Seattle’s Pianos in the Parks program encourages park discovery through music

Ah summer, which in Seattle brings out swimmers, cyclists, picnickers… and pianos!

It’s music to our ears: the pianos are back. After a successful first campaign, Pianos in the Parks will be returning for a second season on July 16. The month-long program will add to additional pianos to the roster this year, totaling 22 pianos in Puget Sound-area locations. Seattle Parks and Recreation will host 11 pianos in public parks.

The program, led by Laird Norton Wealth Management, is designed to encourage the discovery of parks through music and art by placing one-of-a-kind, artist-designed upright and grand pianos in parks and public spaces across King County including Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Mercer Island and Sea-Tac, for free public use and music exploration.

All 22 previously owned pianos are procured, repaired, tuned, transported and maintained by Classic Pianos; and are painted by student, alumni and faculty artists of Gage Academy of Art.

The specific parks and public spaces which will host the pianos through Aug. 16 will be announced at a public kick-off celebration from noon to 1:30pm on Thursday, July 16 at Lake Union Park – See more at: http://parkways.seattle.gov/2015/07/08/pianos-in-the-parks-encourage-park-discovery-through-music/#sthash.vq7rBMDn.dpuf
The specific parks and public spaces which will host the pianos through Aug. 16 will be announced at a public kick-off celebration from noon to 1:30pm on Thursday, July 16 at Lake Union Park (860 Terry Avenue North) near the park’s model boat pond in downtown Seattle. At the celebration, local artists who painted the pianos will unveil their works of art – followed by a musical performance in which all 22 instruments will be played by local pianists. Also participating in the event are a number of musicians, city and county officials, and program partners. Following the unveiling, the public will have an opportunity to view all 22 pianos, meet the artists and be treated to additional musical performances. – See more at: http://parkways.seattle.gov/2015/07/08/pianos-in-the-parks-encourage-park-discovery-through-music/#sthash.vq7rBMDn.dpuf

via Pianos in the Parks encourage park discovery through music.

There will be a public “opening” of the pianos from noon to 1:30pm on Thursday, July 16 at Lake Union Park (860 Terry Avenue North) near the park’s model boat pond in downtown Seattle.

The pianos will welcome park-goers in their respective locations thru Aug. 16. During this time, people of all skill levels and musical persuasions are urged to enter a Pianos in the Parks video contest for a chance to perform as part of the Seattle Center’s Concerts at the Mural presented by KEXP 90.3 FM on Friday, Aug. 21. Entrants simply need to upload a video of their performance using one of the participating pianos to the Pianos in the Parks website, http://www.pianosintheparks.com beginning July 16.

Find a piano, take a picture or video of yourself with it, and share with the world!

from noon to 1:30pm on Thursday, July 16 at Lake Union Park (860 Terry Avenue North) near the park’s model boat pond in downtown Seattle – See more at: http://parkways.seattle.gov/2015/07/08/pianos-in-the-parks-encourage-park-discovery-through-music/#sthash.vq7rBMDn.dpuf

Rainbow crosswalks are newest symbol of Seattle Pride Week | KOMO News

Several Seattle crosswalks are getting a new rainbow-colored coat of paint to celebrate Pride Week, and the city is planning to make them permanent.

Eleven of the rainbow crosswalks were unveiled Tuesday, including one at 10th Avenue and Pike Street on gay-friendly Capitol Hill.

Local groups have been campaigning for the crosswalks for a couple of years. They cost about $6,000 each, and are being paid for by fees for new private developers on Capitol Hill.

via Rainbow crosswalks are newest symbol of Seattle Pride Week | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KOMO News.

I love these not only because they are symbols of gay pride, they are also colorful and playful symbols of the neighbor’s character. Public art that the public engages with every time they cross the street.

Check out the Seattle Rainbow Crosswalk‘s Facebook page to see more pics and get more updates.

Seattle Department of Transportation: Seattle Parklet Program & Streatery Pilot Program

Way to go Seattle!

After a successful year-and-a-half long pilot, we’re excited to announce that the Parklet Program is now a permanent program! This means that Seattle businesses and community groups have even more opportunities to enhance our streets with public spaces.

As part of this launch, we’re also rolling out a brand-new approach to activating our streets: the Streateries Pilot Program. What’s a “streatery” you ask? Streateries combine the best features of a parklet and a sidewalk café by allowing a restaurant, café, or bar to use a parking space to create outdoor seating for their customers during business hours (like a café) and for the public during non-business hours (like a parklet).

there is still time to sign up your company if you’re interested via Seattle Department of Transportation: Seattle Parklet Program & Streatery Pilot Program.

