‘Pianos On Parade’ brings six decorated pianos to the streets of NEJC starting today

Christine Webster and Lanee Morales decorate the Roeland Park piano over the weekend at Union Station.
Christine Webster and Lanee Morales, both Roeland Park residents, decorate the Roeland Park piano over the weekend at Union Station.

As you make your way around northeast Johnson County today, keep an eye out for the pianos that will start to pop up on sidewalks across the Kansas City metro.

At least six of the pianos that are part of Pianos On Parade 2015 can be found in NEJC. One will be at the Roeland Park Community Center, one at the Merriam Farmers Market, one at Corinth Square, two at the Village Shops and one at Ranchmart in Leawood.

The pianos, all decorated by artists at Union Station this past weekend are in working condition and will be outdoors for the summer, inviting anyone to stop and play. Pianos On Parade in Kansas City was the idea of Prairie Village resident Lisa Cattanach. A bit of research showed similar events already had taken place in a handful of other cities, she said.

Cattanach is part of the Kansas City Music Teachers Association (KCMTA) which is celebrating 100th anniversary this year by sponsoring the event along with Keys 4/4 Kids, a local nonprofit that restores donated used pianos to make them available at low cost.

“It’s really something to see this dream come true,” Cattanach said as the pianos were still being decorated Sunday. All of the pianos must be out of Union Station by Wednesday, so most of them will be in place today at their designated locations. Tarps are provided for the sponsors to cover the pianos in rain. Michelle Gehring came up with the idea to have a communal decorating event at Union Station.

In Roeland Park, the city’s art committee was the driver behind the piano that will be at the community center and raised $2,500 in private money for the piano. Lanee Morales and Christine Webster are both Roeland Park residents who helped organize the Roeland Park placement and they also are the two artists who painted the Roeland Park piano over the weekend.

KCMTA has more than 200 members who primarily are private piano teachers, Cattanach said. The Pianos on Parade event “will spur residents and visitors to spontaneously engage with art, music, and one another, creating moments of community and highlighting the city’s exceptional commitment to music and art,” according to the POP site.

This piano, decorated with a farm scene, will be on display at the Merriam Farmers Market all summer.
This piano, decorated with a farm scene by artist Lisa McElwee, will be on display at the Merriam Farmers Market all summer.
Kale VanLeeuwen is the artist for one of the Village Shops pianos and he will be exhibiting at the Prairie Village Art Show as well.
Kale VanLeeuwen is the artist for one of the Village Shops pianos and he will be exhibiting at the Prairie Village Art Show as well.
The Corinth piano will be in the spot where the mayor's  holiday tree is located in the winter. Susan Parsons was painting it Saturday.
The Corinth piano will be in the spot where the mayor’s holiday tree is located in the winter. Susan Parsons was painting it Saturday.