A musically driven nonprofit is plunking free-to-play pianos down around town.
Since August, a butterfly-painted piano has been sitting in Callaway Plaza at the Woodruff Arts Center. Its name is Carly. Feel free to introduce yourself. It’s okay to touch it, even play it. Give a concert if you want.
The free public instrument is the second placed by Play Me Again Pianos, a nonprofit organization that plans to bring 88 free public pianos to metropolitan Atlanta communities. The first is installed under the pavilion at the playground in Chastain Park.
“It’s so popular that we have to stand in line just to tune it,” says Jason Brett, who founded Play Me Again Pianos with his wife, Kelly, and their son, Nico. “When we arrived at the ribbon-cutting for Carly, two little girls were already playing the instrument. We know these pianos are appreciated and bring a positive influence to their communities. People stop to smile, listen and play. They tell us their stories.”
The idea for public pianos came from a 2013 Brett family European vacation and their son’s dedication to practice. After picking up piano at age 5, Nico promised himself that he would practice every day, and he did. Not wanting to break his practice streak (now 11, Nico still hasn’t missed a day), the family located a free public piano at a train station in London and one in Paris. “Energetic crowds of travelers would gather around them, and despite language barriers, they’d connect over music,” says Brett. “We thought it would be great if the same thing could happen in Atlanta.”
And the show’s not over yet: A third piano, named Liam after the young artist Liam Agans, who painted it, was installed at the Woodruff Arts Center on October 16. A fourth is coming in November to Colony Square.
STORIES: Laura Raines