Let Your Fingers Fly
l-r Karma Vance and Maggee Spicer, artists who painted the public piano at YXS-photo 250News
Prince George, B.C.- Don’t be surprised to see someone letting their fingers fly over the ivories at the Prince George Airport. It’s part of a project that brings pianos to the streets of Prince George.
P.S. Piano Service and the Prince George Symphony Orchestra have joined forces to bring five public pianos to P.G. for the City’s centennial. Two have been custom painted with artists Karma Vance and Maggee Spicer responsible for the one that is positioned at YXS.
It took one weekend to varnish and put on the base coat, then another week to apply the images of a picnic style table setting, with teapots, plates, watermelon and strawberries. “We just wanted it to be approachable and enjoyable” says Karma Vance. Vance and Spicer already have a piano painting to their credit, having done one for the Cancer Centre in Prince George.
Peter Stevenson ( of P.S. Piano Service) says of the five pianos to be placed in Prince George, only two will be protected from the elements. The one at YXS and one that was painted by Erin Stewart which will be featured at the Civic Centre “Public street painted pianos is a growing phenomenon around the world” says Stevenson.
As for the outdoor pianos being victims of vandalism, Stevenson says that’s not a concern “These are pianos that are in rougher shape, they will be out in the elements, pianos that people walking by can play them, I really invite anyone to come and play them. There will be one piano outside the Odeon on Third Avenue another outside the HSBC building and then one at the bandshell at Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park.” Each of the pianos will be chained to a pillar so they can’t be pushed over. “Those (three outdoor) pianos are really at the end of their life, so what’s going to happen is that at the end of the ten 10s, we’re going to have a recycling party. Most pianos just get taken to the dump, but there’s a lot of metal in them, so we’re really excited to put these pianos to be properly.”
So from today through the 19th of July, the pianos are available for anyone to sit down and let their fingers fly “I really wanted to celebrate the vibrant musical community in Prince George and that we’ve had in Prince George since the beginning, so we’re hoping to have some piano teachers bring their students to try out the pianos” says Stevenson.
When the 10 days are done, the painted piano at the Airport will be donated to the Two Rivers Art Gallery, the other is expected to be permanently installed at another, as yet unnamed location.
YXS President and CEO John Gibson says the painted public piano is a great fit for the airport ” It builds on our arts in the terminal program, helps us celebrate the City’s 100 years, and have some fun for the people who come through our terminal.”
The piano proved to be irresistible to one airport visitor as a 2 year old boy was the first to plunk himself down on the piano bench and start hitting the keys, no virtuoso, but his music created plenty of smiles all around.