Piano. Push. Play. Brings Pop-Up Pianos to Portland

Starting as a one-woman show with a “rescued” piano on rollers, the public art project Piano. Push. Play. has grown into an annual summer celebration of music in the community.

Piano. Push. Play. was created with two goals in mind: to give people an exciting, new way to share their talent with their community, as well as give the public a chance to experience music in a completely new venue—on the streets in the heart of it all. The organization rescues and refurbishes pianos with the help of local artists and design studios like ADX, NORTH and Roundhouse, and then places them around the Portland metro area for anyone to play during the summer months, before being donated to schools and community centers.

This year, Piano. Push. Play. is making major strides, introducing a mobile app, doubling the amount of pianos—from five to 10—and expanding into the Eastside. The app, initially created by Airshipper Misty DeGiulio and classmate James Stiehl as coursework for Portland Code School, uses Gimbal proximity beacons and Urban Airship’s real-time mobile engagement platform to help people find nearby pianos available to play. Piano. Push. Play. will also leverage beacons to help track how many app users visit each piano. “The mobile component is huge this year,” said Megan McGeorge, founder of Piano. Push. Play. “We’re excited for more people to discover more places to share music with everyone, and help extend the reach and impact of our organization.”

The big kickoff concert will take place June 26 at the Portland Art Museum with all ten pianos placed in the courtyard and played in tandem. All pianos will be deployed around town by June 29, each visiting multiple locations such as parks and Pioneer Square.

The pianos will remain around town until late August, with a few remaining outside until early September. Afterwards, the refurbished pianos, sporting fresh designs, will find a new life within non-profits, schools and community centers to continue to inspire the next generation of musicians.