Get ready to start tickling the ivories, because the Pianos for Peace festival has made its way to Forsyth County.
Pianos for Peace, an annual musical festival that uses public, colorfully-painted pianos to spread their mission of making art accessible to everyone, selects 50 locations in the greater metro Atlanta area each year to place one of their pianos.
This year, three of those locations will be right here in Forsyth County, at places including the Sharon Forks Library, The Collection and Lambert High School, and from Sept. 1-22, “everyone and anyone” is invited to come, sit, play, listen and enjoy to the tunes in a public forum.
At the Sharon Forks library, four student artists from Lambert High School recently finished painting the library’s donated small upright piano.
According to library branch manager Mendy Gunter, after she was asked by the festival’s founder if the library would host a piano this year, she knew instantly who to call.
"I thought it would be a great partnership if we could have some of the students come, create a design, and paint the piano for the community," Gunter said. "This piano was used – it had seen better days – and these lovely young artists are giving it a new life."
On Thursday, the student artists put some of the finishing touches on the piano and laughed, saying that a year ago they never would have imagined they would be painting a piano for fun during their senior year.
According to the students, the theme of their piano’s design is "Flowering Voices." A 360-degree panorama of colors and images, with realistic portraits of two young girls with flowing hair on the piano's top, surrounded by songbirds, flowers, musical notes and waves are meant to symbolize the music.
"It’s trying to show that music is appreciated universally by both humankind and nature," said Vanessa Tam, a senior at Lambert.
Rina Yoo, another Lambert senior, said that they were all happy to be working on such a unique and interesting project that would end up helping out the community.
"We are really thankful for this opportunity to be able to give back in such a unique way," Yoo said.
Both students said that music, specifically the piano, have been a part of their lives - so this project combines their past and present into one idea that will continue into the future.
"I like that it's a lasting effect," Tam said. "I mean, I used to play piano so I think it's cool that it ties into who I am and who I was."
Gunter said that after the festival is done, the piano will be donated to Little Mill Middle School where it will find a new forever home in their music department.
“Part of the Pianos for Peace mission is to make art and music accessible to the community as a whole,” Gunter said. “All of the pianos in the festival will be donated to local schools, nursing homes, healthcare facilities, and
community centers. We’re so pleased that our piano will find a home in the music program at Little Mill Middle School.”
Ashley Young, an art teacher at Lambert, said that the fact that what the students created will live on to inspire other students for generations, makes it that much more impactful.
"A lot of the times when things are asked to be done like a painting or something that’s hung up, it's eventually going to come down or get swapped out,” Young said. “... Where this is not just something you look at, it’s something that you are able to look at and see in the round."
In addition, Young said that community service is one of the things that they require of their National Art Honor Society students.
"The whole idea of National Art Honor Society is to work within the community to promote art, and so I picked some of the most talented students we have and thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for them," Young said. "Plus, it’s not every day that you get to paint a piano."
According to a library news release, on Sept. 11 the Lambert High School Chamber Orchestra will appear in concert at the Sharon Forks Library, featuring a talk from Pianos for Peace founder and composer, Malek Jandali. The release states that this event is free, appropriate for all ages and will begin at 7 p.m.
For more information about this event and other library programs visit them online at www.forsythpl.org.