When Historic Mansfield began looking for ways to strike a chord with shoppers and get more of them to come visit the area, they wanted to key in on something that would set them apart from other cities and towns.
“This project definitely gives Mansfield a unique edge,” said Steve Cosio, president of the Discover Historic Mansfield board.
During a trip to Brooklyn, Cosio was inspired by the unusual and fun public art the city had, and thought Mansfield ought to have something like that, too.
He brought the idea to the other members of the Discover Historic Mansfield board, and together, they came up with the Mansfield 88 project.
“There is definitely a wow factor,” said Cosio.
Named for the 88 keys on a piano, the project takes donated pianos and puts them in the hands of local artists, who spend months turning them into masterpieces. They’re then placed in different spots around Historic Mansfield.
“I think it’s a great idea for people to see what the city of Mansfield is capable of,” said Jose Luis Martinez, a tattoo artist who did one of the pianos. “I think it’s cool because young kids can be inspired to do more art.”
Though some of the pianos are old, they all still work, and people are free to play them.
“It’s definitely an eye-opener,” said Cosio. “People will stop. They’ll see the piano. And whether they know Chopin or Chopsticks, some people will actually sit down and play it. Occasionally, a jam session will start.”
There are currently eight pianos on display – seven that are outside Mansfield businesses, one that is inside a music shop called Music Place. And more are on the way.
“It’s indefinite,” said Cosio. “We will keep taking pianos until we run out of places to put them. And right now, we have plenty of places to put them.”