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First pianos will be delivered for Luke Jerram’s Play Me, I’m Yours street pianos project in Bristol as sponsors are announced

The first pianos will be delivered today (Thursday 29th June) for Luke Jerram’s smash hit Play Me, I’m Yours street pianos project, which is coming to Bristol’s streets this summer, as sponsors are announced.

The artwork is a musical trail of 18 individually-decorated pianos installed in public spaces across a city, for everyone to play and enjoy. This marks the 10th year of the project which has seen over 1700 pianos in over 55 cities across the globe reaching over 10 million people, bearing the simple instruction Play Me, I’m Yours.

The initial batch of pianos will arrive by truck at the Bearpit in Bristol city centre today (Thursday), before being put into storage ready to be decorated later this summer. Play Me, I’m Yours runs in Bristol from Thursday 17th August to Thursday 7th September.

The sponsors who have made the project a reality have now been announced. They are:

At-Bristol Science Centre; Paintworks; Brunel’s SS Great Britain; St George’s Bristol; Tobacco Factory; The Broadmead BID; The Galleries Shopping Centre; The Mall at Cribbs Causeway; University of Bristol; Urban Creation; Wapping Wharf.

The locations of the street pianos will be announced later this summer ahead of the launch.

Luke Jerram said: “Firstly, thank you to all our brilliant sponsors whose support of this project has ensured we can make it a reality for Bristol this year, filling its streets with music and bringing communities together. Without their backing, it would not have been possible, so we are hugely grateful to them.

“It’s very exciting to see the first pianos arrive at The Bearpit, right in the heart of the city, and a real hub of creativity, reflecting the spirit of Play Me, I’m Yours. It means it is only a matter of weeks now until the piano art trail kicks off and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds – people always embrace it in different ways in each city, which is all part of the fun!”

This is the first time the project has been funded through the sponsorship of individual pianos. Arts Council England has match-funded the project, after £20,000 was raised via a crowd funder, as part of a national scheme to encourage wider funding of the arts.

Suzanne Rolt, chief executive of St George’s Bristol, said: “Summer in Bristol looks set to become a lot more fun with this new piano trail! As a concert hall that attracts the world’s very best classically trained and contemporary pianists, we’re delighted to be part of an initiative that gives people a chance to unleash their inner pianist. It’s also important for us to be supporting Luke Jerram who has also designed an exquisite glass sculpture, Apollo, which will take pride of place within our new extension when we relaunch in February.”

Ashley Nicholson, from Verve, which owns Paintworks, said: “‘We thought the project would be colourful and fun, and can’t wait to see it brightening up our days!”

Sally Cordwell, deputy CEO of the SS Great Britain Trust, said: “The Trust is thrilled to be supporting Luke Jerram’s Play Me, I’m Yours street pianos project, an exciting city-wide trail. This is a brilliant opportunity for Bristol to embrace its creative spirit and for people from across the city to get out and explore the great outdoors, enjoy making music, have some fun and maybe make some new friends in the process!”

Anna Gilman, events manager at Tobacco Factory, said: “We are excited to be part of this fantastic project and hope that by having pianos across Bristol we can bring the community together, connecting young and old through music.”

Jo Hawkins, Broadmead BID manager, said: “We are really pleased to be part of the Play Me I’m Yours street pianos project – this will be fantastic for Bristol.  In a city full of musical talent, I am sure that a trail of beautifully decorated pianos will be very positively received.”

Colin Lang, centre manager at The Galleries Shopping Centre, said: “This is an incredible project to be involved with – music is iconic to this city so it seemed only fitting that we sponsor this musical initiative. I really hope our shoppers get behind this movement and use these stunningly crafted and decorated pianos positioned across Bristol.”

Maggie Leggett, director of marketing and communications at the University of Bristol, said: “We’re really excited to be working in harmony with Luke Jerram to bring such a fun and interactive musical experience to Bristol. As a University, we have a strong commitment to public art and know how much joy previous art trails have brought to the city. I’m sure Play Me, I’m Yours will be a resounding success in a city so famous for its creativity.”

Jonathan Brecknell, director and owner of Urban Creation, said: “Bristol’s creativity is one of the things I love about this city. It is what makes it so unique, vibrant and dynamic. Play Me, I’m Yours is such a brilliant way of celebrating Bristol’s creative spirit, and is a fantastic way of bringing people and communities together, so we are thrilled to support it. This is a project that is close to my heart, having played the piano throughout my childhood. I’m sure I won’t be able to resist having a go at reviving my piano playing this summer!”

Stuart Hatton, director at Umberslade, the developer behind Wapping Wharf, said: “I’ve watched Luke Jerram take his amazing street pianos project around the world, from Melbourne to New York, and Paris to Singapore, and it is really something special to see people and communities from across the globe embrace it in their own way and bring music to everyday life. It’s a real pleasure to be supporting this brilliant initiative, and I can’t wait for it to launch in Bristol this summer.”

Jon Kelly, owner of The Piano Shop Bath, which has collected and refurbished pianos donated by the public, as well as supplying the rest of the pianos needed for the project, said: “We admire the way Luke Jerram has fused music, creativity, art and the use of public space to create something that is really unique. Street pianos are fun whilst being at the same time thought-provoking.

“Of course, the fact that the piano lies at the heart of this project is wonderful because it reminds everyone that this classic acoustic instrument still has a significant role to play in our communities and everyday lives. It is an instrument we wouldn’t be without, so we find it very gratifying to see the joy it brings to people who don’t always necessarily have access to a piano.”

The three pianos arriving at the Bearpit are being delivered from the Piano Shop Bath, a key partner of Play Me, I’m Yours in Bristol.

The globally-successful project has spawned marriage proposals, inspired musical compositions, helped discover new stars and been played by celebrities including Jamie Cullum, Jools Holland, Alicia Keys and Cindy Lauper.

The idea of bringing Play Me, I’m Yours to Bristol this summer has been endorsed by Destination Bristol.

During the project, you can share your stories, photos and videos via www.bristolstreetpianos.co.uk and on social media, Facebook (@bristolstreetpianos), Twitter (@streetpianos) and Instagram by searching streetpianos, using the hashtag #bristolstreetpianos

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