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Deseret Industries places 4 pianos around Salt Lake for public to play, enjoy

SHARE Deseret Industries places 4 pianos around Salt Lake for public to play, enjoy

SALT LAKE CITY — Four refurbished pianos from Deseret Industries are being placed throughout Salt Lake City as part of a collaboration between the Mundi Project and the LDS Welfare Services Department.

The hope is that people who see the pianos at Abravanel Hall, the Gallivan Center, Liberty Park and the Salt Lake City Main Library will have fun playing them.

“We believe in finding the potential in items and people, and finding the music in people,” said Angela King, social media producer for Deseret Industries.

King said it's a way to let others enjoy some of its secondhand items.

“It doesn’t matter if you play 'Heart and Soul,' and it doesn’t matter if you play Beethoven,” she said. “We had someone play Van Halen the other day. It’s just super fun to see people engage with each other and sharing music.”

The refurbished pianos have become a canvas for some local artists, King said.

“We reached out to artists that we liked, people who believed in the mission and what we were doing," she said. "We partnered with the Mundi Project, and they also had some recommendations for artists too that we used.”

This is something that’s been done in other cities, including London, Denver and San Antonio, King said.

“We were looking for a way to celebrate the summer and to celebrate all the people who donate and shop at D.I.,” she said. “We thought this was a fun way to do it, just to add this flavor to the city this summer, and music is so awesome.”

Cheryl Johnson is one of the artists asked to help with this project.

“I just always remember enjoying art, enjoying coloring, painting and things, and feeling like I had a knack for it, which kind of encouraged me to keep going with it,” she said.

Johnson got a call from Deseret Industries asking if she would like to be a part of the project and paint one of the pianos. It was an odd request, she said, but one she gladly accepted.

“It immediately intrigued me,” Johnson said. “It sounded like a fun idea.”

After weeks of planning and 15-straight hours of painting, the piano was finally finished.

“Knowing that it was going to be displayed publicly, (I) kind of wanted it to be something fun and something that would encourage people to want to play the piano,” she said.

Two of the pianos have been painted; two have not, Kings said. One will be painted by people who attend the Utah Arts Festival and later placed at the Salt Lake City Main Library.

King said the piano at Liberty Park will be painted soon.

The pianos will be out for the entire summer. Deseret Industries will then give them away as part of its See the Potential piano campaign. For more information, go to www.deseretindustries.org/piano.

“I think people should just enjoy it,” King said. “Sit down and play, even if you’re not good. It’s so much fun.”

Contributing: Ashley Moser