Southern Vermont family featured in international art installment
WESTMINSTER >> From Sept. 23 through Oct. 10 Jeannette Staley and her Daughter Zoe Staley will both have painted pianos featured in the Boston Celebrity Series? The series is an interactive art installation originally created by Luke Jerram entitled "Play Me, I'm Yours."
The concept is simple. Hundreds of pianos are installed throughout a city. Each are designed by different artists and feature the words "Play Me, I'm Yours," with the intention of those viewing the art to participate in an impromptu public performance piece.
The program initially started in 2008. According to Jerrem's web site more than ten million people have been reached and 1500 pianos have been installed in over 50 cities across the world.
Cities such as London, Geneva, and Paris have featured the pianos in previous years.
This year "Play Me, I'm Yours" is produced by the Celebrity Series of Boston, part of Arts for All! The members of Arts for All! describe themselves as a "community engagement initiative that reaches over 10,000 individuals annually through master classes with main stage artists in public schools and conservatories ... for youth led by a core group of Boston area artists,"
Jeanette first got involved in the project when it came to Boston back in 2013. She soon was responsible for tuning the pianos and once Jeanette and her daughter Zoey's artwork was seen they were asked to collaborate on a piano for the project.
The installation is back in Boston as well as Munich this September.
Sixty artists were selected to create pianos that are going to be featured in neighborhoods all across the greater Boston area. Any artist of any ability could apply. There was no limitation on mediums that can be used for each piano. Many will be sculpted, paper mâched, screen-printed, you name it. Nineteen artists will be returning, including Jeannette and her daughter.
"It is just great being in this space with the other artists. Working in South Boston is incredible," Jeannette said.
The pianos were created at the Innovation and Design Building in Jamestown, Boston and will be dispersed throughout the city at the beginning of September.
Their first piano Jeannette and Zoey collaborated on in 2013 "was very centered on Vermont farm life, these next pieces will be very different," she said.
The first piano by the Staleys was placed in a Boston children's hospital.
This time Jeannette wanted to focus on the Muses of Greek poetry and literature. She wanted the artwork to tell a story rather than just paint a picture. "It's all about the Muses," Jeannette said.
She collaborated with Vermont poet Verandah Porche to include the aspect of story telling in her collage based vision of the "Just Play Me" piano.
Porche is a Vermont poet, responsible for the classic "Listening Out Loud" and has also collaborated with numerous musical artists and the Music of our Spheres women chorus in Brattleboro.
Jeannette often uses a combination of impressionism and collage in her art work to create truly unique and eclectic works. Her pieces are featured in galleries across New England. She currently runs the Flying Canvas Studio in Westminster where she began painting floor clothes for her farmhouse. She now creates mixed media and prints at the studio.
Her daughter Zoey will also be painting a piano for the installation. Zoey attends the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston and majors in painting.
The pianos will be completed by Friday to be ready for the September installation. For the Staleys this truly is a family affair. Jeannette's son worked on the previous Boston project in 2013 as a piano tuner and is working closely with them on their current projects.
The project is being funded by the Boston foundation and various other donors.
For more information on "Play Me I'm Yours," go to streetpianos.com
For more information on the Flying Canvas Studio, go to flyingcanvasstudio.com
Jim Mosher may be contacted at email@example.com