Public Pianos to Play in Corvallis

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CORVALLIS, Ore. — The sound of pianos is filling the air in Corvallis for the next few weeks, after a group placed eight pianos throughout town to kick off a music and art festival for the community.

Alison Hendler, her two daughters, and their two friends biked down to the Farmers’ Market on Wednesday morning. But something on the sidewalk caught their eye.

“I had to turn around and said: ‘Hey! Look at! What?! There’s a painted piano downtown! Wow, that’s so cool!'” Hendler said.

Like many other community members, the group took advantage of the opportunity to play music for everyone else at the market.

“Play, Corvallis Play was started with the idea of spreading art and music to our community through art and pianos,” said Lee Eckroth, organizer of Play, Corvallis Play, the group that put the pianos throughout town. “Music and art are really important parts of the community. Both for kids as they’re growing up, and just for people’s sanity and psyche.”

Eckroth says the group picked up used pianos from community members who didn’t want theirs anymore, and painted them. But the pianos are part of a larger effort: it is a kickoff to the Corvallis Imagination Music and Art Festival, or CIMA, a celebration of music and art in the community.

“High schools – they don’t have enough money right now to repair instruments for the bands,” said CIMA Director David Lundahl. “There is tremendous need.”

But the free festival, which is next weekend at Bruce Starker Arts Park, is more than a celebration of art and music. 

“Public schools lost a lot of their base funding for music and art education,” Lundahl said. “Which is a shame because you never know who has that raw talent that needs to be developed.”

Organizers are hoping to raise at least $5,000 in donations. Every penny that they raise will support art and music programs in Corvallis schools.

Until the festival kicks off, the pianos will be available for community members to play every day from 7 a.m – 10 p.m until Aug. 16.

“I just really want to encourage people to come out and try the pianos and bring some magic to the community,” Eckroth said. “Because there is really nothing better than seeing people smile.”

For more information about CIMA and its Kickstarter campaign, click here.

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