Oak Bay piano art touches hearts of supported housing residents

A painted piano from this summer’s Oak Bay Art Tour is brightening the lives of residents at Pacifica Housing’s Medewiwin complex

A painted piano from this summer’s Oak Bay Art Tour is brightening the lives of residents at Pacifica Housing’s Medewiwin Supported Housing complex. Local artist Daciana Dao painted the piano, working for a month at Willows elementary school where she was often visited by curious kids and teachers.

The piano spent the summer at Oak Bay Marina, where the public enjoy both the artwork and the opportunity to make music on the beachfront. This fall, the piano was auctioned as a fundraiser for Oak Bay art programs, purchased by Dr. Debra Braithwaite and artist Andy Wooldridge, who donated it to Pacifica Housing.

“I was so thrilled. Even though (the piano) was not my donation, it was something that came from me,” says Dao, who has lived in Pacifica Housing.

“It was a chance for me to give back. Without Pacifica Housing, I wouldn’t be able to follow my passion and paint. I hope that the story of the piano and the paint inspires people to follow their dreams and not give up.”

Medewiwin is one of Pacifica’s five supported housing complexes and includes 26 self-contained bachelor and one-bedroom apartments for individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“It is wonderful to see the community collaborate to create the gift of music, accessible to all,” said Dean Fortin executive director at Pacifica Housing. “We are very excited to be part of such a wonderful project and to have it come full circle with the artist living in Pacifica Housing. Projects like this give people the sense that they matter, that music matters, and that the community cares.”