By: Emily Helms, Project Organizer, Resonate by MADJAX—
Muncie, IN—Local residents will have the chance to create music and memories with street pianos this summer and early fall. The five pianos were painted by local artists and will be displayed outdoors in various locations throughout Muncie. Madjax, a makerspace and community hub for innovation, collaboration, and design, is overseeing the project.
The idea for the project originated with and is being organized by Emily Helms, a Madjax member who frequently noticed visitors to the building playing a member-donated piano. “I saw an opportunity for our makers to collaborate and to bring what we’re doing at Madjax out into our community. I also wanted to give anyone who doesn’t have access to a piano a chance to play one this summer,” said Helms.
The designs were chosen from proposal submissions following an artist callout in mid April. Those submitting a proposal were required to live in Delaware County and to submit a design with a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) orientation. The artists worked on their pianos at Madjax throughout the spring and early summer, and the pianos were unveiled at several receptions for the artists held at Madjax.
The pianos, and their locations in the community, are as follows:
Yellow Submarine, a Beatles-themed piano by Emily Thornton, will be located at Be Here Now, an independent music venue near the Ball State campus. Thornton, a recent Ball State University graduate and digital/animation artist, called her work on the piano “a labor of love.” “It was intended to be a tribute to both the artistic and musical legacy that are The Beatles,” said Thornton in the artist statement accompanying her work.
Sing, Dance, and Grow Merriment, an eclectic work of patterns and vibrant colors by Debra Gindhart, will be located on the patio of downtown restaurant Casa del Sol. “My art is storytelling using strokes, spray and baubles,” says Gindhart. “Through years of community outreach arts programming, I hold multi-generational projects close to my artist heart. My works reflect the information gathered in my different age progressions. Art is in my spirit, resounding from my soul.”
Atoms and Cosmic Rays was designed and painted by Sarah Vise, a recent Ball State University graduate with degrees in physics and astronomy, with help from Maggie Weeks-Foy and Quinn Hurley. It will be located at Motivate our Minds in the Whitely neighborhood. “Science is what gives us the beautiful things we see in this collective existence, and one goal of mine is to share that beauty with my community,” said Vise.
Chromesthesia, painted by Denise King, will reside at Madjax and will make periodic appearances outdoors when the weather allows. Chromesthesia, or sound-to-color synesthesia, is a type of synesthesia in which heard sounds automatically and involuntarily evoke an experience of color (source: Wikipedia.org). King’s art uses vibrant colors within the mechanisms of the piano, which are visible to the viewer, in order to express this concept.
Young artist Forrest King’s child-sized piano features a homage to the artist’s favorite video games and characters. It will also reside at Madjax to be displayed outdoors when the weather allows.
The pianos are currently being coated with a protective finish to help them withstand several months of being outdoors. They will be moved to their respective locations within the next two weeks and will remain outdoors until mid to late fall, after which time they will be moved back to Madjax. Members of the public are invited and encouraged to play the pianos once they are moved to their locations and to share their experiences on social media and to share their experiences using the hashtag #resonate.
Madjax would like to thank Tribune Showprint and Delaware County Coalition of Wrestlers for donating their time and equipment to help move the pianos.
Mike Rhodes attempts to play one song on multiple street pianos before they get moved into the community.
About Resonate by MADJAX
Resonate projects use sound, light, art, and technology to create stronger community connections. Resonate is a project of MADJAX Makerforce, a program of Sustainable Muncie, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.