Cobourg invites expressions of interest on pianos with a cultural theme

By Cecilia Nasmith

As winter inches toward spring each year, the Town of Cobourg invites expressions of interest on decorating donated pianos that, once summer arrives, will grace the downtown and harbourfront as street pianos.

While the 2018 theme for the pianos was the town's Armistice 18 activities to mark the century since the end of World War I, the town's new Cultural Master Plan exercise gave organizer's this year's theme – What Does Culture Mean To You.

As well, the town this year is inviting cultural organizations within Northumberland County to submit their ideas on painting and designing one of the three pianos that will be in place for this year's Keys To Our Town celebrations.

This annual exercise is based on the Play Me, I'm Yours project originated by artist Luke Jerram in England. Cobourg's version invites local artists to paint donated pianos each year, which are stationed in downtown and waterfront locations in the hopes that passersby may sit down at the keyboard and share the gift of music with all. Over the past three years, thousands of locals and tourists have accepted the invitation.

These pianos are a public-art project, as well as a free avenue for individuals to express their musical talents in a public settings.

“This year's theme revolves around culture, and correlates nicely with the launch of the Town of Cobourg's first Cultural Master Plan,” the press release stated.

“Community organizations that encapsulate culture – such as art galleries, theatres, concert halls, libraries and so on – are invited to submit their interest by Monday, March 25, 2019.”

Cultural organizations selected to decorate a piano will be paid a $500 honourarium and will be reimbursed for art supplies to a negotiated maximum. Travel, insurance, studio space and similar considerations are the responsibility of the artist. However, the Town of Cobourg will transport the original piano and the finished piano to its summer location. The piano remains the property of the town at all times.

To submit an expression of interest, an organization is asked to provide a cover letter of one to two pages outlining its interest in the project, provide a written concept and sketch, highlight credentials and relevant experience with a resume or bio, and provide contact information that includes telephone number, e-mail address, website and mailing address.

These rule are set out at on the Bids and Tenders page.

Submissions should be forwarded to the town office at Building 7 in Northam Industrial Park, 740 Division St., Cobourg K9A 0H6 and addressed to the attention of community-events co-ordinator Jackie Chapman-Davis (who can be reached by e-mail at