Art: Crowdfunder launches to expand Bristol piano art trail

Bristol24/7, May 2, 2017

Bristol artist Luke Jerram’s world-famous street piano project Play Me, I’m Yours is to return to Bristol this summer.

The team working with Jerram has secured enough funding from sponsors to make the project viable and has now started crowdfunding to raise £10,000 from the public to expand the piano trail into wider districts of Bristol.

Jerram’s artwork is a musical trail of individually-decorated pianos installed in public spaces across a city, for everyone to play and enjoy. 2017 marks the tenth year of the project, which has seen more than 1,700 pianos in more than 50 cities across the globe reaching more than 10 million people.

Play Me I’m Yours in Bristol. Pic: Luke Jerram

Arts Council England (ACE) has promised to provide match-funding for the project, if £20,000 is raised via the crowdfunding, as part of a national scheme to encourage wider funding of the arts.

It has already lodged its £20,000 funding on Crowdfunder and an additional £10,000 has been raised by businesses, but the full £40,000 target must be raised for the ACE funding to be released.

“It is fantastic news that we’ve managed to get the project off the ground with the very generous support of sponsors around the city, and we have enough funds for 15 pianos at the moment,” Jerram explains.

“However, our aim is to increase the number of pianos in the trail to enable us to put them in wider districts across the city so that more people and communities can benefit from the project this summer.

“The Arts Council is generously offering £1 for every £1 donated and we just need to raise a further £10,000 from our Crowdfunder to release this match-funding. We’re looking for public donations large and small and are asking people to help make this project work for the wider city.

“Anyone who likes the idea of filling the city’s streets with music this summer can help us reach our target and many of the pianos will end up being donated to community organisations afterwards which will provide a lasting legacy for the project.”

This is the first time the project has been funded through sponsoring individual pianos and it has received strong financial backing from a range of businesses, tourist destinations and arts organisations across the city, keen to adopt a piano.

Sao Paolo. Pic: Caio Buni

“We’re incredibly grateful to the sponsors who’ve already come forward to back Play Me, I’m Yours and invest in the community in this way,” Jerram adds.

“If there are other potential sponsors out there who’d like to get involved, we’d love to hear from them of course as the more support we have, the greater the impact the project will have.”

Sponsors for the Bristol trail get to have a say in how their piano is decorated and have their own events incorporated into the official trail, as well as determining at the end of the project what happens to their musical instrument, either deciding to keep it or donating it to a local community or charity.

The idea of bringing Play Me, I’m Yours to Bristol this summer has already received the support of Bristol City Council and Destination Bristol.

Anyone wanting to donate to the project can do so via www.crowdfunder.co.uk/bristol-street-pianos
Any organisation interested in sponsoring a piano should contact Sally Reay at admin@streetpianos.com

Top pic: The Great Imposter

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