Friday, August 22, 2014


sponsored by PNC Bank

WHEN: Aug. 23-Oct. 6, noon-1 PM as professional musicians play the newly unveiled pianos at various locations throughout the village.*
The six pianos will be located at the Sloan Street Gazebo, Spiotta Park, Irvington and W. Fairview Avenues, Cameron Park, The Gateway and Seton Hall University and will be available for the public to enjoy and play.

South Orange Performing Arts Center, the Village of South Orange, Seton Hall University and South Orange Village Community Alliance (SOVCA) are pleased to announce the launch of the second annual Playin’ Around South Orange, a public art project sponsored by PNC Bank.  (Above: Bill Billec’s A Streetcar Named Desire to Play)

*Every succeeding Wednesday, a jam session will take place 5-7 PM at the Sloan Street Gazebo.

The pianos will be auctioned at the end of the display, with proceeds benefitting South Orange Performing Arts Center’s education programming.

Artists selected through an application process have been working through the month of August decorating the pianos. Themes range from a tribute to the “genius of soul, Ray Charles” to a piano painted as an extra fun and colorful cat, complete with pedals as paws.

Playin.BillB.AlexT.AdamLThe Artists

Bill Billec is a South Orange resident and a Graphic Designer and Artist with over 20 years of experience. His concept is a car theme riffing on the number 88, the number of keys on a piano. “I was inspired by Ike Turner’s piano playing in the 1951 Rhythm and Blues song, ‘Rocket 88,’ which is about the Oldsmobile 88, [which is] considered the first Rock n Roll Song.” Billec hopes to inspire the piano players to play some 50s rock and roll songs as well as other songs about cars.

[Above L-R: Bill Billec, Alex Torpey (SO Village President) and Adam Loehner (SO Village Deputy Adminstrator. at the Gazebo in South Orange for the launch.]

Maeva Fouché, a Newark native, has been influenced by urban life, African and Carribbean culture as well as the works of Pablo Picasso, Jean-Michael Basquiat and Andy Warhol. Her idea for the piano is to create faces with bold bright colors. “People have said to me that my work makes them feel happy! Playin’ Around South Orange would be a great way to spread that feeling of ‘Happiness.’”

Lawrence Ciarallo, from Hoboken, plans on creating an homage to “The Genius of Soul,” legend Ray Charles. A firm believer in public art and often inspired by an artist’s body of work, Ciarallo paints portraits as a way to inform. “Portraits are a great way to start a conversation about someone. With Playin’ Around South Orange, what better way to start a dialogue about great music created on a piano than to immortalize someone who played it so well.”

Sarah Walters of South Orange was inspired both by her son and her mother for her piano. She recently took up painting as a form of therapy to deal with the diagnosis of her mother’s Alzheimer’s disease. She has painted a tribute to her mother’s pet Madeleine, transforming the whole piano into a cat.

“Mac” McPeters is from West Caldwell and teaches in the Morris School District. McPeters has also been a carpenter, cabinet maker and a draftsman. “I have been doing art for a long time though my feelings are that with each new piece, it starts over.”

Faculty and students of Seton Hall University have decorated the piano at the University.

clip_image002About SOPAC   
Playin’ Around South Orange is sponsored by PNC Bank. Since 2006, SOPAC has been serving as a leading performing arts center in the region. SOPAC offers innovative artistic and cultural experiences for diverse audiences in an intimate, inviting environment. The arts center hosts a variety of live performances, community events and education programs for all ages.  To further expand its offerings, SOPAC has a partnership with the Juilliard School of Music to present Juilliard @ SOPAC—a series featuring upcoming musicians from the acclaimed conservatory.  SOPAC is home for Seton Hall University Arts Council’s performances, including Classical Concert Series, Jazz N’ the Hall performances and Seton Hall Theatre productions.  SOPAC also presents performances by its theater company in residence, Midtown Direct Rep, and its dance company in residence, Lydia Johnson Dance. The South Orange Performing Arts Center is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit charitable organization. For information about supporting SOPAC please visit or call our Development Department at (973) 382-1033