Public Pianos Beckon Musicians in Suburban England

Pianos have popped up in random public places in Birmingham, England -- a public art installation that passively invites passersby to take a seat and tickle the ivory.

Read Time: 2 minutes

March 23, 2008, 11:00 AM PDT

By Nate Berg


"The piano in the Erdington suburb of Birmingham is one of 15 which have just appeared, unguarded, across the city. There is one in the Rag Market, and one outside Cadbury World. There is another at Colmore junior school, where a teacher was persuaded into an impromptu recital dressed in white gown with veil fluttering in the icy wind. She had been on her way to her wedding."

"Some of the pianos are under cover, others have been placed outside. All were professionally tuned, but some appear to already be suffering from exposure: Forbes brushed off praise for his playing, muttering that the keys of the piano were starting to stick."

"The pianos are the brainchild of the artist Luke Jerram, and are a project for the Fierce arts organisation, a collaboration renowned for getting odd things into odder places. Jerram previously has floated an orchestra in hot air balloons to awaken the sleeping city, and created a ghostly installation in an abandoned railway tunnel."

"The pianos have been installed in public places allowing anyone to sit down and play: some were already in enthusiastic use yesterday, others barely noticed. They will remain in situ until after Easter - if they survive that long - those outliving the experiment given a permanent home. Some of the instruments were bought, others were donated: one man rang from Glasgow pleading for a baby grand to be taken on."

Thanks to ArchNewsNow

Friday, March 14, 2008 in The Guardian

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

View of stone-paved street with pedestrians and "Farmers Market" neon sign on left and old buildings on right in Seattle, Washington

Push and Pull: The Link Between Walkability and Affordability

The increased demand for walkable urban spaces could make them more and more exclusionary if cities don’t pursue policies to limit displacement and boost affordability.

January 27, 2023 - Smart Cities Dive

Aerial view of downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin at sunset

Milwaukee County Makes Substantial Progress on Homelessness

In 2022, the county’s point-in-time count of unhoused people reflected just 18 individuals, the lowest per-capita in the country.

7 minutes ago - Urban Milwaukee

Crosswalk with pedestrians in front of four-story red brick buildings in New Haven, Connecticut

Opinion: Connecticut Vision Zero Bill A Step in the Right Direction

The proposed legislation could energize efforts to eliminate fatal crashes and fix the structural flaws that make roads inherently more dangerous.

1 hour ago - CT News Junkie

View of Tacoma, Washington with Mount Rainier in background

Tacoma Developing New Housing Policy

The city’s Home in Tacoma plan is designed to address the region’s growth and rising housing prices, but faces local backlash over density and affordability concerns.

February 2 - The Urbanist