Our upcoming Late Night on Friday, April 20, will celebrate our exhibition Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties. As we were planning for this event, we learned that Chilton Gallery I would be empty during this time, as staff prepares the space for a new installation, so we inquired about using it for one of our programs. Once we got the green light, we immediately thought: Speakeasy!
The Speakeasy will feature 1920s-inspired cocktails and live music, with an area where visitors can “cut a rug.” But we also wanted to have music playing in-between the live acts, and what speakeasy would be complete without a player piano!
We believed the easiest thing to do would be to rent one from a local piano company, but after placing a few calls we found that they didn’t have any “older-looking” player pianos, and even if they did, it would cost a lot of money to rent one for a night. We thought we were out of luck until one of the companies suggested that it would be cheaper if we just bought one online.
Surprisingly (to us at least), there were quite a few to choose from.
After examining all of the listings for pianos for sale we picked our favorite four. We heard back from a couple who was selling a Rubenstein player piano that fit the feel of the 1920s. So we headed to Carrollton to take a look, make sure the player part did indeed work, and check out the instrument’s overall condition.
Once we agreed to buy the piano we then had to work out transport to the Museum. After a few more calls, and the brief thought of moving it ourselves with a U-Haul, we ended up working with Piano Movers of Texas.
Two weeks after beginning our quest for a player piano we finally have one on-site, where it is waiting in our auditorium greenroom for its move next Friday to the Speakeasy.
Stop by during the Late Night and take a look at the newest addition to the DMA piano family, which also includes a 9-foot Steinway Concert Grand piano and a 6-foot Yamaha G Series Baby Grand white piano.
Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services.
Denise Helbing is Manager of Partner Programs.