Everybody deserves a piano. Or at least access to one. That’s the basic idea behind Mundi Project, a Utah non-profit which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this month with a live music-and-art-making performance at the Visual Art Institute.
Founded by Executive Director Hana Janatova, Mundi donates, repairs, and tunes pianos for individual families and public spaces that do not have the financial means to obtain a piano. “As a first-generation immigrant, I witnessed first-hand what my parents went through to begin a new life in America — so that we could grow up in a country that allowed freedom of expression and growth. Education, music, arts, and nature were all important elements of our upbringing,” says the professional music educator. Over the past 10 years they have placed more than 150 instruments.
In addition, Mundi hosts Harmony Hubs — piano labs, music classrooms, workshops, and even a recording studio designed to provide free music education to low-income populations in the Salt Lake area (at the Sorenson Unity Center and Glendale Library) — and Mundi Live, a series of free performances that introduce diverse audiences to classical piano literature and various musical genres.
Mundi’s most recent venture is a collaborative one with the Visual Art Institute in Salt Lake City. For years Janatova has been working with VAI Executive Director Bruce Robertson on multidisciplinary project, and this year they inaugurated Impulse. “We wanted to develop a series of events that allowed for spontaneous creative work across the visual art and music mediums,” says Janatova. “In essence, visual artists working away from the isolation of their studios and becoming performance artists for a moment, reacting off of live music performance by listening to the textures, moods, and rhythms found in musical composition.”
The first event was Impulse @ Mundi Live in May. The miniature festival turned the Leona Wagner Black Box Theater into an artist studio. Instead of live models to draw from for inspiration, live music performances by musicians from the Mundi Project, Gifted Music School, and Salt Lake School for the Performing Arts served as the catalyst for visual art creation. The audience was invited after the two-hour performance onto the black box stage for a spontaneous gallery stroll among the newly created artwork.
The second event, Impulse @ VAI, happens Saturday, Nov. 5 and follows a similar format. Led by Visual Arts Institute faculty, musical inspiration will be the driving force as participants create visual collaborations to live music performance. A short reception will follow.
This event is free and open to all ages, but since space is limited, registration is required.
Impulse @ VAI, Saturday, November 5, 3-5 p.m. Visual Art Institute, 2901 South Highland Drive. To learn more about Mundi visit mundiproject.org.