‘Piano Project’ gives instrument to Dogwood

Josh FloryOur Town Kids, South Knox

A brightly decorated piano that is part of a public art and music initiative has found a “forever home.”

Last week, students at Dogwood Elementary celebrated the unveiling of an instrument that had been featured in the Piano Project of Knoxville. That initiative invites local artists to decorate the instruments, which are made available in public spaces for a short time and then placed in permanent homes.

Piano Project founder Brian Clay spoke to Dogwood students about his own passion for music and then helped unveil the piano, which was painted by artist Will Lunsford and had previously been available for public use in Market Square.

Brian Clay plays a duet with Dogwood Elementary student Aurelio Ilagan.

To inaugurate the instrument, musicians including second-grader Aurelio Ilagan and Clay himself performed songs before stepping aside to let students tinkle the keys on their own.

Clay said that the Dogwood piano is the first one to be placed in a permanent home, and that the school was a great fit because of its thriving art and music program.

“I want to make sure that every kid … has the opportunity and the access to sit down, play a piano and then engage (with music) for the rest of their life,” he said. “Music has been so wonderful for my life and it can be wonderful for everybody else.”

At Dogwood, the piano will be displayed in the lobby for now, allowing children to play it when they are not in class.

Lea Buckner, a second-grader at Dogwood, said that she is planning to get guitar and piano lessons, and that her favorite song is “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.

As for the new piano, Lea said the front was her favorite part: “Because of the owl.”

Josh Flory is a multi-media specialist with Knox County Schools and writes this blog, Hall Pass, for the KCS website.

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