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Sarasota Keys, piano project uniting art, music and community

8:53 PM, Jan 20, 2014   |    comments
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Sarasota, Florida- Sarasota's love of the arts is inspiring the musician in all of us through its latest public art project. The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota has set up six pianos in downtown through the end of May.  

Randomly placed along Main Street in Downtown Sarasota is a form of public art that comes alive visually when dared to be played. 

"It inspires people to do what they want to do," says a man who goes by the name of Breezie.

Sarasota Keys is the art of spontaneous music on one of six pianos to be played by anyone at anytime. The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota sponsors the piano project set up through the end of May.

Breezie enjoys playing jazz tunes. 

"It gives you freedom," he says.

Elijah Fox, a 19-year-old music student, sets out to play all six pianos. Monday, he broke out into a jam session with a stranger who brought along his guitar. \

"It's really fun to be playing outside and available to everyone," Elijah says about the project.

Isabella Knewell, 13, isn't shy either. 

"Some people look, some people don't," she says. She feels as if she blends in with the downtown background.

Professional pianist David Ohrenstein stands out and draws a crowd with his classical music. David says he's played for US Presidents.

"It feels as if I'm in tune with the city the music vibrates sympathetically with Sarasota," says David.

Each piano is painted by a local artist and sponsored by a business owner. Merchants are responsible for putting the pianos outside in the morning and bringing them indoors at night.

Restaurant owner Paul Mattison sponsors the piano outside his restaurant, Mattison's City Grille along Main Street. Local artist Jack Dowd painted Mattison's piano, paying tribute to 12 of 40 musicians who died at the age of 27.

"It creates buzz; it creates internet. We want to bring more foot-traffic downtown to grow our business. It also brings community together in a lot of ways."

Tracey Reid works at Traders. It too sponsors one of the pianos.

"It's joyful; it's creative; it represents Sarasota's cultural part- its artistic part," she says.


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