Glenna Garramone, Arts & Culture Programmer with Oak Bay Parks, Recreation & Culture, tickles the ivories at Cattle Point the first full day public pianos were out for play. (Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News)

Painted pianos ready for public play in Oak Bay

Pianos installed at Turkey Head, Loon Bay Park, Cattle Point, Willows Park and Estevan Village

Five pianos painted by local artists return for the public to play and enjoy in Oak Bay this summer.

“The program is now in its fourth year and it’s spearheaded by our arts laureate Barbara Adams. The idea is to have more public art in Oak Bay. Especially with the pianos there’s something that the public can engage with both as a visual piece of art and also of course as a musical instrument,” Glenna Garramone, arts and culture programmer. “They’re a beautiful addition to our community for people to engage with and to engage with one another.”

Artists Gillian Redwood, Jim McFarland, Tanta Pennington, Jonathan Gleed, and Robert Amos have painted pop-up pianos installed at Turkey Head, Loon Bay Park, Cattle Point, Willows Park and Estevan Village. Pianos can be played during the day and are covered overnight.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” Garramone said. “To have something that really engages people, gets people talking to each other, gets people potentially singing or dancing in public, I think anything that does that is a great thing.”

Oak Bay also plans to host a pop up piano cabaret with local musicians in during Arts and Culture Week that runs Aug. 13 to 20.

The painted pianos are part of the Oak Bay Parks, Recreation and Culture’s ArtsAlive 2017 that includes 13 public artworks on loan from various artists. Each artist is sponsored by a local business or community group. During the year, the community votes for their favourite sculpture and the most popular work is considered for possible purchase by the municipality. Printed maps, featuring ballots, are available at Oak Bay recreation centres and Oak Bay municipal hall which also boast brightly coloured ballot boxes. Art visitors can vote by smart phone again this year using QR codes.

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