New piano project uses music to bring people together

A colorful piano sits in front of the Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf.

A closer look at the piano reveals it was painted by local artist Heidi Sallows and is named the “Everlong” piano in honor of the popular song by the rock band Foo Fighters. In fact, part of the piano is covered with lyrics from the song “Everlong.”

This colorful piano sits in front of the Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

But this piano – and nine other colorful pianos placed at various sites across the Quad Cities region – is more than a tribute to rock music and art; it’s part of a program organizers hope will bring more art, music and community interaction to the public spaces in the region.

“I hope people will want to come out and play them. We want people to get engaged with the community,” Tyson Danner, executive director of the River Music Experience (RME), told the QCBJ.

During a news conference on Friday, May 27, the RME unveiled its summer program called OneSound Piano Project that is putting 10 colorful pianos – all painted by 10 local artists – at different locales.

The project’s goal is to bring people together through music and perhaps break down social barriers. “Whether it’s children playing in the park and having their first musical experience with one of these pianos or a practiced musician getting a chance to play in public, we’re excited to see the interaction that comes with the OneSound project,” the RME said in a new release.

“We want people to be inspired by the pianos,” John Langworthy, OneSound Piano Project’s director, said during the announcement at Runner’s Park in downtown East Moline, which is home of one of those pianos. “These pianos will build bridges; they will bring people together.”

The 10 pianos were donated by area residents to the RME for the project. The pianos that are situated at outdoor sites are scheduled to be in place until Labor Day weekend. Pianos that are indoors will remain in place until next May.

The local artists who painted the pianos are: Atlanta Dawn, Karen Blomme, Abigail Kongkousonh, Lisa Mahar, Carolyn Kreuger, Regan Hatfield, Ella Crockett, Amber Abel, Nicholas Frey and Heidi Sallows.

Quad Citians and visitors alike will find pianos at these sites across the bistate region:

  • Niabi Zoo, Coal Valley.
  • Arts Alley in Rock Island.
  • Freight House Farmers Market, Davenport.
  • Quad City International Airport, Moline.
  • Runner’s Park, East Moline.
  • Antique Archaeology, LeClaire.
  • Quad City Botanical Center, Rock Island.
  • Mercado on Fifth, Moline.
  • VanderVeer Botanical Park, Davenport.
  • Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center, Bettendorf.

Sponsors helping support the program include: Quad City Arts, West Music, Davenport Riverfront Improvement Commission, Respect Abilities, East Moline Main Street Association, Pierce’s Promise and Northwest Bank & Trust Co.

“Music is a universal language. Regardless of what we all may disagree on in a divided society, the joy of music is something we all have in common,” said Mr. Danner.

For more information on the piano project, go to

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