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Harmony on Third Street

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) When youre a kid, people always tell you not to touch anything. The Keys on Third program turns that idea on its head. The goal is to get people to play the piano right on the sidewalk. The program is catching the eye of some great pianists and people who cant even play a note.

A trip down Third Street has something for both the eyes and the ears.

"I had one little girl say, 'Are you going to paint it a different color every day? said freelance painter Lauren Crippes.

"I know the piano is a little off key but it sounds great, said Barb Ferguson as she took a break from painting her piano outside Batas Restaurant while a biker took a break from his ride to play.

The Economic Alliances Keys on Third program brings together the pianos to play and the artists to make them stand out.

"Had it just been a brown piano sitting here, I don't think they would have stopped by, so I feel like, maybe I contributed a little, said Ferguson.

"I hope it'll bring people outdoors and bring people downtown and just want to be here, said Crippes.

It makes musical and visual harmony along a roadway thats a main passage for much of the Southeast side.

"It helps to connect our downtown district with our Czech Village/Main Street District, said Economic Alliance District Improvement Specialist Sarika Bhakta.

Bhakta says its one way to make the street more walkable, transforming a city block into something special.

"Even if someone sits here and plays chopsticks and they laugh with their friend, it's increased their experience down here, it's really enhanced it, said Ferguson.

No matter what the Maestro looks like, it doesnt take long to have a big impact.

"I think it made their day a little more fun, said Ferguson. I know it's just five minutes but five minutes is a lot."

Many of the pianos were donated to the project as well as the artists time and resources. The Economic Alliance covers any other costs.
 
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