The Anchorage Piano Project
Part of our public art platform to empower individuals through music, art and culture
August 15, 2019
Stroll past the Anchorage Museum on any given day this summer and there is a good chance you’ll hear anything from “Chopsticks” to “Moonlight Sonata” played on one or more of five blue pianos outside the front entrance. The pianos, plus a sixth one inside the building, come to Anchorage as part of a musical movement that has spread through museums and other public places over the past several years.
“The pianos are an opportunity to bring communities together and show how public art can engage people,” says Julie Decker, Anchorage Museum director/CEO. “The pianos have garnered a lot of attention from passersby. We’ve had individuals, groups, children, teens and entire families stop to play. Some are amateurs, others well trained. And we know of at least one music instructor who brought a group of students to play.”
The pianos are inspired by projects like the “Play Me, I’m Yours,” street piano art installation series developed in 2008 by British artist Luke Jerram, which spread globally with pianos installed in public places by organizations and individuals. The idea also caught on in cultural centers, with street pianos popping up at museums around the world.
The Anchorage Museum’s pianos were made possible by the Rasmuson Foundation and the Rasmuson family. The first piano was purchased in September 2018 and can usually be found in the atrium or west wing foyer. Since May, six used pianos have been purchased, painted blue and placed outside or inside the museum.