Tuesday, September 4, 2012

News: Urban Pianos in Rotherham town centre


Retailers in Rotherham are taking note of an artistic initiative aimed at increasing the number of visitors in the town centre.

Taking their inspiration from Ben Kealey, the keyboardist for rock band Kasabian, Rotherham residents are getting involved in a project to turn old pianos into a work of arts.

Ben's "Sapheye Rae" was the first of Rotherham's urban pianos and is now installed in the new Gallery at Riverside House as part of the innovative "Gallery Town" project in Rotherham town centre.

Further pianos have been donated by members of the public and they will now be transformed at free arts and crafts workshops across the borough, funded by the Arts Council England.

There will also be free music workshops with composer Barry Russell to create a short tune that can be played on the pianos at events in the town centre with Get Sorted Academy of Music offering tuition.

Town centre businesses are already looking to take advantage of this unique art project as a way to boost trade. The Whistle Stop Sweet Shop has taken in a beautiful Brasted piano from a kind donor in Clifton, which has a permanent home in their shop. They will be decorating the piano themselves.

Kara Chapman, owner of Whistle Stop Sweet Shop, said: "We are looking forward to decorating the piano and we are really happy for local people to come and have their tuition actually in the shop."

Textile artist, Gemma Nemer will also host a piano at The Button Tin inside the Imperial Buildings.

If anyone would like to book a place on any workshop, join in writing of the tune, or would like more details, please call Lizzy Alageswaran of the Gallery Town Project on 01709 823636 or email community.arts@rotherham.gov.uk.

Lizzy said: "This project shows that Rotherham people have not lost their sense of fun - it's a wonderful idea to make unwanted instruments into works of art and it will create a fun and unusual event that will being more people into the town centre."

Gallery Town is an open air gallery consisting of over 90 pieces of artwork from local artists and schoolchildren and famous masterpieces from the National Gallery.

Gallery Town website

Images: RMBC


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