City on song with Make Your Place grants

15 Mar 2017

Impromptu gatherings around an old piano in Mayfield West have brought a bit of light entertainment to the main street courtesy of a Newcastle City Council Make Your Place grant.

Men in high-vis work wear, kids in soccer uniforms and international university students have all been tickling the ivories of a piano placed by Rotary Club of Newcastle Enterprise (RCNE) outside a Maitland Road shop with help from a Make Your Place grant.

"The piano in Mayfield West is a wonderful example of how a Make Your Place grant can activate a public space," Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

"I've heard that it's been played by people of all ages and from all walks of life. Some like to play jazz, classical, or pop while others just sit down and tinker with the keys. It has improved the ambience near two food outlets and become something of a noticeboard for musicians advertising their own gigs."

The piano belonged to RCNE's Julia Brougham for more than 60 years before she and other members gave it a coat of paint and beautified a spot outside the antique shop at 400 Maitland Road.

"It was just collecting dust so we thought it would be better here in the street making people happy," Brougham said while watching friend Diana Bridgman playing a tune.

"It's been a great addition to the area and these chairs have appeared all by themselves - we didn't put them here."

Julia Brougham, and Diana Bridgman.

Other community-minded people with bright ideas to activate public spaces are invited to apply for this year's Make Your Place grants, with the first round of applications now open to Monday 27 March.

Wall murals, sculptures, free bike hire, community events and gardening/greening activities are examples of potential Make Your Place projects that could improve spaces in need of some inspiration.

To be eligible for a grant of up to $2,000, a group of no less than three applicants must show how their project or initiative relates to public space in Newcastle.

Sporting and community groups, event organisers and entrepreneurs will also be able to apply for around $250,000 in funding under Newcastle City Council's grants and sponsorships.

The grants and sponsorships open on 3 April.

More information is available on Council's website.