Residents, Visitors and Local Musicians Embrace
Music in the Streets with Sarasota Keys Project
Michael’s On East Pianist Joe Micals to Appear at Noon on Monday (2/17) Downtown
The Sarasota Keys piano project brings art and music to the vibrant downtown Sarasota district. Each piano has been transformed into a beautiful piece of public art, ready for you to play.
(Sarasota, FL) — The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County is hosting an interactive music and art project to the streets of Downtown Sarasota with the inaugural season of Sarasota Keys through May 2014. The Sarasota Keys piano project placed six spinet pianos that are open for the public to play, explore, learn, practice, and most importantly, enjoy, along the sidewalks of Main Street, Pineapple Avenue and Palm Avenue. The pianos have already proven popular among the downtown lunch crowd since their debut on Jan. 17; now Michael’s On East pianist Joe Micals will present a “pop-up concert” at noon on Monday, Feb. 17 at the piano located in front of Main Street Traders, 1468 Main Street.
“Of course, I love the concept of Sarasota Keys and am thrilled to see the energy and interest in playing piano,” said Joe Micals, a versatile musician and entertainer whose career has spanned four decades. “With so few professional pianists performing locally, I feel privileged to play regularly at Michael’s On East. What a fun and unique experience it will be this Monday to ‘take it to the streets!’ I’m thrilled to support this cultural program in our creative community.”
The public is welcome to stop by to make special song requests or chime in on the piano with Joe as part of this cameo appearance downtown. Micals was the keyboard player for “The Drifters,” an opening act for B.B. King, Kevin James, Eddie Murphy and Rosie O’Donnell and featured vocalist or music director on many PBS and HBO specials as well as multiple motion pictures including “An American Werewolf in London.” His signature voice—in addition to many vocal impersonations—continues to be a fixture in voice actor and commercial roles. Joe Micals has played at the Michael’s On East Piano Bar Lounge for 13 years.
“This is truly a community-wide project that involves the arts, our business community and government, to provide an interactive program that will enhance our downtown district,” says Jim Shirley, Executive Director of the Alliance. “This is just one appearance among the many spontaneous expressions of art we hope to see created for the public to enjoy. From the talented Joe Micals, to any ordinary person, we invite all to sit down and play anything – from Beethoven to ‘Chopsticks’ – and create a new appreciation for the arts within the Sarasota community.”
Six of Sarasota’s legacy artists, with the help of curator Tim Jaeger, transformed the pianos into works of public art. The artists included: Jack Dowd, Richard Capes, Gale Fulton-Ross, Steven Strenk, Cassia Kite, Tim Jaeger, and Lori Loveberry George. Kite and Jaeger partnered to paint a piano together.
Many other major cities around the world have initiated piano projects, but none have involved an entire community to get it off the ground. With the combination of local businesses, local artists, and local arts organizations, the Sarasota Keys piano project truly celebrates and enlivens the vibrant Downtown Sarasota area and its powerful arts and cultural community.
Sarasota Keys would like to thank each of its Piano Sponsors for their generous support of the project: Alfstad& Productions, Artist Series Concerts, Bohemian Bliss Boutique, Paul Mattison, MLC & Associates, and Stan Rutstein. Special thanks to Pritchard’s Pianos of Sarasota.
About Joe Micals
Joe Micals has played keyboard for “the Drifters”, scored specials for HBO, PBS and motion pictures, MC’d concerts for B.B. King, Bo Diddley jr. and oldies revival shows including the Five Satins, the Del Vikings, the Duprees, the Marvelettes, Dee Dee Warwick, the Strangeloves, Bill Haley’s Comets and many more. Besides the many commercials, vocal characterizations and acting credits Joe has worked as an opening act with Eddie Murphy, Rosie O’Donnell, Jackie “the Joke Man” Martling, Rob Bartlette, Bob Nelson, Robert Klein, Jackie Mason, Pat Cooper, Kevin James, Jackie Vernon and Andrew “Dice” Clay. Joe has entertained such dignitaries as Senator Fred Thompson, Mayor John Linsay, NY Senator Alfonse D’Amato, Mayor David Dinkins, Former Secretary of State of Florida Katherine Harris, Ambassador to South Africa Charles Gargano and was the entertainer of choice on September 10, 2001 for President George W. Bush. Joe is also proudly recognized as a “Tennessee Gentleman”, ” Arkansas Ambassador of Good Will” and “Kentucky Colonel” by the governors of those three states.
Since 2001, Joe Micals has delighted guests in the Michael’s On East Lounge with timeless favorites at Michael’s Piano Bar, Tuesday – Saturday evenings, beginning at 7 p.m. For more information or to make reservations at Michael’s On East, call 941-366-0007 or visit www.bestfood.com.
About Sarasota Keys
The Sarasota Keys piano project will place six spinet pianos along the sidewalks of Main Street, Pineapple Avenue, and Palm Avenue – in its inaugural season, January 2014 through May 2014. These pianos are open for the public to play, explore, learn, practice, and most importantly, enjoy. Many other major cities around the world have initiated piano projects, but none have involved an entire community to get it off the ground. With the combination of local businesses, local artists, and local arts organizations, the Sarasota Keys piano project will truly celebrate and enliven the vibrant Downtown Sarasota area and its powerful arts and cultural community.
About Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County
The Arts and Cultural Alliance is a member-powered organization that serves as an advocate for arts and culture in Sarasota County. Founded in 1986 by a group of committed citizens, the Alliance has administered more than $15 million in grants to area artists and arts organizations. The Alliance works to ensure arts and culture remain essential to the continuing development of a vibrant, creative community. This is achieved through arts advocacy, education and community outreach.
1226 N. Tamiami Trail, Suite 300, Sarasota, FL 34235
Phone: 941-365-5118 | Web: www.SarasotaArts.org