The City Council on Monday night approved $90,000 for the purchase of a handmade Italian piano as part of the plan to establish the Klavierhause Piano Conservatory. The council entered into a contract with Piano Culture Institutional Consultants at Klavierhaus “for the purchase of a Fazioli Pianoforti F-228 (photo below) to enhance the Arts District Expansion Project.”
The piano retails for $140,000, according to City Administrator and Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier, but the city will pay $90,000, with “another source outside of the municipal tax base” that will contribute $5,000. The piano will be on loan to the Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC) and can be moved for performances at the planned amphitheater as well as the arts center.
The bank building adjacent to UCPAC (on the corner of Coach Street) will be retrofitted to house the Klavierhaus Piano Conservatory, which will offer a variety of recitals, lessons, performances and more “with special emphasis given to young people.” The Edge art gallery nearby is being eyed for a satellite sales office for Klavier, where it could feature console pianos, according to Mayor James Kennedy.
A world-class piano brings an interesting component of a respectable art form, Kennedy said, and it shows that city is serious about the arts, especially to funders like the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
The piano will attract internationally renowned pianists that have chosen Fazioli pianos in concert halls, conservatories, theaters and recording studios to perform and record their performances for the public to attend, according to Pelissier. “This is one component that will be a tremendous asset for the UCPAC to provide for and make Rahway a distinct destination of the arts,” he said.
Asked how a $90,000 purchase for a piano could be justified as property taxes rise, Pelissier described it as an investment in the arts district and the city’s overall redevelopment plans, not unlike the county’s $6-million purchase and renovation of UCPAC, construction of the library and recreation center, and renovation of Train Station Plaza.
“Municipalities that have concert halls have testified that the monies that come in to their respective towns and cities are in the millions resulting from parking fees, spending in restaurants, etc.,” Pelissier said. “In as much, as redevelopment has slowed down with the exception of a few projects, the arts initiatives set forth by the mayor will not only attract people to Rahway, it will continue to attract redevelopers to our city when the economic market returns. Our city will be ready.”