By Sean McNealy
Journal & Topics Reporter
Vibrant pianos popped up at the mall, sports complex and Rosemont Village Hall Friday (June 21), but don’t expect Beethoven or Mozart to pluck away at the keys anytime soon. However, beginners to classical prodigies can play on the village’s public works of art now until Sept. 30.
“Pop-Up Pianos” is the latest community project that is brightening some of the most visited spots in Rosemont. Eight used, painted pianos were strategically placed around the village Friday as an extension of the Rosemont Mural Initiative, which is responsible for the murals found near the Barry Street Recreational Center and parking structure near the entertainment district.
Rahmaan Statik, an internationally recognized artist known for his urban art and public murals who grew up on Chicago’s southside, coached four students from Triton College and four students from Oakton Community College who were commissioned to create the colorful upright pianos. Triton students Otilia Carreno, Diana Carreno, Emily Temmer, Zaria Gilmore, and Oakton students Courtne Camp, Alexee McNulty, Pesach Bercovice, Vianey Mojica-Parra created the vibrant pianos under Statik’s tutelage. Students were paid for their creative endeavor.
“It’s the students’ own ideas,” Statik said. “I wanted students to have fun and have exposure out in a public space where thousands can see their work.”
The project started about a month ago, Statik said. After he recruited and selected the artists, it took a couple of weeks to draw out ideas and a couple more to paint the designs on the pianos. Artists used the lower level of a village parking garage as their studio, he said.
Heavenly Pianos in Arlington Heights sold four pianos to the village for the project and donated the other four. Shop owner Dan Kastenmeier said he wanted to help the village with the project when it presented him with the idea and budget.
“Pop-Up Piano” locations include ACL Laboratories, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Fashion Outlets of Chicago, Hyatt Regency O’Hare, Parkway Bank Sports Complex, Rosemont Senior Center, Rosemont Village Hall and Wintrust Financial Corporation.