Don't let old pianos die. Help them be re-born as colorful, playable works of art for all, on the streets of Buffalo this summer!
Why one man gave $1000 to this project:
"Mark - You're too kind and a bunch of
us are pulling for you. The idea to fund your project was a casual
conversation among my business partners here at Algonquin a few days ago
after we'd heard about what you're trying to do on the news. We're all
young, hugely-pro-Buffalo folks and I don't know-- this one just spoke
We've all grown up listening to people doubt Buffalo, its future, its development, its art scene, its weather, on and on...the kind of thing you're trying to do-- it's exactly the cool, quirky, fun things we need more of!
My company, Algonquin Studios, is a tech company right in the heart of downtown Buffalo (in the Brisbane Building) and we do a lot of non-traditional kinds of things with our teams-- food Fridays (we all cook a company-wide meal), taco Thursday, afternoon walks around the harbor, the list goes on and on--this one just seemed to be something that fit our personality and I'm glad people like you are out there trying hard and succeeding. To put it plainly-- you give a damn and I like that!
So, I'm beyond hopeful that others step up too. Looking forward to seeing where this goes and what others creative ideas it spawns!
--Steve Kiernan II"
Thank you WBFO radio-- hear the 6 minute interview here:
See one of the pianos "in action" here:
The piano at Canalside, played by project backer Tim Jimbo Dyet!
Pianos in Public Buffalo
As seen on WGRZ Channel 2 Buffalo, YNN Buffalo, Winging It! Buffalo Style on CW-23, tweeted about on @TrendingBuffalo, read about on BeautifulBuffalo.com, Buffalo.com and BuffaloRising.com, and heard about on WYRK Country 106.5, WJYE 96.1, and WBFO 88.7 FM.
Mark Weber, the Buffalo Crooner, has one aim: to make people feel good. Music unleashes people's creativity and puts smiles on young and old faces alike.
Weber has saved 5 pianos from being thrown away, with one already being "in public" at Buffalo's Canalside downtown. On June 26th, GRAMMY winning jazz legend George Caldwell will debut the Larkin Square piano, which was made in 1898 on Niagara Street in Buffalo!
Weber and his artist friends, including Jerry Lange, Heidi Brown, and Christina Reilly, are painting the pianos with colorful themes to surprise and delight locals and tourists, all of whom are welcome to play 'em and take pictures with them to share with people who think Buffalo's just snow and chicken wings.
Denise McCowan, one of the backers of this project, made her pledge because, "Music and the arts get cut from schools all the time. Either the
programs are downsized or totally cut. Having the availabilty to enjoy
them in the community would be nice. You never know, some kid may be
inspired to follow a music career from seeing the pianos and getting up
closed to them. Maybe the next superstar will be found on the streets of
Buffalo while playing for fun. I also loved the Buffalo idea, so I think the piano idea is another unique way to get people into Buffalo."
The $4,000 goal for this campaign is to cover costs of acquiring pianos, painting 'em, moving 'em, and storing 'em-- when needed. Moving costs eat up the bulk of the budget-- pianos are heavy and hard to move, as you can imagine!
Show your love for music, art, Buffalo and the outdoors by making a pledge today. The most popular donation level is $25, which involves you leaving an online dedication at BeautifulBuffalo.com to your loved one(s) who inspired you!
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Everyone asks, "What about rain?" The piano at Canalside has a custom made canvas cover. Then they ask, "What about vandalism?" The Canalside piano is chained to the boardwalk's strong wall. Security guards and cameras watch over the area. Of course, people want to know, "What about tuning?" There are two piano tuners regularly checking up on the pianos to help make them sound decent. Remember, they're outdoors and old, so they're not perfect, and that's okay.
In the unlikely event that a piano is stolen, hopefully the police can retrieve it since it's colorful, big and unique-looking. If not, a replacement piano will have to be painted and placed at the site.
At this time, no. However, should the funds become available, more pianos will be needed, so you're welcome to email Mark Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org to indicate you have an upright piano you're interested in donating.
On May 11th, 2013, the first piano made its debut at Canalside in downtown Buffalo at the water's edge, overlooking the water, the Skyway and the grain elevators. It's free for anyone and everyone to play. The next piano in public is scheduled to be at Larkin Square in June. It's a piano built in Buffalo in 1898 and sounds pretty good for being so old! Other locations in the works include Grant & Lafayette (the West Side piano), Central Terminal (the East Side piano), The Mansion on Delaware (in their park), and Montgomery Park (the Suburban piano).
Contact project creator and organizer Mark Weber at email@example.com.
Mark Weber, a singer and songwriter, grew up with a piano in his home. Eventually he wrote, sang and recorded his own pop CD, "Days Like These," which is available on iTunes and amazon.
Weber moved to NYC and saw a newspaper article about pianos in NYC parks, colorfully decorated, outdoors in the summer, for anyone to play. Then he received a video link via email which showed old pianos being destroyed because no one wanted them anymore. To him, destroying a well-crafted old piano was like killing a pet or family member-- not a good thing.
After moving back to Buffalo, he noticed at the Salt-N-Pepa concert at Canalside that 16,000 people were having a good time downtown there. Nearby, at Larkin Square, he and his friends were impressed with what Leslie Zemsky designed in order to make a very attractive and fun outdoor public space. "This is Buffalo? Wow." was/is the reaction.
In the cold winter, Weber, the Buffalo Crooner, was singing at a holiday party in a fancy hotel. There was a beautiful piano there, with a "DO NOT TOUCH" sign on it. Weber had seen plenty of those signs on pianos over the years, and wondered how anyone was ever to enjoy a piano if no one's allowed to touch it.
On a freezing cold wintry day, Weber met with representatives from Canalside and Larkin Square and asked if they'd like colorful pianos this summer; they said "Yes!"
He also discovered that besides NYC, pianos have been on the streets of Toronto, London and other cities worldwide. So it's exciting to see 'em here in beautiful Buffalo.
Probably. Custom Canvas of Buffalo made a great cover for the piano at Canalside, so that will help protect it from rain and such.
The pianos are being sprayed with a clear coat to help keep water out of the pianos, but there's the chance they may become waterlogged. But, you know what? They're art. They're for fun. They're not meant to be Carnegie Hall performance pianos. Tourists can take pictures, kids can fool around banging the keys, and once in a while a decent song might be played on 'em. It's all good.
Pianos are located in highly visible, public areas, often with security guards/cameras such that vandalism is discouraged. However, the world we live in is imperfect. Vandalized pianos will have to be re-painted or replaced. Also note: some pianos will be chained to other objects, so they can't easily be moved. They're really heavy by the way-- really, really heavy.
Yes. Any piano placed in public is welcomed to be tuned or repaired by competent people who want to do so. Just email Mark Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the sanctioned list of tuners/repairers so venue security patrols/staffers won't hassle you. FYI: Pianos in Public currently has two tuners/repairers looking after the pianos.
Come September, the pianos will either be auctioned off to the highest bidders or stored indoors at venues to be determined.