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Keys to Rome public art and music piano project wraps up

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The public art and music piano project, Keys to Rome, is wrapping up after a successful six week run. The pianos transformed into works of art launched on May 6 for the public to enjoy at their leisure.

“The pianos were very well received,” said project organizer and Turn Your Back on Hate volunteer, Jeremy Harrison. “We were thrilled to see the musicians and crowds that would gather around the pianos for spontaneous performances.”

“The original plan called for the pianos remain in place until July 9, but the humidity and weather are tough on the pianos,” said Harrison. The pianos are slowly being removed from their downtown locations as new homes are identified for each piano. Three of the five pianos have already been removed.

The piano located at the corner of Broad Street and E. 1st Ave. by River Dog Paddle Co. is the only one left that is available for auction. All proceeds from piano sales will go towards next year’s program costs.

The costs of this year’s inaugural Keys to Rome program was covered through the support of Turn Your Back on Hate, Rome Area Council for the Arts (RACA), and Makervillage. Partnership support was provided by the City of Rome and the Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism.

Harrison who led the charge in caring for the pianos would often find the public had already covered the pianos in advance of oncoming rain. “The community really embraced the pianos and it made me happy to see how much they cared about this project.” The public also shared their enthusiasm for the project through videos and photos of their performances on social media.

Andi Beyer of Rome Labels coordinated a challenge where participants could find a hidden word on each piano to win a prize. Participants could stop by the Georgia’s Rome visitor centers for a prize after completing the challenge. “Kids and families really enjoyed the challenge,” said visitor center manager Charlene Mathis. “It was a fun and unique way to explore the town and enjoy each piano.”

Each piano expressed a unique artistic style thanks to the local artists and groups of artists who volunteered their time to include: James Schroeder, Siri Selle, Clint Dillard, Swerve Art Studio, Rome Knitterati and Turn Your Back on Hate. The five pianos were donated by Rome residents Jeremy Harrison, Anne White, Ruth Cain, Susan Babcock and Robert Brown.

“We look forward to next year when we bring in a new set of pianos for artists, musicians, and admiring spectators to enjoy,” said Jessie Reed with Turn Your Back on Hate. “We plan to regroup and share learnings from this year so we can make next year’s program even better.”

Experiences from the Keys to Rome program can be explored on the program’s Facebook page at Facebook/KeystoRomeGA or by searching #KeystoRome. The public is encouraged to follow the page for 2018 program updates and announcements. Anyone interested in purchasing the last piano can contact Kristi Kent with the Georgia’s Rome Office of Tourism at 706-295-5576.