A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post brainstorming how to help place more pianos in airports. Pondering what airport -- and indeed any public -- pianos mean to me, I noted:
Public pianos inspire. When a talented player sits down, passers-by are greeted serendipitiously to a beautiful song. Some people will listen and enjoy watching. Others may feel compelled to sit down and play the piano. When a beginner sits down, they have a canvas to play a tune in front of people they may never see again; that delivers freedom to experiment. Sometimes, people offer to play with others: a special moment of intimacy when two people come together to make music, in a single moment, for an unknown audience.
A reader emailed me to ask what I knew about helping airports find pianos, and this got me thinking: there is no good source of information on how to facilitate piano donations. Do airports accept piano donations? Are airport pianos donated by companies, individuals, or purchased by the airport themselves? How does one work with an airport to help them get a piano?
I have spoken with a few people familiar with the aviation industry who were able to share some information I didn't know but there are still many questions unanswered. I have created airportpianos.org as a home for the knowledge I gather as I figure out how airports get pianos. I plan to use this website to, among other things:
- Document how to contact airports about piano donations;
- Document the costs and logistics associated with donating a piano, and;
- Keep track of how airports have obtained pianos in the past.
Furthermore, the site will act as a hub that lists the location of pianos in airports across the globe, inspired by pianos.pub. The site will be focused solely on airport pianos, and data is publicly available as a JSON file for programmatic use. All airport piano data is licensed into the public domain, so contributions to the list can be fed to open sources like OpenStreetMap to help expand awareness of pianos in airports.
The homepage of the site is the canonical wiki for all things airport pianos; the page may be broken out into sub-pages as the wiki grows. You can use the "Find a Piano" feature to search for pianos by airport.
This site is young and I'm looking for help! Specifically:
- If you have seen a piano in an airport in the last six months, tell me so I can add it to the list!
- If you have advice on donating pianos to airports, let me know (alongside whether I have permission to document the knowledge on the wiki).
You can contact me about this project at james [at] airportpianos [dot] org.
I have a personal goal to help at least one airport get a piano that doesn't already have one. I'll document what I learn on airportpianos.org.
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