AMESBURY — A new Market Square community piano will soon be making an appearance on a downtown sidewalk and should be looking very good, thanks to a paint job from some Amesbury High School students.
The Chamber of Commerce installed its first community piano – courtesy of local resident Jeanne Hallisey – in June 2017. But, according to chamber executive director Kassandra Gove, pianos don’t hold up well when left outside for too long and the instrument needed to be retired after last summer.
Preparing for this summer the chamber recently took possession of a new, upright piano donated by John McInnis Auctioneers.
“It’s a beautiful piano,” Gove said. “It’s a bit more ornate then the last one. Not that many people keep pianos in their homes anymore so they are not as desirable.”
The first piano was decorated by local artist Sandra Morrissey, who painted an impressionistic Amesbury cityscape on it.
But Morrison wasn’t available to work her magic this year so Gove reached out to Amesbury High School Assistant Principal Danielle Ricci, looking for student artists who could help. Ricci quickly contacted visual arts teacher Ryan Jackson who had eight enthusiastic volunteers ready to go.
“It was perfect timing because my seniors who are my AP studio art class had finished their AP exam,” Jackson said. “So it was a perfect time to take on this project.”
The AP art studio students spent about two weeks painting the new piano, beginning in mid May.
“It was interesting trying to get eight creative people together to agree on one concept,” Jackson said. “We went through the wringer first, throwing around ideas.”
Eventually, he said the students settled on sunrises and sunsets and set about painting the piano.
“They broke the piano up into about eight different sections,” Jackson said. “Then they each painted a section and it was their final project.”
Gove got what she called a “sneak peek” at the piano recently and described it as beautiful.
“It is really fun,” she said. “They were really thinking about ‘what is really popular in Amesbury, what do people really like here?’ They see a lot of people taking pictures of sunsets that they post on social media. That is a very popular thing in Amesbury.”
The students were also able to work the word “Amesbury” into the piano’s artwork so that it could also pop out on social media.
Gove said the Market Square community piano will serve as the centerpiece of the square’s social area, which includes a giant checker board with stone checker pieces, courtesy of the River Valley Charter School.
“This is a great way to facilitate what we call placemaking, which is having a lot of things to do in one location, in this case Market Square,” Gove said.
The piano is expected to be delivered to Market Square next week.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.