In the year since the Braddock-based nonprofit For Good PGH opened The Hollander Project, entrepreneurs have been flourishing at this women’s business incubator. The building now serves as headquarters for 11 local businesswomen, and plans are in the works to expand into a second building across the street.
But growth isn’t just happening inside this creative space.
“We have a beautiful outdoor space which wasn’t beautiful when we started. But it had the possibility of being beautiful,” explains For Good co-founder Gisele Fetterman.
That renovated garden is now home to a piano donated by Netflix and the Pittsburgh Film Office, as part of For Good’s ongoing efforts to improve access and equity for all.
Just as she opened the swimming pool at the Lt. Governor’s mansion to children who don’t normally have access to a pool, Fetterman wanted to provide access to musical instruments to local residents who might not have the chance to play.
The piano, which was used in the filming of the recent adaptation of the August Wilson play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” is housed in a structure custom-built by Grounded (formerly known as G-Tech). So it’s protected from the elements, but still available to everyone.
The Grounded team also helped create other “outdoor instruments,” says Fetterman, using elements like wood and metal pipes. The goal, she says, is to spread the message that music is for everyone and at any time.
And it’s working: “Little kids will come and play music,” Fetterman says, and a talented local piano player named Shy, who is blind, has been playing the piano several times each week.
“He just pours out the most beautiful sounds,” Fetterman says. “And he’s beginning to get an audience.”
Women working inside The Hollander Project have begun coming out when they hear Shy’s music.
Check out this video of Shy, whose full name is Shailen Abram, playing the outdoor piano. (Or if your browser isn’t showing it, try this link.)