Local artists, American Pianists Association restore pianos for public use

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — “Spark” is making its return to downtown Indianapolis. It’s the same group that brought activities and games like ping pong and yoga to the circle for two months last year. On Monday, Spark will roll out at at City Market.

Two of the biggest attractions are public pianos outside the market. There’s a grand piano on the Delaware Street side of the building and another on Alabama side. The pianos were almost never played again, but thanks to local artists they’re getting more attention than ever.

Rita Spalding is an accomplished artist, but she’ll admit she’s not a musician. Still, she jumped at the opportunity when the American Pianists Association asked her to restore a nearly century-old grand piano.

“It’s completely outside the norm of what I do typically…physically, it’s the biggest project I’ve taken on,” said Spalding, “A lot of Grand pianos end up in landfills, which shocked me. I love that this one kind of got saved by the bell. So to speak. Saved by the paint,” said Spalding.

Spalding chose a theme “fragile things and tenacious things” for her piano. It’s covered in different types of bird eggs, feathers and seedpods.

“It kind of represents all the different people that are going to be playing it. I’d imagine there will be a wide variety of people. Different backgrounds, histories, different families. I’m looking forward to seeing all the different people that are going to play it,” said Spalding.

Once she finished the painting, movers delivered the piano and City Market became an art gallery and a concert hall at all once.

“It really enlivens the setting…they made something out of a used piano that was going to be dumpster material and they’ve made into a treasure. It’s wonderful,” said Lee Clifford with the American Pianists Association.

Anyone is welcome to play the pianos or just sit and listen.

“Office mates might come and try to out-duel each other on the piano,” said Clifford.

Spalding’s grand piano has already inspired one musician to write a song.

“There’s something about people that are using that knowledge, or using any of their knowledge of music making it count in a public forum like this where they can bring people some enjoyment,” said musician Ben Asaykwee.

The pianos and the rest of the activities will be at City Market until sometime in October. If you play the piano, the American Pianists Association encourages you to post a video or photos using #AmericanPianistsAwards #circlespark #CitySparket and #bigcarcollaborative.

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