Public piano brings new sounds to Traverse City streets

Jul 22, 2016

A brightly colored piano was unveiled in Traverse City on Thursday evening. 

It sits in the middle of a new gathering space near the intersection of Front and Park Streets downtown. About 50 people of all ages stopped by to enjoy the warm evening and some free music.  

Pianist Nick Suminski plays a few tunes on the new street piano with his brother Ivan, accompanying him on the violin.
Credit Lisa Fierstein

The concept for the street piano came from Jay and Heather Harrington, owners of the local lifestyle blog, Life and Whim. While on a trip to Denver, they spotted brightly colored pianos on the street and wanted to bring something similar to Traverse City. 

"People were sitting down and playing on them spontaneously," Jay remembers. "We both looked at each other and thought 'what a great concept for Traverse City given its rich culture.'" 

The Harringtons partnered with Jerry Snowden of the Miller Snowden Development Group to bring the piano to a new public space. The group will maintain the piano and store it during the winter.  

Snowden says he’s already thinking about expanding the street piano project to different parts of the city. 

“I think it’s the cherry on top of the cake,” says Snowden. “It makes people talk, it makes them think about art, and it brings people together.”