This winter, Sing for Hope is proud to partner with Hudson Yards and SAP to bring eight new Sing for Hope Pianos to the public at The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards. With special concerts by leading musicians (performed with full social distancing, masking, and disinfection protocols), these stunning new SFH Pianos are helping to create a spirit of vitality, creativity, and hope during a particularly tough winter season.
Recently, we sat down with Danielle M. Chery, one of the terrific Sing for Hope artist partners featured in this initiative. Danielle’s SFH Piano, entitled “Underwater Tune”, is one of the eight instruments currently available for all to enjoy at Hudson Yards. Danielle opened up with us about her creative process and commitment to the Sing for Hope ethos of “art for all.”
Danielle, tell us about your background. How you did you initially connect with Sing for Hope?
In 2017, I worked as a Community School Director of an elementary school in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. My role was to support the administration in coordinating resources for the students and their families. One of the greatest pleasures of working at that school was being a part of their mission to provide the students with as many arts programs as possible. PS 196 is a “singing school”. Therefore, when I learned about Sing for Hope, it was a no brainer that I should apply for a SFH Piano to be donated to us.
Once the application was accepted and approved, the administration and I were thrilled when it was actually delivered! Many of the teachers at the school have artistic talents, so it was a joy for not only the students to have a beautifully painted piano in the school’s lobby, but the staff was overjoyed by its presence as well. It was a perfect addition because it stood in alignment with their beliefs in providing youth with a holistic education, which includes all forms of art. The arrival of the SFH Piano also served as a sweet way to wrap up my time working at the school. It was delivered right before my last day, as I planned to set off for a new and exciting adventure.
We love this! What a great connection. Fast-forwarding from 2017 to 2020, how did you come to apply to create a Sing for Hope Piano as part of thiscurrent group at Hudson Yards?
Earlier this year, I received an email from Michael Tonge, Co-Founder of The Culture LP, an organization designed to build a growing community of artists on a mission to improve the quality of life through the power of the arts. When I realized the artistic opportunity was with Sing for Hope, I became excited and felt that it was destined. What were the chances that my last encounter with the organization was on the receiving end, and now I’d be able to lend my artistic abilities to join in on their mission?!
I’m an abstract artist, and much of my work has morphed into a “fluid art” style. Most recently, I’ve been designing items to decorate homes – such as serving trays, coasters, tables, and wall art. The idea of painting a piano at first seemed impossible with my style, but I was inspired to apply anyway – using one of my “fluid art” designs from a previous set of coasters I designed. I wondered how would I be able to control the very liquidy consistency of paint without destroying a piano. After submitting my template design to Sing for Hope, we set up a call to discuss the logistics of executing the style. I imagined the project would take a couple of days to complete, and to my surprise – the sanding, priming, painting, and designing of the piano stretched into six days, reaching approximately 30 working hours. It was one of my most amazing painting experiences to date!
When and how did you begin your career as a painter?
I’ve been painting for eight years, and my passion for it actually stems from my affiliation with the nonprofit volunteer organization New York Cares. I worked there for over five years in their Service Events department, focusing heavily on managing revitalization needs for schools, which included recruiting mural artists. I believe subconsciously, those artists inspired me to pick up a paintbrush during my free time, and I’ve been painting ever since. I’ve held three solo exhibits to share my art with the public, participated in group shows around New York City, and now I’m developing my very own home decor line. The most exciting thing about the partnership with Sing for Hope is that it has leveraged my very first major public art display in such an outstanding location – the Hudson Yards, for all New Yorkers to experience!
Sing for Hope is such an inspiring organization for the simple reason of understanding the impact visual art creates when merged with music. It’s an organization that stands the test of time because it speaks a universal language. Its mission is to use art as a platform that builds community, provides healing, and spreads joy, and that’s always necessary. Art speaks to the soul, and so does Sing for Hope.
For more information about The Sing for Hope Pianos at Hudson Yards, click here.