One of the pianos, freshly painted, before being moved outside to a park. (Photo courtesy of Pianos in the Parks)

Via KIRO Radio in Seattle:

At Seattle Center, just outside the Armory building, Queen Anne kids, Nathan and Libby, tinker around on a piano.

“When I first saw it, I thought it looked really beautiful because the water colors looked very pretty,” Libby said.

The piano has been transformed into a work of art.

“It was Seattle painted by the water at nighttime with Mount Rainier in the background,” Nathan explained the piano’s painted design. “Really amazing how they do this. I love the art, just love the art.”

This piano is one of 20 planted in various Seattle and King County parks for a month-long exhibit called Pianos in the Parks and anyone and everyone is encouraged to sit down and play.

“Seattle is about music, about open space, about parks. This is a unique way of fusing that all together,” said KEXP’s executive director Tom Mara, a sponsor of Pianos in Parks. “It’s great for kids and great for the eco-system of Seattle.”

Laird Norton Wealth Management came up with the idea and CEO Robert Moser says it’s not a ‘look don’t touch’ situation.

“No, no, no, that’s why they’re painted that way. They’re much more approachable than a formal mahogany piano.”

The pianos were painted by students and instructors at Seattle’s Gage Academy of Art.

“There’s a piano that looks like a robot, there’s a piano that looks like the Piano Man,” Robert said. “There’s one piano that is completely covered in moss. There are several pianos that were specifically designed to blend into the parks and look like a park setting.”

The hope is to reacquaint locals with their parks, to give them a new reason to get outside, and perhaps spark a little piano interest.

“These were probably under-loved and underused pianos,” Robert said. “Unfortunately, we don’t even talk about playing pianos anymore, we talk about playing keyboards. So there are a lot of unhappy, unused, unloved pianos around. These we were able to essentially give them a second life, paint them, put them in parks. They’ll probably get played more in the next month than they were in their entire life. In the end, they’ll be auctioned off so they’ll actually find a home.”