‘Ridiculous pink piano’ adds fun to Washington Market Park

Devon Blum, Greta Biggins and Hayden Van Zandt play Washington Market Park’s pink piano, available to play until June 16. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Van Zandt.

By KAITLYN MEADE | It may not be typical park equipment, but the piano placed in Tribeca’s Washington Market Park is open for anyone to play, until June 16. Washington Market Park received one of 88 uniquely decorated pianos from the Sing for Hope organization — one for every key on a piano — which places hand-painted pianos throughout the five boroughs in public spaces.

Friends of Washington Market Park unveiled the public art installation on the morning of Saturday, June 1.

The piano, which sits just inside the entrance to the park at Duane and Reade Sts., is the second the Tribeca park has hosted. A Sing for Hope piano was also in the park in 2011, said Friends’ member Jill Geisinger. The Friends group maintains the instrument, which is open daily unless it rains. They are hoping to attract a few professional musicians for free public performances.

In the meantime, anyone is free to play on it, whether experienced or experimenting, for the next two weeks, after which the pianos are donated to under-served local schools, healthcare facilities and community organizations.

Sing for Hope was founded in 2006 by singers Camille Zamora and Monica Yunus as a way for local artists to engage with their communities and bring music and art to public spaces. The piano in Washington Market Park was painted by Long Island artist Paul Motisi, who said that he jumped at the opportunity.

“It’s hard to put into words how grateful I am for the experience, but in all honesty, it’s rare when you find yourself such a positive space, where you’re helping others and helping yourself simultaneously,” Motisi said in an email to Downtown Express. “If this ridiculous pink piano becomes a vessel for someone else’s learning, or a source of inspiration, or even if it just makes them look and forget about their problems for a minute, that alone is so invaluable, and I think all I could ever want as an artist.”

A video on the Sing for Hope website shows a time-lapse of the piano coming to life in vibrant hues.

Washington Market Park's pink piano on opening day, June 1.Photo courtesy of Jennifer Van Zandt..
Washington Market Park’s pink piano on opening day, June 1. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Van Zandt..