Application Instructions

Application Instructions PDF


STEP 1: Apply

  • Read about the application process.
  • Proposed artworks may contain any theme or subject matter but must comply with the Artistic Guidelines (see below).
  • Proposals MUST include at least one rendering: a visual example of the artist’s vision for his/her completed piano, using the Piano Rendering Template.
  • Artists will be notified of their application status shortly after the application period ends.

STEP 2: Complete Your Artwork

When: Accepted artists will complete artwork during designated studio hours within the established work periods. Time will have to be allowed for the piano to be varnished by Fredonia faculty.  Fredonia faculty will set studio hours for days/times in March & April that do not conflict with classes and exhibit times.

What: The upright pianos will be prepared and primed prior to the artist starting work.

Where: All piano artwork will be completed either in the Paint Studio (Rockefeller Arts Center), Sculpture Studio (Rockefeller Arts Center), or Emmitt Christian Gallery at SUNY Fredonia.  Artists should be prepared to work in an open, shared studio space.  Room assignments and painting schedules will be provided once successful applications are determined.

Materials: The Fredonia Street Piano Project provides acrylic paints in a variety of colors, primer, drop cloths, sanding blocks, mixing cups/sticks, painters tape, pens/pencils, Elmer’s glue, and a limited supply of basic brushes, all for communal use. Additional materials that fall under the guidelines below are welcomed but must be supplied by the artist.

STEP 3: Application

Artists should apply via our online application form, which is available at the Application Form page.

To be considered for the 2020 Fredonia Street Piano Project, your completed application must include:

  • Brief bio
  • A rendering of the proposed piano design using our Piano Outline Template
  • Statements of Intent addressing the following questions:
  • Why do you want to participate in the Street Piano Project?
  • And your choice of ONE of the following:
  • In what ways do you see your proposed piano artwork connecting with the community?
  • Should you be accepted, how do you hope to benefit from this project, both professionally and personally?

Prizes: Artwork displayed during the summer of 2020 in SUNY Fredonia, City of Dunkirk or Village of Fredonia; Plaque with artist's name on the side of the piano; Press release to local media with artist's photo along with winner piano; Artist and artwork recognized at special grand opening reception; Special mini-concerts scheduled during the summer; and Professional photographs of winning artwork.

Entry Fee: None

Evaluation: Applications will be evaluated by an independent panel of adjudicators. Criteria for judging will be the quality, creativity, diversity, practicality, and accessibility of the work. 

2020 Artist Adjudication Panel:

Marc Levy
Michele Bernatz
Peter Tucker
Czerton Lim
Graham Howes

Please note that Fredonia Street Piano Project will only consider complete applications submitted within the time period listed below via our online submission form. All artists will be notified of their application status shortly after the application period ends.


Please visit the Application Form page to apply.

Artistic Guidelines

The Fredonia Street Piano Project employs artistic parameters designed to:

  • Protect the pianos during the artistic process
  • Ensure accessibility for all communities who encounter the piano artworks
  • Comply with regulations involving permitting, branding, and public safety enforced by the City of Dunkirk, Village of Fredonia, and SUNY Fredonia

Sound and functionality

  • All parts of the piano pertaining to the instrument’s sound & functionality must remain intact and unpainted, including but not limited to keys, strings, inner workings, casters, etc. No part of the piano may be removed at any time.
  • Seams may not be painted over, so that our technicians can access the pianos’ internal mechanisms at all times.
  • The backs of upright pianos (the soundboard) may NOT be painted and no additional materials may be used/attached.

For everyone’s safety

  • No objects that could be detached or cause harm to individuals may be attached to the piano at any time.
  • As painting will occur in an indoor studio space only approved water based paints will be used, use of spray paint or toxic materials is prohibited at all times.
  • All sanding must be done with a sanding block—electric sanders may not be used.

Keep it friendly!

  • Obscenities, nudity, political messages, religious iconography, and distasteful images are strictly prohibited on the pianos in accordance with our partnership with City of Dunkirk, Village of Fredonia, and SUNY Fredonia.

Miscellaneous fine print

  • Corporate logos, branding, website URLs, and hashtags are not permitted on the piano.
  • Fredonia Street Piano Project demarcates spaces on each piano for the placement of two Fredonia Street Piano Project plaques, featuring the logo of the project and sponsorship, as well as three possible areas on each piano for the placement of individual artist signatures.
  • Artwork must not contain copyrighted materials, including the images/writings of another artist and/or the appropriation of a person’s name and likeness. All pianos must be independent artworks that may not be associated with any pre-existing series or program other than the Fredonia Street Piano Project.
  • For maintenance purposes, miscellaneous hardware will be attached to each piano before the public installation. Hardware will be applied by Fredonia Street Piano staff after the painting on each piano has been completed.


...about Ownership, Branding, and Media

  • All pianos are the sole property of Fredonia Street Piano Project. As such, your physical piano artwork is a donation to Fredonia Street Piano Project from the time painting begins.
  • There is no financial compensation for participation in the Fredonia Street Piano Project.
  • To remain consistent and fair, all artists will be given the same designated place on the piano to put their signature. No other branding or promotional language is permitted outside of this area.
  • All benches, tarps, and project signage are kept uniform across all piano locations and may not be customized.
  • All participating artists give Fredonia Street Piano Project permission to publish their name and photos of the artwork throughout the project.

...about Piano Assignments & Placement

  • We will select a high-quality piano for your canvas according to the best availability within our inventory. Note that pianos come in all shapes and sizes; the more flexibility you can include in your design, the better.
  • Public placement of all pianos during the installation is subject to approval by the City of Dunkirk, Village of Fredonia, and SUNY Fredonia. As such, we regretfully cannot take specific public placement requests from artists at any time.
  • Please note that during the installation, some parts of the artwork may be obscured from view depending on the piano’s position.
  • Once the pianos have been publicly placed, artists may not modify, alter, or adjust a piano’s artwork or physical location. 
  • Fredonia Street Piano Project does everything in its power to ensure the protection of each piano during its time on the streets, but there is still a chance that your piano and/or artwork may become lost, stolen, defaced, or damaged beyond repair. Fredonia Street Piano Project is not responsible for any damage that may occur.
  • Pianos will be on display from approximately May 1 thru Oct 15.  At the end of the outdoor installation, the pianos may be moved to various indoor locations before being moved to SUNY Fredonia to be stripped so a new canvas may be created for the following year.  


Please contact:
Marc Levy
Director of Facility Operations & Special Projects
School of Music
SUNY Fredonia
Fredonia, NY  14063

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