Pianos About Town Announces 2022 Piano Artists

Artist Ren Burke paints a piano in Old Town Fort Collins. The Pianos About Town program is now accepting applications.

12 of 13 Artists Are New to the Program This Season

Pianos About Town, a program that brings local art and spontaneous music to the streets of Fort Collins, recently announced the artists selected to paint pianos in 2022. Twelve of 13 artists are new to the program this season.

Local artists selected to paint pianos in 2022 are Becca Black, Hannah Call, CM Canino, Ciera Dykstra, Monika Lea Jones, Athena Koss, Cheng Li, Holly McQuinn, Kris Barz Mendonça, Rachael Pitchford, Makari Roehrkasse, Snail Candy Arts, and Aerica Raven Van Dorn.

“We’re excited to welcome our returning and many new artists to this program,” said Ellen Martin, Visual Arts Administrator for the City of Fort Collins. “We received a record number of applications this year and are pleased with the diversity of styles and artist experience selected as part of the City of Fort Collins’ RFP process.”

Outdoor summer painting started May 11 at the Art in Action tent on the south side of Fort Collins’ Old Town Square.

New Artist Profile: Kris Barz Mendonça, “The Universe in a Piano Shell” Kris Barz Mendonça is a first-time artist with the Pianos About Town program. Mendonça says the pianos were one of the first things he noticed when he moved to Fort Collins from Brazil.

“I feel connected to the initiative of the Pianos About Town project because art in public spaces is one of the ways you can make urban areas more community-oriented,” said Mendonça. “At the same time, art can be visually appealing or thought-provoking, being able to make people learn about our past or wonder about the future of society.” Mendonça uses a lighthearted colorful style, friendly characters, and storytelling to explore a range of topics.

Mendonça will paint “The Universe in a Piano Shell,” a concept that explores the human desire to explore the universe. Mendonça will use a comic-inspired style and narrative to depict Fort Collins and the universe.

Mendonça concept image:

New Artist Profile: Cheng Li, “Whimsical Music Machine” Cheng Li learned to play piano as a young child. “I remember riding my little sky-blue bike down to my piano teacher’s house for my weekly piano lessons,” said Li. “From then on, music has been the one constant in my life. When I moved overseas from Japan to the U.S. and lost my spoken language, music was the one language that stayed with me. Music was there for me when I felt lost without my voice.”

“This project called out to me because it married two of my passions: music and art,” said Li. “When I was designing this piece, my focus was to create an inviting and fun design to attract people to play the piano. Whether a new player, a seasoned player or just a passerby, I want to share my love of music and art with them through this project.”

Li also played a painted piano on her first visit to Fort Collins.

“I spotted a painted piano and sat down to play,” said Li. “In that moment, playing on the beautiful piano under the dappled shade of an aged tree, I felt at home in this new place. I hope that through my art, I can help create a similar magical moment for someone else strolling through the town.”

Li will paint “Whimsical Music Machine,” a concept that reimagines the internal mechanisms of a piano. Instead of strings and hammers, this piano is powered by gears and pipes. The whimsical musical machine grows rainbows and plants, and the world is inhabited by colorful creatures who call the piano their home.

Li concept image:

Pianos About Town brings local art and spontaneous music to the streets of Fort Collins. Pianos About Town started in 2010 as a collaboration among Bohemian Foundation, the City of Fort Collins Art in Public Places program and the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority. Community members watch as local artists transform donated pianos into public art. In 2018, the program celebrated its 100th painted piano.

Scattered among 20 locations across town in the summer, and six locations in the winter, the completed pianos offer surprise interruptions of color and music across Fort Collins. The whimsical pianos beckon to passersby and invite them to make and listen to music together.

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