The final product of the Sharma-Maute art duo. PHOTO BY JEAN MARIE COTE

Hilton Head Island artists David Noyes, Alexandra Sharma and Mark Maute each received a special delivery a few weeks ago, as did art students at Hilton Head Island High School.

Bluffton artists Amiri Farris and Vickie Jourdan, along with art students at Bluffton High School, accepted similar deliveries.

Altogether, six older model spinet pianos were distributed for artful makeovers. The artists were tasked with painting, decorating and otherwise beautifying the pianos for Piano Palooza, an upcoming event of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra.

The local Piano Palooza was the brainchild of Mona Huff, director of the Orchestra’s Hilton Head International Piano Competition, as a way to make the community aware of the competition to be held March 7-14.

It’s not a new idea, but certainly a colorful one. Similar public arts exhibits of playable pianos have been held in Cleveland, where Huff first heard of it, New York City, Tel Aviv, London, Hong Kong, Singapore … literally around the world.

It was Huff’s idea to host a similar event in the Lowcountry. “They’re works of arts,” Huff said. “They are fun and playful – a great way to merge art and music in the community.”

Each of the artsy pianos will be placed in a public location where passersby can stop for a moment or two and admire them, and those who are so inclined can play them. Those who stop are encouraged to take a selfie and post it on social media as #2016HHIPC.

The artists and their locations are:

  • Amiri Farris, Corner Perk, Calhoun Street Promenade
  • Bluffton High School, Tanger Outlet 1
  • Vickie Jourdan, Poseidon, Shelter Cove Towne Centre
  • David Noyes, Pink House Gallery, Main Street Village
  • Alexandra Sharma and Mark Maute, Coligny Theater, Coligny Plaza
  • Hilton Head High School, Java Burrito, Village at Wexford

The six whimsical instruments will be available beginning Feb. 13, when a kickoff will be held from noon to 3 p.m. in each of the six locations, through March 1. On March 2, they all will become part of the Art League of Hilton Head’s show “Music As Art” and will be auctioned. The silent auction starts March 2 at the Art League’s opening reception, and will close March 20.

The pianos were donated by Rice Music House in Columbia, which provides the Steinway grand pianos for the piano competition.

The HHIPC will be held March 7-14 on the island and will feature 20 finalists, ages 18 to 30, who were selected from 180 applicants from around the world.

The pianists will perform two preliminary rounds at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina March 7-10 and a semi-final round at First Presbyterian Church March 12. The Finals will feature three finalists performing with the Orchestra, conducted by John Morris Russell, March 14 at First Presbyterian Church.

Competitor biographies may be viewed online at Tickets are available online or by calling the HHSO office at 843-842-5880.