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Painted, playable pianos make public debut in Downtown Knoxville

October 11, 2019

The Piano Project of Knoxville, a public art and music initiative featuring painted and playable pianos, officially launched Oct. 10 in downtown Knoxville.

The Piano Project of Knoxville revealed the city’s first-ever painted, playable pianos on Market Square on Oct. 10. The program’s launch is sponsored by the Downtown Knoxville Alliance.

The reveal of Knoxville’s first-ever painted pianos took place on the Market Square stage at Bill Lyons Pavilion. The Piano Project of Knoxville was founded by jazz pianist Brian Clay, and the launch is sponsored by the Downtown Knoxville Alliance.

Clay presented the first three decorated pianos, and attendees had the opportunity to meet the artists and play and listen to piano music.

“People will actively engage with the art by sitting and playing the pianos or passively engage by simply listening to the music,” Clay said. “The point is that community and interaction will happen, and that is beautiful.”

Since moving to Knoxville 10 years ago, Clay has served as an advocate for arts in the community, including performances with the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. He received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Commission of Knoxville Arts Award in 2019.

Clay, Downtown Knoxville Alliance, Dogwood Arts, City of Knoxville Public Arts Committee and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero participated in the official launch event.

Volunteers will monitor and take care of the pianos in the upcoming fall and winter months.

For more information, visit

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About the Downtown Knoxville Alliance

Ensuring a vibrant, flourishing downtown is the primary mission of the Downtown Knoxville Alliance. Formed in 1993 as a Central Business Improvement District (CBID), the district encompasses a 0.67-square-mile area and is supported by a special assessment by property owners that is used to make improvements, enhance services and promote downtown. The DKA continually focuses on attracting and retaining a thriving community of residents, businesses and visitors in Downtown Knoxville. For more information, visit