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'Play Me, I'm Yours' pianos hit downtown area

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SALT LAKE CITY — If you came across a piano in downtown Salt Lake City on the sidewalk, with a sign on it saying "play me," would you sit down and play it?

The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is hoping you will.

Since 2008, British artist Luke Jerram has been placing strangely painted pianos in public places, asking random people to sit down and play. He came up with the idea while sitting in his local laundromat in England where he would see the same people each week. He thought it would be fun to add a piano to the boring task of doing the laundry, and the idea took off.

"I'm hoping people will use the pianos as an opportunity to express themselves and just turn up and enjoy their time," Jerram said.

A blog has been set up where people can post pictures and video of themselves playing the sidewalk pianos. They can also share their experience being a street performer.

UMOCA helped bring the "Play Me, I'm Yours" project to Salt Lake. Each piano was decorated by local artists and donated by local music stores.

Starting Friday, 10 pianos will pop up along sidewalks and parks around downtown Salt Lake. So far, the pianos have been drawing big crowds in front of the UMOCA. The pianos have been placed around the world in over 20 cities from Barcelona to Boston and will be in Salt Lake for the next two weeks.


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Ashley Kewish and Randall Jeppesen


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