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Calming the Streets of Lancaster With Music

Birds chirp through downtown Lancaster, as water laps gently in the background and a soft piano melody encompasses the area.

But the birds aren’t real, and neither is the water. Even the piano music is computer-generated.

In fact, all the noises are coming from the same place-small, indiscreet green speakers that line the main street of downtown Lancaster known as The BLVD.

It might sound like another generic background track, but each of the three components has a specific goal designed to decrease the listeners’ stress, and along with it, crime rates, said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris.

The piano beat is half the speed of the human heart, which has a calming effect. The birds are supposed to evoke a feeling of security, since apparently birds used only to chirp when predators weren’t around. The water is supposed to add to both the security and the calmness.

In six months, Parris said he hopes to see an increase in sales and a decrease in traffic counts and aggressive crimes, especially the latter.

Parris came up with the idea as a result of his interest in cognitive science, and contributed a few thousand dollars of his own to develop the soundscape for downtown Lancaster, he said.

“I’m absolutely convinced that because of cognitive science, we have the ability to solve most social problems in society today,” Parris said.

The only problem Parris can see is that since it’s outside, the wind and other natural elements might interfere with the water and birds people are supposed to hear.

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March 22, 2011 Posted by | BIRD SOUNDS, BLVD pianos, Lancaster blvd, Lancaster Mayor, r rex parris | , , , , | Leave a comment

The BLVD Piano

  • The City of Lancaster has a created a  public art/music program that is modeled after similar programs in various cities around the U.S., including Denver and New York. There is even one in Birmingham, UK.  Pianos are decorated by artists and then placed in public locations where anyone who wishes may play them.


The City has started with two pianos, gave one to the Graphic Experience and one to the Artist’s Lofts . We, at the Graphic Experience rounded up a total of thirteen artists who contributed their talents to this exciting project. On Dec. 15,2010, a press conference was held here, for the unveiling of the two great “art pianos”. It was well attended and created a lot of excitement, had quite a bit of press coverage.

As a result, we have had  piano players coming by to tickle the keys ! We have had some GREAT musicians entertaining us with great tunes. Just before I sat down to write this, another player just finished  playing a set that lasted for over an hour. He turned out to be a man whom I knew that I hadn’t seen in years ! He came in just to play.  Another young man came in several days in a row and stayed for hours each day.  At several points, since  the unveiling, we had three piano players, each waiting their turn. At some points, we’ve had two players playing together on the piano. That’s always awesome !  Another professional keyboard player brought his daughter in and they played together and separately. We have had “non-piano-playing” customers that are so happy just to see the wonderful artwork on the piano. This piano has already started to develop it’s own fan club, renew old acquaintances,  and create new friendships.

It has been a truly fascinating experience. Many thanks to the City of Lancaster for supporting the arts!

– Chris Calaba co-owner of Graphic Experience

December 21, 2010 Posted by | art piano, BLVD pianos, City of Lancater, Lancaster blvd, piano playing | , , , , | Leave a comment

City of Lancaster to Add Pianos to The BLVD

City of Lancaster to Add Pianos to The BLVD


Public Pianos to Act as Both Musical Instruments and Artwork

Lancaster, CA. 12/15/10—The City of Lancaster unveiled a new project which will set pianos along The BLVD for the community to play.  To enliven The BLVD with both music and visual art, these pianos have been transformed into works of art by two local Antelope Valley artist collectives.

 


 

“What we are witnessing is the rapid burgeoning of the arts in our downtown area,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris. “The BLVD Pianos have joined the Lancaster Performing Arts Center, Lancaster Museum/Art Gallery, Cedar Center, Artists’ Lofts and Gallery, BeX Bandstand stage, and the upcoming movie theater in bringing the arts to downtown Lancaster. These pianos are a synthesis of music and visual art, acting as yet another attraction to fulfill The BLVD’s motto as a “Destination for your Senses.”

 

 

The program is modeled after similar programs in several cities, including Denver, New York and Birmingham, UK.  The pianos are decorated by artists and then placed in public locations where anyone who wishes may play them.

 

 

Inspired by these programs, the City of Lancaster purchased the pianos and handed them off to two different artist collectives, which then converted them into functional pieces of art. Bryan Pacana, Larissa Nickel and Laurel Siler designed a Liberace-inspired piano, while more than a dozen artists collaborated on the artwork covering a tiled-collage piano. The artists include: Todd Cooper, Edwin Vasquez, Dennis Calaba, Donna Weil, Susan Moses, Jennifer Petty, Autumn Petty, Dave Faust, Arturo Castañon, Ana Luz Castañon, Benjamin Andrews, Cheryl Jackson-Schaffer and Mia Badua.

 

The two pianos will be placed on the BLVD; one on the sidewalk in front of Graphic Experience and one in the Ramblas in front of Bank of America.  There are plans to provide each piano with a protective encasement. At a later date, the program will expand to include additional pianos along The BLVD.

 

“These pianos are a catalyst for creating community,” concluded Mayor Parris. “When someone sits down and starts to play, people stop, gather around, and begin to comment and converse. These pianos, like many other attractions on the BLVD, provide a focal point where people can come together and connect with one another.”

 

December 16, 2010 Posted by | BLVD pianos, Lancaster blvd, Music on the BLVD, on the blvd, r rex parris | , , , , | Leave a comment

BLVD Piano Liberace Piano

http://blvdtoday.com Artist Bryan Pacana talks about the Liberace Piano created for the City Of Lancaster’s BLVD Piano project.

December 16, 2010 Posted by | art on the BLVD, BLVD pianos, Lancaster blvd, Music on the BLVD, on the blvd | , , , , | Leave a comment

BLVD Pianos Played for the First TIme


http://blvdtoday.com The program is modeled after similar programs in several cities, including Denver, New York and Birmingham, UK.  The pianos are decorated by artists and then placed in public locations where anyone who wishes may play them.

December 16, 2010 Posted by | art on the BLVD, BLVD pianos, Lancaster blvd, Music on the BLVD, on the blvd | , , , , | Leave a comment

BLVD Pianos Music and Art


http://blvdtoday.com Inspired by these programs, the City of Lancaster purchased the pianos and handed them off to two different artist collectives, which then converted them into functional pieces of art. Bryan Pacana, Larissa Nickel and Laurel Siler designed a Liberace-inspired piano, while more than a dozen artists collaborated on the artwork covering a tiled-collage piano. The artists include: Todd Cooper, Edwin Vasquez, Dennis Calaba, Donna Weil, Susan Moses, Jennifer Petty, Autumn Petty, Dave Faust, Arturo Castañon, Ana Luz Castañon, Benjamin Andrews, Cheryl Jackson-Schaffer and Mia Badua.

December 16, 2010 Posted by | art on the BLVD, BLVD pianos, Lancaster blvd, Music on the BLVD, on the blvd | , , , , | Leave a comment