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arts and culture June 15

Commission Plans Summer of Art in Beverly Hills

The Beverly Hills Arts and Culture Commission has reviewed preliminarily location options for the upcoming Sing for Hope piano program. The project will place 12 artist-designed street pianos throughout public spaces in Beverly Hills for community use from Aug. 5 through Sept. 6. At the end of the project, the pianos would be placed in their “forever homes” at under-resourced schools, hospitals, and communities where Sing for Hope provides programming year-round. During the meeting, commissioners also unveiled the new Arts and Culture website (https://beverlyhillsarts.org/), which went live on June 15. With Sing for Hope on the horizon, the fine art walking tours, and events for “Make Music Day” on June 21, there’s an array of arts and culture programming coming to Beverly Hills. “This is going to be the summer of art in Beverly Hills,” said Jenny Rogers, Director of Community Services. 

The city and The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts have each contributed $50,000 to fund the Sing for Hope project. “We’re looking for donations and people that are interested in helping us with this project,” Commissioner Stephanie Vahn said. “Even if you gave $100 or $1,000, all of that accumulates into one piano. The more people that give, the more pianos we can have.”

After conducting site visits, Lester Vrtiak, Director of the Sing for Hope Pianos, and Adrine Ovasapyan, the city’s Recreation Supervisor, identified the following as potential locations: City Hall, the Beverly Hills sign, Beverly Gardens Park, Will Rogers Park, La Cienega Park, near the community center at Roxbury Park, Two Rodeo, and the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts. For Beverly Gardens Park, two options were presented: one to the right of Ringo Starr’s “Peace and Love” on Santa Monica Boulevard and Canon Drive, and a second option shaded under a tree near Tom Friedman’s “Takeaway” on Santa Monica Boulevard and Rodeo Drive. For Will Rogers Park, staff suggested that one piano be placed in a shaded area near a large palm tree, and the other near the steps of the Sunset Boulevard entrance.

“I know the business community is very eager for us to help welcome Beverly Hills back with a lot of vibrancy,” Rogers said. “I think the arts play a vital role in bringing this economy back. It’s one of the reasons why people want to come to Beverly Hills.” Rogers also underscored how the Sing for Hope piano program hopes to support performance artists who have been unable to work for a year. Her team is working on scheduling concerts with surprise guests as part of the arts programming.  

While commissioners endorsed the proposed locations, some hoped to see a larger piano presence in the business triangle. 

“This is our first pilot in Beverly Hills,” Vrtiak said, citing his years of experience with the program in New York City. “These are a lot of great ideas and I’m really enjoying hearing all of your suggestions. The goal is that this is our pilot, and in the future, when we return, we can learn from our locations and definitely expand and try new places.”

On June 22, the Recreation and Parks Commission will review the proposed locations. To learn more about Sing for Hope Beverly Hills, visit https://singforhope.org/beverlyhills/.

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