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Denver is alive with the sound of music: 16th Street Mall public pianos program

A handpainted piano on the 16th Street Mall
A handpainted piano on the 16th Street Mall
Downtown Denver Partnership

While strolling around Denver’s 16th Street Mall, don’t be surprised if you hear piano music rising above the din of the downtown hustle and bustle. Ten hand-painted upright pianos were placed May 1 throughout the mall for anyone to sit and play tunes from 8 in the morning until 10 at night every day of the week.

You might hear anything from Chopsticks to Rhapsody in Blue, as amateurs as well as those with extensive training take a turn tickling the ivories. You will be amazed at the talent that is showcased in moments of inspiration. It gives people-watching a whole new meaning.

The pianos are part of a public art program called Your Keys to the City created by the Downtown Denver Partnership. Each piano has been uniquely painted by local artists Amanda King, Angela Roderick, Daniel Chavez, Heidi Keyes, Jennifer Ahmed & Susan Shuff, Lisabeth Place, Gretchen Crowe, Nick Hemstreet, Marta Margarita and Samuel Prien.

“Your Keys to the City provides spontaneous and unexpected moments of joy and fun that create unique memories,” said Tami Door, President and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership.

The program started in the winter of 2009 with seven donated pianos and continued sporadically. This time around, the pianos will be on the mall through September 30, 2014. And, yes, they are covered when it rains or snows.