Public art, public schools: Painted pianos head to classrooms

- A room Lower Manhattan is filled colorful pianos that used to be on the streets and in parks of New York City.

Since 2006, the nonprofit organization Sing for Hope has had one mission: to bring art and music to the fingertips of the community. The Sing for Hope piano installation is one of organization's largest programs and is also one of the largest public art projects in the world.

So what happens to the 400 instruments after they are removed from the streets and parks? They get delivered to places that need them the most.

Sing for Hope program manager Lester Vrtiak says the pianos go to schools, health care facilities, dementia centers, and elsewhere.

In a partnership with the Department of Education, Sing for Hope donates 50 pianos to public schools. Vrtiak says some schools are able to start their first choir programs because of the pianos.

Christopher Spinelli of Brooklyn is one of the artists that volunteered their time to design the unique pianos. He is happy the pianos are going to schools because his kids attended public school and he knows that schools often have to cut back on arts programs.

Sing for hope also sends volunteer artists, singers, and actors to public schools and health care centers to bring some joy to those who can't get to them. 

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