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September 20, 2013

Pianos for Peace

woman with kids and piano

A student project brought together neighbors, volunteers, artists, performers, and passersby to interact with each other and seemingly randomly placed pianos in public places. Organized by Marissa Balonon-Rosen ’13, “Pianos for Peace,” is a two-fold project that brings music and art to neighborhoods, employing pianos as a catalyst for discussion and community building. The donated upright and baby grand pianos were painted with peace themes by volunteers and community organizations and placed in several locations throughout the city, giving anyone the opportunity to walk up to and play an instrument or hear someone else play.

“Many people in Rochester can’t afford instruments or music lessons,” says Balonon-Rosen, a graduate of the Rochester city schools. “It is often neighborhoods with the most violence that don’t have access to music and other arts. This project will make those resources available to them, and by actively involving people in music, we can make for a more peaceful community.”

The pianos were moved to the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence in Rochester, one of the project sponsors, at the end of August. The relocated instruments will create a “Piano Park for Peace,” with additional concerts and programs about nonviolence. At the end of September, those pianos will be donated to various youth and peace-promoting organizations. J.

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