Playing around South Orange: Take 2
Emily Balan/Staff Photographer
The streetside pianos have returned to South Orange as the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) presents the second annual public art project "Playin’ Around South Orange."
The six decorated pianos are set up in different spots throughout the town and will be around until Oct. 6.
In addition to Sloan Street, locations include Spiotta Park, Irvington and W. Fairview Avenues, Cameron Park, The Gateway, and here on campus, outside the University Center.
Students are encouraged to play their favorite sing-a-long tunes or tickle the ivories when inspiration strikes.
This project is sponsored by SOPAC, the Village of South Orange, Seton Hall University and the South Orange Community Alliance (SOVCA).
Professional musicians kicked off the event Aug. 23 from noon until 1 p.m. in each of the six locations that pianos were initially placed.
There will be professional players at the Sloan Street Gazebo every Wednesday until the conclusion of the project. The pianos then will be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting SOPAC’s education programs.
"I really enjoy listening to the piano," Junior Samantha Cutrone said. "I am taking piano for credit and (this project) is an easy way to practice."
Students and faculty were also responsible for decorating the piano on campus.
For the other pianos, artists were selected through an application process.
These artists decorated the pianos in an array of themes ranging from a Ray Charles tribute to the depiction of a colorful kitten.
Artists include Bill Bellec, Maeva Fouché, Lawrence Ciarallo, Sarah Walters and "Mac" McPeters.
South Orange resident Bill Bellec drew inspiration from the number of keys on a piano to create a rock ‘n’ roll automobile themed piano.
Sarah Walters, also from South Orange, drew inspiration from her son and mother, who had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She painted the entire piano to resemble a cat, a tribute to her mother’s feline friend.
Newark native Maeva Fouché wants to "spread that feeling of ‘Happiness’" with bold and bright colors in a mix of Caribbean and African style.
Hoboken artist Lawrence Ciarallo also hopes to send a message through his work. This project is an opportunity for residents to start a dialogue about the great piano musicians of the past. In this motif, Ciarallo painted a portrait of Ray Charles.
Emily Balan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.