There’s a little office in City Hall called the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs that’s staffed by two energetic, imaginative, creative, engaging, and plain pleasant people – Linda Plaut and Jeannie Smith. These two woman are behind or are involved with nearly every fun and interesting activity sponsored by City government. All of festivals throughout the year at City Hall – that’s them. Performances of all kinds in the War Memorial – that’s them. NewtonServes – they’re involved and on and on and on.
Last year they roped in every arts organization in the city to throw a month long Newton arts party. This year its year two and its bigger, better, and longer.
Best of all though this year is they’ve added the Artful Piano Project. Next Saturday it will kick off at locations all around the city.
They have recruited another powerhouse. A woman named Maria Beatriz Arvelo. I haven’t met her but I’ve been in awe of her organizational abilities. Maria’s project is to plant donated pianos on street corners around the city. Each piano is beautifully and uniquely painted and decorated by local artists. Each piano will have a decorated cover’s designed by students from Lasell College’s Fashion Program. Maria’s recruited piano tuners, students at Newton North for carpentry, volunteers in each piano neighborhood to look after the pianos for the month, she’s recruited performers to play at each piano for scheduled performances.
We’re getting a piano in our neighborhood and I can’t wait. I’m just hoping that Upper Falls has a great wealth of piano players and impromptu street corner piano music in the month ahead. If you play the piano, any style, with any level of ability, come on down to the corner of Oak & Chestnut St in Upper Falls starting next Saturday – any day, any time, and plays a song, or a concerto, or whatever you’ve got for your neighbors. Or if not Upper Falls then one of the other pianos around the city.
In general I’m not big on regrets but for the month of May I think I’m going to be kicking myself that I never learned to play piano.