Sewickley’s first public piano installed

Thursday, July 18, 2019 | 6:00 AM


Pianists who feel like putting on an impromptu concert and novices who want to practice their technique can do so, outside.

A public piano, painted by a Sewickley artist, has been installed in the Wolcott Park gazebo.

“The mayor penned a proclamation that was presented by (Sewickley council President) Jeff Neff, complete with ribbon cutting,” said Hudson Colletti of the June 22 installation. “June 22 was dedicated as Free The Music Day in Sewickley.”

Hudson, a Sewickley resident and rising ninth grader in the Quaker Valley School District, initiated the effort to have the piano installed with help from his father, Patrick. Through their “Free The Music” initiative, the Collettis have sought donated pianos for installation in public spaces where people can play them.

The Collettis brought their idea to Sewickley borough council in January, and Explore Sewickley has helped them solicit donations for pianos.

Sewickley-based artist Thressia Kriebel painted the first piano in the likeness of Beethoven. She volunteered to do the work early on and has been a huge supporter of the idea, Patrick said.

Kriebel, who studied at the Art Students League in New York City and has taught in private and public schools, has exhibited at the Sewickley Gallery & Frame Shop.

“For me, the most rewarding personal development as an artist has come from spending time working with others to bring large scale community-based art installations to life,” she said in a quote posted on the website.

The Collettis plan to hold public music events in Wolcott Park in the future. Hudson also described the public reaction to the piano installation as “lovely” and “wonderful,” adding that the Colettis have received a lot of phone calls and kind comments.

Free The Music has another public piano location in Sewickley, with plans to add more.

A glow-in-the-dark piano is now housed inside The Center for Young Musicians on Beaver Street. According to Patrick, the center is inviting musicians to come into the shop and play.

The next Sewickley piano, planned for installation inside the Beaver Street Studio419, will be finished and available in August. There are also plans to install a piano at the Tull Family Theater, Hudson said.

Later this summer, the Collettis will have an opportunity to take their Free The Music initiative beyond Sewickley.

“We were invited to place a piano in downtown Pittsburgh (for) Piano Day as well on Aug. 24-25,” Hudson said in an email.

To learn more about the Free The Music initiative, visit https://freethemusicpgh.org/.