You never know who will sit down and put on an impromptu show – and that’s the beauty of the six uniquely designed street pianos Bedrock Real Estate Services has placed around downtown Detroit! In a recent Instagram video, one man wows the crowd with an incredible performance at the piano outside Chase Tower (611 Woodward). The individually designed instruments are located outside various Bedrock properties for anyone to enjoy.
“The pianos are helping to develop a sense of downtown community,” says James Millar, Bedrock’s Director of Activation and Placemaking. “They are a catalyst to encourage people to engage and interact with their environment and more importantly, with each other.”
Pianos can be found outside 611 Woodward, One Detroit Center, One Campus Martius, and on Monroe Street. People frequently gather around when musicians stop to play. Sometimes, a group will break out in song.
The city of Detroit has always been known for its musical presence, from Motown to popular summer concerts like the Detroit Jazz Fest and Electronic Music Festival. As the city evolves, music remains an important component.
Music Meets Art
In addition to beautiful music, each of the street pianos adds a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork to Detroit. Each piano was donated by a homeowner in the Metro Detroit area, and more than 60 local artists submitted proposed designs.
Jeremy Aiken, a Quicken Loans team member, is the artist behind the black piano outside of The Qube. Aiken is a self-taught artist who describes his style as “a mix between a graffiti artist and a hyper realistic painter.”
The front of his piano combines a black and white view of Woodward and the skyline of the city. The other side mirrors the same skyline, but is painted with vibrant colors to illustrate an obvious contrast.
Aiken wants his artwork to reflect his view of Detroit.
“If you’re willing to look from a different angle you realize [Detroit] is filled with color and life,” he said. “I want people to sit down at the piano and feel the city.”
Evan Tasiopoulos is another artist who is motivated by giving back to Detroit. He was responsible for painting the piano outside Detroit Experience Factory on Monroe street. Tasiopoulos was born and raised in the city, and is the co-founder of a Detroit based artist organization called The MATI Group, which showcases local, unknown artists through shows and concerts.
The inspiration for his piano design came from a photograph he took on Atwater Street, one of his favorite places in the city because of its incredible view.
“I’ve always wanted to showcase Detroit in a positive light, to show the true beauty of the city,” he said.
Tasiopoulos is thankful for the opportunity to participate in the street piano initiative.
“I am truly honored to be a part of this project,” he said. “It has been a lifelong dream to create a public [art] instillation for the city that will be seen by thousands of people.”
All six pianos are free and can be used anytime by anyone. They are there for YOU to play. The street pianos will remain outdoors through October.