The last Play Me, I’m Yours piano I discovered was my favorite because it had a writing theme! This black and white piano, located on the edge of a pocket park near the Arizona Museum of Natural History, was decorated with flowers and the reasons why people write. Some reasons people gave for writing:
I write because the pen is my weapon.
I write to say, “I was here.”
I write because my ancestors weren’t allowed to.
I write to honor my second chances.
I write to relieve myself from pain.
I write to speak my mind, even when my voice shakes.
While researching this post, I discovered the community group responsible for this piano was Phonetic Spit. According to their website,
Through the intersections of Literary Arts, Youth Development, and Social Justice programs, Phonetic Spit creates Brave Space to empower young and emerging adults to find, develop and publicly present their voices as agents of societal change.
I can understand how a group of young people interested in the literary arts, publicly presenting their voices, and societal change would use this opportunity to tell the world why writing is important to each of them.
According to the Street Pianos webpage dedicated to this piano (#4), the artist who did the work on it was Tomas Stanton. A Phoenix New Times article (“100 Creatives”) from 2012 called Tomas Stanton
a poet, writer, teaching artist, and community activist. He says he’s a self-taught artist dedicated to advancing the art of spoken word through fusion with theatre and dance.
Stanton is co-founder of Phoenix’s premiere youth spoken word ensemble, Phonetic Spit. He uses hip-hop pedagogy to inspire youth to boldly express themselves through poetry, dance, theatre, and graffiti. His work and teaching style is rooted in his childhood experiences of poverty and single parent household, political issues, identity, and love.
This piano’s Street Pianos webpage also says it was donated by the First United Methodist Church of Mesa and was sponsored by Two Men And A Truck.
My favorite words on this piano read, “Your Voice Matters.” This message is important to everyone who may feel silenced in the current political climate. Every voice matters. Some will say the only voices that matter come from the throats of the rich or the males or the people with light skin. This is not the true. The truth is every voice matters. My voice matters and your voice matters. Let’s all speak our minds, even when our voices shake.
I took all of the photos in this post.
If you missed the other posts about the Play Me, I’m Yours pianos, here’s a brief summary :
Touring internationally since 2008, Play Me, I’m Yours is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram. Reaching over 10 million people worldwide – more than 1,500 street pianos have already been installed in over 50 cities across the globe, from London to New York, bearing the simple instruction Play Me, I’m Yours.
Located on streets, in public parks, markets and train stations the pianos are temporarily available for everyone to play and enjoy. Play Me, I’m Yours invites the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment. Decorated by local artists and community groups, the pianos create a place of exchange and an opportunity for people to connect.