Eastman New Venture Challenge

Marissa Balonon-Rosen and Lauren Petrilli

Pianos for Peace

Project Description

The “Pianos for Peace Project” follows the idea that by actively involving people in music, we can make for a more peaceful community. This summer, about 10 pianos (upright and baby grand) will be placed throughout the City of Rochester (mostly outdoors) for anyone to play. They will be placed in several different neighborhoods, including those that generally do not have much access to the arts or pianos.

Youth, local artists, and community members will work together to paint the pianos peace themed. After a couple weeks, we will create a “Piano Park for Peace” by placing the pianos outdoors at the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence (South Plymouth Ave). There will be several events to bring the community together through music and peace- free piano lessons, yoga, lectures about non-violence, etc. The surviving pianos will then be donated to youth focused and non-violence focused organizations.

Marissa Balonon-Rosen's Bio

Marissa Balonon-Rosen grew up in the City of Rochester and graduated in 2009 from Wilson Magnet High School, located on Genesee Street in the 19th Ward. She attends the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music, expecting to receive degrees in Urban Youth Studies and Music Theory in May of 2014. Marissa is involved in projects that promote non-violence and community building among the city's youth. She has organized events such as 5K runs and a youth leadership conference, and is a founding board member of the Rochester Police Activities League (PAL). She brought a music program to Industry, a local juvenile detention center. She organized a bike club for Pathstone's Sojourner House and has worked at NYU's Hip-Hop Education Center and at Art-Start, a New York City organization that provides dance, art and music experiences for youth in New York City's homeless shelters. Marissa has worked closely with Rochester youth advocate Tim Weider. She served as a Gandhi Service fellow for two years, and is currently on the board of the Gandhi Institute. Her current projects include support for Determined Divas, a gang-prevention program for girls. Marissa plays classical piano, flute, and electric bass, instructs Zumba in Rochester and New York City, and is Promotions Director of WRUR (Contagious Bumper Car), the University's radio station.

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Lauren Petrilli's Bio

Lauren is a recent graduate from the University of Rochester with a B.A. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Psychology. She has developed an interest in the benefits of music for individuals with developmental disabilities as an aid for communication, the healing benefits of music for severely ill individuals, as well as the benefits of requiring music as part of education for youth. She is a long time lover of the piano.

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