Here’s why there are pianos in Cal Anderson and Volunteer Park


Inspired, perhaps, by the great Rancho Bravo piano installation of 2011, a new campaign has placed two pianos on surprising Capitol Hill stages. Thanks to Pianos in the Parks, you’ll find “artistically enhanced” uprights ready for the playing inside Cal Anderson and Volunteer Park:

Pianos in the Parks features 20 artistically enhanced pianos created by Gage Academy of Art faculty, students and friends, each placed in one of 15 iconic Seattle city parks and open spaces, such as Alki Park, Cal Anderson Park, and Seattle Center, and five King County Parks locations, including Marymoor Park and the Sammamish River Trail.

The project is designed to encourage “Puget Sound residents to discover 32,000+ acres of City of Seattle and King County parks and open spaces through the power of music and art,” a statement on the month-long effort reads.

Volunteer Park: The Colors of Sound Artist: Monika Tinoco — A student in the Kang-O’Higgins Atelier at Gage Academy of Art, Monika Tinoco exhibited her work most recently at the Museo Pumapungo in Ecuador, whose mission is to strengthen national identity and multiculturalism, protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions, and encourage the free artistic creation and production, dissemination, distribution and enjoyment of cultural goods and services.  Gallery Representation: FVega

Volunteer Park: The Colors of Sound Artist: Monika Tinoco — A student in the Kang-O’Higgins Atelier at Gage Academy of Art, Monika Tinoco exhibited her work most recently at the Museo Pumapungo in Ecuador, whose mission is to strengthen national identity and multiculturalism, protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions, and encourage the free artistic creation and production, dissemination, distribution and enjoyment of cultural goods and services.
Gallery Representation: FVega

It also comes as Seattle prepares to vote on a Seattle tax district to pay for the city’s parks and community centers. The project is underwritten by Laird Norton Wealth Management, according to a statement on the campaign.

While the painted pianos are intended to look nice, they’re also — at least for now — in tune:

Each piano, procured and tuned by Classic Pianos, is available for the public to play. Musicians of every level are encouraged to enter the Pianos in the Parks Facebook contest at: https://www.facebook.com/pianosintheparks, in which they can upload a video of their performance of an original piece or music from the public domain for a chance to play at Concerts at the Mural presented by KEXP and Seattle Center on Friday, August 22. Entries will be voted on by Facebook “likes” with the top five most heavily “liked” videos being judged by a community panel.

Capitol Hill’s Gage Academy lead the way in decorating the pianos. How Seattle Parks intends to keep people from, um, adding additional works of art to the pianos is not entirely clear. The pianos will offered for auction at the end of the project. Proceeds from the sales will benefit Seattle Parks and Recreation, King County Parks, Seattle Symphony, KEXP and Gage. You can learn more — and make a bid — at pianosintheparks.com.

Cal Anderson PianoArtist: Charles SpitzackCharles Spitzack is a Midwest artist and entrepreneur based out of Seattle, WA. Taking a multifaceted approach to survival, Spitzack is the founder of The New Number Two, a small business operating in the Capitol Hill/SODO neighborhoods, offering a wide range of hands-on services. Though he graduated from Cornish College of Art in 2010 with a focus in print arts & drawing, Spitzack prefers to be known as a self-realized individual. For more information, please visit: CSpitzack.com

Cal Anderson Piano — Artist: Charles Spitzack – Charles Spitzack is a Midwest artist and entrepreneur based out of Seattle, WA. Taking a multifaceted approach to survival, Spitzack is the founder of The New Number Two, a small business operating in the Capitol Hill/SODO neighborhoods, offering a wide range of hands-on services. Though he graduated from Cornish College of Art in 2010 with a focus in print arts & drawing, Spitzack prefers to be known as a self-realized individual.
For more information, please visit: CSpitzack.com

11 thoughts on “Here’s why there are pianos in Cal Anderson and Volunteer Park

  1. Don’t most people go to these parks for some peace and quiet. Now you risk having to listen to people banging on a piano. There is already too much noise pollution with the constant horn honking, dogs barking, sirens and things. Do we really need to add this irritant to our parks.

    • The last time I was in Cal Anderson (earlier this week around 6 PM), some jackasses were shooting off bottle rockets IN the park. between the playfield and the playground. (Yes, I reported it.) My kid was so terrified we had to leave. I’d much rather hear a piano.

  2. I’m loving this project. When we stumble across the unaccepted it does cause us to stop, pause and reflect on the moment. Well done. As for peace and quiet at Cal Anderson, I would welcome someone sitting a spell and playing a tune oppose to the usual tone of things at the precise location the piano was placed. Someone knew what they were doing in that respect.

  3. I ran across one of the pianos in the “park” across from Westlake Center today. Nobody was playing it, but there was a live show going on across the park so I don’t think anyone wanted to be disruptive.

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