I look forward to seeing lots of little Parklets spring up around the city as we start to emerge from the winter wet and dark.

Seattle Places Pianos in its Parks for the Summer

Happy Monday. If I ever needed a pick-me-up it is this week, so what’s better than a little music – outdoors – for free – via crowdsourced pianos.

 

Piano placed in Volunteer Park, Seattle.

Piano placed in Volunteer Park, Seattle.

Seattle and the Great Northwest are known for their natural beauty. And there is no greater place to enjoy nature locally, than within the hundreds of Seattle and King County parks and open spaces. Regardless of where we live, work or play, parks are great economic equalizers – providing us all with venues for relaxation, exercise, recreation and entertainment. Seattle and King County is also known as a place where music and the visual and performing arts all thrive.

In the Pianos in the Parks public-private partnership, some of the region’s leading music and arts organizations have come together to encourage us all to discover our parks. It all starts with an alluring piano. And not just any old piano – these pianos have been donated, restored and tuned by Classic Pianos and dynamically designed by the students, faculty and friends of Gage Academy of Art. With partners like Seattle Symphony, KEXP, and City of Music who knows who you’ll find tickling the ivories of one of these pianos? From baseball to dog parks, concerts to picnics – we all now have another reason to DISCOVER OUR PARKS: the PIANO. ENJOY!

via About Pianos in the Parks » Pianos in the Parks.

Other cities have done this or similar projects before, so it is great to see this sort of project come to Seattle.

Find a piano near you!

Bubble Bath Seattle 2014- Yay Today!

I don’t recall this parable from Dr. Seuss, but I like the idea of a bubblefest!

If you want to recapture your childhood this weekend, head to Cal Anderson Park in Seattle, WA, with a gallon or so of soapy liquid for Bubble Bath Seattle, the biggest bubble fight this city has ever seen.

From 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Cal Anderson will transform into a sea of bubbles. Evidently these events have been going on in New York for years, but it’s the first time that Seattle has ever seen something this epic. Organizers draw inspiration from Dr. Seuss’s The Butter Battle Book

more via Bubble Bath Seattle 2014- Yay Today!.

Remembering to play even as the sun goes away

Happy Friday!

Now that we’re officially into fall, with the weather getting colder and wetter by the day, and all back to school or indoors,it’s important to remind ourselves of opportunities to get out and play.

Idea is Free Museum and Park Day tomorrow; September 28: over 1500 museums, and national and state parks, are opening up their doors to the public for free!

For some more structured play, there are great art, dance, and play-based programs for little and big kids. One just opened up in Colorado, and definitely understands the value of play:

dance

The Curious About Art program is just one of many preschool arts education programs the South Suburban Parks and Recreation District offers throughout the year. It’s not so much about the final product the kids create, but the journey and experiencing sensory exploration with their parents.

“It will probably look like something you expect an 18-month-old to make, something unrecognizable but still pretty wonderful,” said Vickie Willis, culture and enrichment supervisor for South Suburban.

“Everyone needs to play,” Willis said. “It makes us feel good, it unleashes possibilities in our brain, it makes us think better.”

Aside from encouraging play, the purpose of the classes is to prepare kids for a school environment by getting them socialized to being around other children, as well as developing motor skills.

“It’s to develop the motor skills, and the little ones just want to explore their world so music and art is a good way of doing that,” said Janice Schindler, the culture and enrichment coordinator at Goodson Recreation Center

more via Arts education programs in Centennial open possibilities – The Denver Post.

Seattle has a newly-minted hip-hop program for little kids that also focuses on the value of play and silliness in education:

Mini BREAKS is the original hip-hop dance class (breakin’ or “break dance”) for toddlers and preschoolers.

In this unique class, young students will have fun while they exercise, express themselves, think creatively, build self-esteem, practice respect, learn discipline and make new friends!

Outside of a dance studio, hip-hop culture (including breakin’) is not taught through choreography or 8-counts but more intuitively through interactive demonstration. Mini BREAKS focuses on encouraging young children to be creative and courageous – to come up with their own ideas and be able to express themselves by sharing those ideas with others. All children are artists – Mini BREAKS helps them remain artists as they grow up!

more via: Seattle’s Massive Monkees Open Hip-Hop Dance Studio

So remember to play and wiggle even as the weather gets cold and dark.

Happy Park(ing) Day 2013!

Parking Day, Pioneer Square Seattle

Participants of Parking Day setting up a game in Pioneer Square, Seattle. Photo by author.

Today is PARK(ing) Day, “an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks.”

Every year I see some amazing games, maps, and other cool uses of parking spaces set up all over Seattle.

