KELOWNA – An idea that started as a simple Facebook post one year ago is now a reality for tourists and residents alike to enjoy.
Last spring Festivals Kelowna posted to their Facebook page a video called The People’s Piano from South London. It shows a man playing a piano that the local government set up in a location popular with tourists and locals. Festivals Kelowna spokesperson and city councilor Ryan Donn says the response from the group members was overwhelming.
“We post this thing about pianos and everyone said ‘we have to have that in Kelowna.’”
One year later and there are now five brightly painted, upright pianos scattered across Kelowna, free for anyone to play, day or night, throughout the summer. It is called Pianos in the Park.
Each of the five pianos were donated by Keystone Music, who will be responsible for keeping them tuned and playable.
There is one in the City Park tunnel, one near Jim Stewart Park, one behind the Kelowna courthouse, another next to the Rotary Centre for the Arts and the fifth at the Busk Stop on Bernard Avenue.
Donn says the total cost of program will be around $5,000, some of which will come from the city.
“The cost to the City of Kelowna is very minimal,” he says. “We’re looking at probably around $5,000 by the time everything gets up and running but we have sponsors who will be covering some of that cost.”
One of the sponsors, Disney Interactive, provided the artists who decorated the pianos, each with a distinctive design. The decorations are intended to both enhance the appeal as well as deter potential vandals.
“What we learned (from other municipalities) is that if you do put that extra effort into decorating them that greatly reduces potential graffiti.”
Donn is also hoping that if the pianos are appealing enough, citizens will take it upon themselves to help out when it rains.
“There will be covers for them so as it rains we ask the public to put those covers on,” he says. “I can tell you that staff of the businesses around the pianos are going to take ownership of the program.”
Kamloops also has a public piano, which is located downtown and has been a hit with locals and tourists. The blue chalkboard piano was made public last summer.
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