Okanagan piano silenced by vandals

The piano has been thrown away but the bench salvaged and at Long Gallery

The popular street piano that delighted visitors and locals alike this August in Nanaimo Square is no more.

The colourful artist-painted piano played its last song last week. It was vandalized and damaged beyond repair, forcing the entire object to be dismantled and thrown away last Thursday, said Penticton city bylaw manager Tina Siebert.

However, the piano bench was saved. It remains on display at Long Gallery on Main Street as a way of remembering what was a ‘beautiful experience,’ this summer in Penticton, said Long Gallery artist and owner Jenny Long.

“We truly loved collaborating on this public art piece that brought so much joy, even for a short time,” said Long.

“We knew what we were getting into when we decided to create public art. Look at what happened to the public art on the boardwalk on Lakeshore. But the purpose of doing this is so much bigger than the actual piano.”

City pianist, composer and music teacher Justin Glibbery tickled the ivories on the piano at Nanaimo Square. A local dressed up in a mascot costume, sat down and played one day.

WATCH: Musician Justin Gliberry tickles the Penticton ivories

The piano had been transformed into a colourful, playful masterpiece by seven artists from the Long Gallery.

“The city and Downtown Penticton Association approached us in early August to create this piano and so we worked on it live in Nanaimo Square,” said Long.

She recalls one time while she was painting, a local street person sat down and started playing the most beautiful rendition of Imagine by John Lennon.

“That’s when I painted ‘Imagine All the People’,” she said. “I told Justin about it and that was the first song he played in his set on the piano,” she said.

Siebert said over the time the piano was in the square, keys had been ripped off, the front cover had been torn off and at one point, someone tried to light it on fire.

“We also had that rain so the piano had taken quite a beating. The artists had spent a lot of time making it look so beautiful so we decided that after the September long weekend we would take it away,” said Siebert.

“The piano was supposed to be displayed at Long Gallery but it was too damaged to display. At least, we were able to salvage the bench,” said Siebert.

“It was highly predictable that there would be some vandalism. But overall, this was a really positive experience for Penticton,” she said. Nanaimo Square has had its challenges over the years and this was a great way to bring some vibrancy to it, she said.

“This was a pilot project for us and we see this as a win so we will definitely consider doing it again next summer.”

The artists that contributed to painting the piano are Jenny Long, Alexandra Brooke (who painted the majority of the bench), Ron Gladish, Nettie Steuernagel and Graham Fox. The gallery’s seventh resident artist, Christina Baird, couldn’t join in on the fun due to Covid-19.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


 

@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, Megan Gaddy was busy sorting bottles donated by residents throughout the Shuswap to support the cost of emergency surgery required for her dog Lucy. (Contributed)
North Okanagan-Shuswap residents step up for pet owner facing emergency vet bill

Megan Gaddy busy sorting donated bottles to bring her black lab Lucy home

Mayor Terry Rysz receives the ceremonial first poppy from Legion president Bill Moore and vice president Marty Goble. (Sicamous Legion/Facebook)
Sicamous Legion adjusts Remembrance Day to pandemic

Live-streamed ceremony and changes to poppy campaign in the works

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

A four-vehicle accident on the Bruhn Bridge in Sicamous destroyed two cars and a section of bridge guardrail but remarkably injured no one. (Sicamous RCMP Image)
Sicamous’ Bruhn Bridge site of two collisions

Although a total of five vehicles were involved, no one was injured

Russ Hodgkins, left, Mayor Terry Rysz, Deb Heap, Legion Vice President Marty Goble and Sicamous councillor Jeff Mallmes meet to celebrate a Communities in Bloom award Sicamous received for work done at the Legion hall on Main Street. (Submitted)
Sicamous projects get Communities in Bloom awards

Work at the legion hall and the Red Barn Arts Centre recognized

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

(Brennan Phillips - Western News)
UPDATE: Flames doused for second time at fatal Penticton apartment fire

The Elm Ave. building first caught fire around 4 a.m., killing two people and displacing dozens

Two have been taken to hospital following a vehicle crash north of Vernon on Highway 97 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Crash north of Vernon causes Highway 97 traffic delays

Emergency crews respond to two-vehicle incident near Swan Lake; occupants taken to hospital

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

(Submitted)
Penticton apartment fire claims two lives

An apartment on Elm Avenue went up in flames Tuesday morning

A Summerland woman has set up an online fundraiser to provide backpacks to those being released from correctional facilities.(ca.gofundme.com)
Summerland woman raising money for backpack program

Backpacks will be distributed to those being released from correctional facilities

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
15 cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna Francophone school outbreak

Three other schools in Kelowna are also dealing with potential exposure events

Most Read