Go out and explore the different parklets!

more via Park(ing) Day 2013 | PARK(ing) Day 2013 is Friday, September 20th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side View on Park(ing) Day aktivity by Green C...

Side View on Park(ing) Day aktivity by Green City in Munich. Two Parking spaces were transformed into a small park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tiny superheroes combat big challenges with capes made by Seattle mom | Local News | The Seattle Times

Robyn Rosenberger makes capes for only the fiercest of fighters.

Robyn Rosenberger makes capes for only the fiercest of fighters.

Have you ever had days where you felt you had super powers, or felt you needed them? One woman in Seattle is making that a reality for over 1,700 kids with illnesses and disabilities in 50 states and 14 countries, with a new workshop opening to help out more kids:

 

Gabby has epilepsy and is completely dependent: She cannot talk, walk or eat on her own. But she is a tiny superhero — her superpowers include perseverance, courage and strength — and she has the cape to prove it. A purple number, with a blue letter “G” hand-sewn on by Robyn Rosenberger.

Rosenberger is the powerhouse behind TinySuperheroes, which makes capes as a form of empowerment. “Our mission is to empower these kids to feel as extraordinary as we see they are,” Rosenberger explained.

 

via Tiny superheroes combat big challenges with capes made by Seattle mom | Local News | The Seattle Times.

 

On the surface this may seem a little fluffy, but it exemplifies the power of play, particularly imaginary play and pretending.  First, it gives the kids a chance to take a break from their illness and maybe laugh a little, which is good for everyone.  Second, the crazy thing is researchers are finding that by pretending to be big, strong, dominant, and super-hero-esque, it can train your body to actually be more strong, dominant, and super-hero-esque. Even healthy kids can feel pretty powerless, so by imagining what it feels like to be strong and healthy it can help their minds and bodies map out what that might look and feel like and maybe even help along the road the recovery.

 

So by giving these kids superhero capes, these volunteers are in fact giving these kids some pretty strong medicine.

 

Now I want a cape, or at least a magic wand.

If you are interested in helping out, visit the Tiny Superheroes site.

 

 

Energy drink maker Red Bull proposes skate-able art investment for Myrtle Edwards Park


The Seattle City Government Parks & Recreation site recently hosted a public meeting to gather input on a proposed public art piece in Myrtle Edwards Park that will be used for skateboarding.

Energy drink maker Red Bull has approached Seattle Parks and Recreation about making a community investment that would include commissioning an artist to design and fabricate a unique piece of skate-able art. At the meeting, Seattle Parks presented the history of the proposed project, followed by an opportunity for the public to weigh in on the idea.

Myrtle Edwards Park is located at 3130 Alaskan Way on the shoreline of Elliott Bay, north of the Olympic Sculpture Park.

The Citywide Skatepark Plan, developed in 2006 and 2007 with extensive public process, designated Myrtle Edwards as a recommended site for a skatedot [editor: which is apparently smaller than a skatepark]. Since 2007, Seattle Parks and Recreation has constructed eight new skate parks and skatedots. Two more are in construction and design.

4Culture is administering the Call for Artists associated with this project. The artist will coordinate the design with Seattle Parks and Recreation.

A second follow-up meeting is planned in June.

I love the idea of creating public art that is actually usable, whether it’s by skaters, kids, or even animals. I understand that some art is best appreciated by not messing with it, but especially in a public space sometimes it’s hard to not want to interact with sculptures or murals. I also appreciate Red Bull’s focus on supporting play in all its forms, although private sponsorship of public spaces is always a touchy, tricky gray area.

Is there a public art piece, or artistic skatedot, fountain, whatever, that you really enjoy sitting on, playing on, or just watching others play? Let me know about it in the comments below.

Want to support music? Support green space and parks!

OK, maybe that’s overstating it a bit, but that’s the headline/thesis that Grist Editor Jess Zimmerman proposes in his short article about Seattle rapper Macklemore, and I gotta admit I like his thinking…

In this video for the Nature Conservancy, rapper Macklemore explains how municipal green space in his home city of Seattle influenced his career: He and his friends didn’t want to kick it at their parents’ houses, so they went and freestyled in parks. (Side note: Do people really still say “kick it,” or is Macklemore even older than I am?) We knew, of course, that Macklemore was into creative reuse, but who knew he had so many ideas about urban infrastructure?

The moral here is clear: Want more rappers? Make more parks. It’s just science.

I also love the fact that a hip hop artist is “kicking it” with the Nature Conservancy.

Do you know of any other artists who got their start playing in parks, beaches, or other urban green spaces? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.