In the summer of 2020, Grammy, Emmy, and Oscar-winning musician and Sing for Hope board member Jon Batiste performed a series of outdoor Voter Registration Recitals on Sing for Hope Pianos in support of Black Lives Matter and in partnership with the non-partisan voter registration non-profit HeadCount. The free events, held on the steps of Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Library at Grand Army Plaza and at Barclays Center’s plaza, were deeply moving and highly successful in terms of registering and empowering voters (especially first-time voters) to engage in the democratic process.
Building upon the success of these events, Sing for Hope received support in the fall of 2020 to place a Sing for Hope Piano in Miami-Dade County near an early voting center to inspire voter engagement and create community through the arts. In partnership with Florida International University Music School, student performers and faculty artists shared pop-up performances as thousands of students, faculty, staff, and community members patiently waited in line to cast their ballots during the final week of early voting.
Like voting itself, the Sing for Hope Pianos speak to our belief that everyone has a voice and every voice should be heard. Music helps us mobilize, powering social movements, and that’s why it feels vital right now. Music is big enough to connect us across division, and to hold both our struggle and our hope.
This Sing for Hope Piano was created by acclaimed Cuban-American artist Alexis Mendoza, in representation of his richly colored, multifaceted heritage. It was enjoyed by an estimated 13,500 people during its public residency, after which it was placed it its permanent home in Florida International University Music School.