Pianos on Main Street hit a high note for cooperation

By Dan Aznoff | Jul 06, 2017
Courtesy of: Jackson High School Jackson High School student Heidi Kim added her touch to three faces on the backside of one of the three pianos that will be placed in front of businesses in Town Center as part of the Pianos on Main Street project.  The city purchased one used piano from an ad on Craig’s List and had two others donated in response to posts on the city’s social media platform.

Business owners in Mill Creek Town Center hope the city’s newest art installation will make their cash registers play the happy tune of additional sales.

The Pianos on Main Street project was introduced by Mayor Pam Pruitt and Police Chief Greg Elwin in February based on similar programs in other municipalities, including one in Everett where there are 18 painted pianos on the streets of the downtown business district. Joni Kirk, the city’s communications and marketing director said shoppers will be encouraged “to play their hearts out on the pianos while visiting Mill Creek Town Center.”

The city’s manager of Recreation and Tourism, Brian Davern, was excited how well the project came together.

“It’s rare that people have the opportunity to get hands-on with art,” Davern said. “This is an exciting way people can engage with public art and have fun while doing it.”

The first piano was purchased from an ad on Craigs List, while the other two were donated in response to a post on the Mill Creek social media platform. All three pianos were refurbished by Recreation and Tourism Coordinator Tim Yates in a bay of the city’s Public Works Department.

The pianos were then decorated with the help of students in the art department at Jackson High School and ready to be tuned.

“It was pretty nuts how many parts of the city came together to make this happen,” Davern said. “We had the chief, new recruits, other officers along with city officials in a Public Works truck out picking up the pianos. The Finance Department became involved because we needed funds allotted from the Art and Beautification fund to pay for the first piano we purchased from a home just south of the city. And of course Communications and Marketing.”

Davern said the city has received incredible support from other cities with experience with the program. He said Everett recommended the model of piano that holds up best when left outside and even shared the name of the individual who tunes their pianos.

Everett has its pianos outside during three weeks each summer.  The manager of Recreation and Tourism for Mill Creek said he has no problem with the three pianos in Mill Creek being left outside for a full month because they will all be placed under cover.

The three pianos will be installed on Saturday, July 8, and are scheduled to be left out until the final Art Walk of the summer on Aug. 10.

  • One piano will be placed under the covered bridge between 15163 and 15217 Main Street.
  • The second will be available at the Bus Stop across the street from Cold Stone Creamery.
  • The third will be in the eating plaza inside Central Market.

Davern said the city has already received offers of additional pianos, but will postpone expanding the program until after an evaluation of the results in the fall. He added the city is still scrambling to find a place to keep the three pianos over the winter.

He encouraged visitors and shoppers to take advantage of the interactive art.

“Be sure to take photos of the fun and tag #CityofMillCreek on Instagram,” said Davern.

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