After receiving a generous gift from Sing for Hope, a New York City non-profit organisation, P94M, a special education school in Manhattan’s East Village, managed to establish a brand new music room. Thanks to Sing for Hope, they now have an upright piano beautifully decorated in city-themed black and white graffiti for the purpose of education.
“We work with children with emotional disturbance, children with autism, children with intellectual disabilities. This provides a very therapeutic space for them,” stated Tessa Derfner, the arts coach. According to Scott Evan Davis, the teaching artist, the piano was basically the catalyst needed to create the transformative room. “No matter what happens all year, we always have a place that is ours to go. And, it makes the kids feel special. That’s the coolest part,” he added.
For Sing for Hope, their mission is simply to promote “art for all”. Presently, they have a roster of approximately 1,500 volunteer artists in the community. These volunteers donate their time and talent in varying ways. However, they are tend to be known for their pianos project. It first began in a warehouse filled with pianos. “These pianos come from all over the place. We get them from wholesalers, some are donated, some are relatively new, some are ancient,” explained Camille Zamora, the co-founder of Sing for Hope.
There is a team of volunteer visual artists, who are hand-picked from numerous applications, that bring each of the pianos to life. Back in June, Sing for Hope placed 88 pianos in parks and public spaces throughout New York City for sixteen days for anyone to play a tune. “You’ve got the families that’ll come up and the kids are touching the piano or the first time. They’ll bang on it, they’ll, you know, they’ll interact with it. And, that’s, you know, that’s the best part of it,” said Monica Yunus, co-founder.
After the end of the sixteen days, those pianos were then donated to schools, hospitals and community organizations including P94M. However, it doesn’t stop there for Sing for Hope. The volunteers still continue to work on the pianos for the rest of the year. “We work with organizations to keep them in tune and keep them working well. We bring in our artists to give classes or to give workshops to teach people how to use the pianos, but also how to interpret the art that’s on it,” added Bobby Kean, executive director of Sing for Hope.
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