City Program Turns Old Pianos Into Playable Public Art

The art is part of a Fort Collins, Colordo program known as Pianos About Town.

If you happen to be visiting Fort Collins, Colorado, you may just see something unusual in Old Town Square. People often come to the area because of the amazing artwork, seen in galleries and in area sculptures.

Along with everything that you will see in this area of Fort Collins, you also hear some artwork in a very unique way. It pulls people in and when you hear it, you can’t help but be drawn to it.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to the Denver Channel, the visual arts coordinator in Fort collins, Liz Good, speaks of the art as being “very, very active.” She says that there are people walking by and playing their own music, loud music that pulls people in.

Those who hear the music and trace it might be surprised with what they find. There are pianos scattered throughout the area as part of a program known as Pianos About Town. That program, which was inspired by something similar in New York takes, old pianos that are donated and re-purposes them for use in the downtown area.

Good speaks of it as being beneficial because it “creates an opportunity for people to enjoy local art and spontaneous music.”

Photo: YouTube/Denver7 – The Denver Channel

You could think of it as more than just an old piano that sits on a street corner. It’s a public piece of art, and one of the artists speaks about how he gets to connect with people through his art.

That artist, CM Canino, painted the next to the last piano that was painted last year. He was invited back along with 12 other artists to paint the pianos again, and he was the one who painted first this year.

According to the Denver Channel, after the pianos are painted, they will be put at a location that was determined ahead of time throughout Fort Collins. Canino said that after the pianos are painted, it “kind of becomes transformative, and how people play it.”

Photo: YouTube/Denver7 – The Denver Channel

Although Canino isn’t a musician, he certainly does have an artistic flair that got him invited back again this year to paint pianos. His strategy is somewhat different compared with last year’s, as he just plans on pacing himself, spreading out the work rather than doing it early or waiting until late.

Canino likes to use bright colors and different art styles to make people feel happy when they are looking at the piano. It goes along with the music being played, which is up to the audience to determine how it fits into their day.

He said: “It’s not the song, it’s how you play it. So, you know, even though this is vibrant, if you played a sad tune on it, it might read as a little bit sad. That’s the transformative element about the piano project that I really appreciate.”

Photo: YouTube/Denver7 – The Denver Channel

The pianos will be spread throughout the area at 20 different locations. Although the city will be working on this, they are not planning on promoting it as they would like it to be spontaneous in nature.

Good sums things up nicely when she said: “People love music, and they love creating music and hearing people create music. And it’s just this opportunity for somebody totally not expecting to do it, to walk up, see a piano and just play amazing music.”