Public can participate in piano playing at the Silver Star Plaza
January 11, 2013
While the Silver Star Cafe has expanded its music offering with Park City Limits during film festival week, the Silver Star Plaza is also providing members of the general public a chance to perform their own music thanks to Art Pianos for All.
The nonprofit art organization directed by Mark Maziarz, has set up refurbished pianos around Summit County and encourages anyone to play.
One sits at the Summit County Aquatic Center in Kamas. Another is at the Kimball Art Center. One, that has yet to be repainted, is at the Transit Center and now there is one at the Silver Star Plaza, Maziarz said.
"The one at Silver Star is called ‘Jazz Birds’ and was painted by artist Renee Mox Hall," he said. "Renee is a nicely established artist who has been here for awhile."
Hall painted the piano in early July at the Kimball Art Center patio, where it was set up with another piano called "Rocky Mountain Bliss" that was refinished by Salt Lake Artist Sally Neilson.
Incidentally, the piano at the Aquatic Center is called "Blue Note," and was finished by Utah artist Sonny Luca.
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"I went to the Kimball when both pianos were there and it was just after it snowed," Maziarz said. "There was a well-worn path weaving its way to the pianos, and that made me really happy.
"If you look at the ‘Jazz Birds’ piano, it has more of a freeform style compared to the others. ‘Blue Note’ is so intricate and the ‘Rocky Mountain Bliss’ is simple, but nicely done, but ‘Jazz Bird’ is very cool with sunbursts," Maziarz said.
Maziarz was inspired to establish the interactive Art Pianos for All public art showcase after he and a group of the Leadership Park City program, which trains talented residents to assume leadership roles in the community, traveled to Fort Collins, Colo.
The program participants take tours to different cities to see what makes those communities unique.
Silver Star Cafe owner Lisa Cilva Ward is the co-director of Leadership Park City and was also among those who visited Fort Collins.
"Mark was in my class and Alison Butz went with us and they were fascinated by the idea of refinishing and installing pianos around the community," Ward said. "They put their heads together and brought the idea back."
Ward is excited to have a piano at the Silver Star Plaza.
"I’m excited because I got to see the evolution of the seed of the idea and how these two talented local leaders accomplished this project with a limited budget, but with a lot of passion about what the project could mean to Park City," she said. "Now we have a beautiful piece of art that is now sitting outside the cafe. Anyone, not just café patrons, can come play it. That means everyone from little kids to piano virtuosos."
That is a reflection of what Ward and her husband Jeff try to do with the Silver Star Cafe.
"We have a guitar inside the cafe that is available for anyone to play," she said. "Every day someone will take it over to their table to play. The piano is very much like that. The instrument is there for people to explore their love for music and we get to witness it."
So far, the project has struck a note with the public, Maziarz said.
"The thing that surprised me is that a lot of times the same people go to the same pianos every day or at least once a week," he said. "The Kimball wants to keep at least one piano there, because people play it all the time, and I got a call yesterday from a guy who is in town to work at the Sundance Film Festival and he told me he was excited to go play the grand piano at the Transit Center every day.
"I think it’s great that people are getting proprietary about the pianos they play," Maziarz said. "It makes it all worth while to me to see people embrace this project."
Maziarz wants to continue installing more pianos around the county, but, like all nonprofit organizations, funding is the key.
"In the past we have asked for piano donations, and we still are looking for some upright pianos," he said. "But we’re also seeking cash donations, so we can keep the project going."
Donations can be made through the Art Pianos for All Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/artpianosforall.
"I’m so happy that we have been able to do what we’ve done so far," Maziarz said. "I remember when I first saw the reaction on the peoples’ faces when people sat down to play a public piano at Ft. Collins. It really created an emotion and that’s what I wanted to bring to Park City."
For more information about Art Pianos for All, visit http://www.facebook.com/artpianosforall.