended up coming out better than I would have expected” he added.
More of Mark Benson’s work can be seen on his website www.swassesois.comand his Instagram handle @instanthalffgram.
Mr. Peter Scousy, the director of collaboration at Business and arts NL who organised this event spoke about the fate of the already existing public piano stationed at the Memorial centre food court. “The old piano will be put back into storage and will be refurbished and painted by a new artist. This will then be placed somewhere else within the province,” he said. Speaking on future plans for the #ComePlayWithMeNL public piano project, Mr. Peter Scousy added that
“We are growing the number of public pianos across the province to eleven within the next three months and hopefully to fifteen by the end of the year.”
On the significance of the date of the launch, we spoke with Jane Furneaux, program coordinator for Business and arts NL. “I am actually not sure why we did it on Valentine’s day, maybe because it’s just a special day and so we could kind of get everyone to play love songs. I guess not that it’s about love, but about bring people and different communities together. And even if you don’t celebrate Valentine’s day, it’s a nice way to celebrate connection.”
“We hope to get more pianos so there are more province wide. We are trying to bring more to Labrador, to the West coast, to the Northern peninsula, so that there is music all over not Newfoundland, not just here.”
“A lot of programs are Avalon specific so we want to broaden the horizon so that there is more connections made all over.”