The public art and music piano project, Keys to Rome, will launch in historic Downtown Rome on Saturday, May 6 and will run until July 9. Five pianos will be transformed into works of art and placed around Downtown Rome. The public is invited to play the pianos at their leisure, as well as enjoy pop-up performances throughout the season.
The pianos will be placed at five different outdoor locations around Downtown Rome. Local businesses and volunteers will help cover and uncover the pianos daily, as well as when it rains.
Each piano expresses a unique artistic style. Local artists and groups of artists painting and decorating the pianos include: James Schroeder, Siri Selle, Clint Dillard, Swerve Art Studio, Rome Knitterati and Turn Your Back on Hate.
The five pianos were donated by Rome residents Anne White, Ruth Cain, Susan Babcock and Robert Brown. “The response from the community has been great,” said Jeremy Harrison, a volunteer who is instrumental to the project’s development. “When locals heard word of the project idea, we had more offers for piano donations than we could accept.”
Makervillage generously provided a temperature controlled space for the artists to work while both RACA and Turn Your Back on Hate gave funds to support the project. Turn Your Back on Hate has provided volunteer support throughout the entire project from locating and moving pianos to identifying and fulfilling project needs.
The roll out of the project coincides with the launch of the event series, Downtown Rome Saturdays featuring the Ellen Axson Wilson Art Walk and the International Festival. “The inaugural Downtown Rome Saturdays features artistic, cultural, and culinary experiences, so it makes perfect sense to time the Keys to Rome opening with the downtown street festival,” said Kristi Kent, Director of Communications for the Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism.
Local piano students will perform during opening day with performances starting a 11:00 a.m. and running until 4:15 p.m. The performances are made possible thanks to the support of Rome piano teachers Kyla Zollitsch, Shelley Reid and Kathryn Nobles.
“The public pianos and performances are a great way to introduce children and adults to both classical music and the visual arts, who otherwise may not have come across it on their own,” said Kent. “The visual draw of each artful piano is sure to attract artists, musicians, and admiring spectators.”
There is also a fun, scavenger hunt tied to the piano project. Jessie Reed of Turn Your Back on Hate teamed up with Andi Beyer of Rome Labels to coordinate a challenge where participants find a hidden word on each piano. Visit all five pianos to collect the words and then unscramble the words to make a sentence. Those interested can pick up a game card at the visitor centers and return the completed card for a prize. The visitor centers are located in downtown (adjacent to the Town Green); 300 W. First St.; and at Rome-Floyd location at 402 Civic Center Dr.
Everyone is encouraged to share Keys to Rome experiences by tagging photos and videos with #KeystoRome. Pop-up concert announcements will be made on the Facebook page: Facebook/KeystoRomeGA.
The public art program is made possible with the support of Turn Your Back on Hate and Rome Area Council for the Arts (RACA), and Makervillage; in partnership with the City of Rome and the Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism.