Piano. Push. Play. all started with a simple idea during a night out in downtown Portland.
“We come out of Al’s Den and all of a sudden here’s this amazing [cello] music, right here on the corner in the city, between these buildings," describes founder Megan Diana McGeorge. "It’s just bouncing everywhere. I said, 'Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could bring a real piano out here and play music for people?'"
Months passed and McGeorge, who had recently returned to Portland to finish her music degree at Portland State, couldn’t shake the idea.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and I finally realized that there’s a piano store two blocks away. I should just go talk to them," she thought.
Portland Piano Company loved the idea and offered to mount one of their “haul-aways” to a dolly for McGeorge to use for weekly pop-up concerts.
“That was the initial evolution of Piano. Push. Play. That’s why we call it Piano. Push. Play. That’s literally what I was doing," she explains. "That’s how it started: pushing it to that street corner and playing for people. Now we’re putting them out all across the city.”
After receiving an Awesome Portland grant and thanks to a fortuitous cold call to the Portland Art Museum, the project expanded to five pianos the second year. Now entering its fifth season, Piano. Push. Play. boasts 20 pianos, which will be gracing Portland corners, parks, plazas, sidewalks and more this summer.
Following a design competition organized in partnership with the Portland Art Museum, this year’s pianos were painted and designed by the likes of Big Giant, Doug Fir Lounge, IDL Worldwide, Nemo and Showdeer, fusing style and accessibility.
“We’re giving everybody access to this piano. Anybody can just walk in and play or practice or write some music,” McGeorge states, emphasizing the vision that has fueled her passion: cutting down barriers to the arts for everyone.