Art, music popping up in Homewood
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com July 26, 2012 10:50PM
Anna Barannikova, 13, of Homewood, plays one of the Pianos on Parade on Dixie Highway in Homewood Thurssday July 12, 2012. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 28, 2012 6:01AM
Art and music have been popping up all over Homewood this summer as part of a fun, interactive public art project.
“Pop Uprights to Play” is a new project sponsored by the Homewood Council for the Arts that will place as many as 10 artistically painted pianos throughout the village.
Homewood fine-tuned its Pop-Up Art program, which began last summer featuring artwork in vacant storefronts. Now it is inviting folks of all ages to tickle the ivories, view the painted objects and check out local businesses, all at the same time.
If “music = life” – as is written on the bright yellow piano on Dixie Highway — then Homewood and its business districts must be bustling with life.
While some have yet to be painted, one piano was located inside at Independence Adult Day Care and a second one recently was placed in the Southgate Plaza in the 18700 block of Dixie Highway, where late one afternoon a small crowd gathered, including piano students and parents.
Will Maharry, 8, was tapping out Beethoven, while teenager Anna Barannikova entertained with “Dreaming with a Broken Heart.”
“I heard from some friends that the piano was out here,” she said. “The piano is slightly beat up, so you have to move down an octave.”
The donated pianos may have a few stuck or missing keys, but that does not detract from the fun of it all. They are creating a sense of community as well as a buzz in the business district, said Rachael Jones, Homewood’s special events and public relations manager.
“When people know where the pianos are, they tend to be there. People plan on it. The pianos are becoming a destination,” Jones said.
“People have been here all day long,” said Angela Thomas, of Thomas Photographic Services. “It’s definitely a good idea to get people out here.”
One woman brought her own chair and umbrella and played for a half-hour, attracting a small crowd, Thomas said.
“Even a delivery truck driver played a couple of notes,” she said. “Everyone wants to touch it.”
As people come to shop, they are hanging around, spending time in front of the storefronts, Jones said. The key to the program is to direct public attention to shops and restaurants they may not have noticed before.
Village Trustees Anne Colton, Lisa Purcell and Jay Heiferman brought the idea to village staff, who modeled Homewood’s program after similar ones in San Francisco, New York City and the United Kingdom.
It’s the same concept as the painted storefronts, with art popping up in unexpected places.
The pianos will travel to a new destination every weekend, where they will remain Thursdays through Mondays. They will continue to pop up throughout the village until Homewood’s annual Fall Fest on Sept. 15.
The village announces the locations of the Pop-Up Pianos on its Facebook page, and encourages people to take photos of piano players to post on Facebook.
There are three pianos for now, but as many as 10 have been donated and will be placed on Homewood’s streets as soon as they are painted by local artists.
After Fall Fest, they still may be available to view, but perhaps indoors during the winter months, with plans to have them return next summer.
The public art project will continue next year with plans to create fiberglass sculptures, inspired by Chicago’s “Cows on Parade.”