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

(Submitted by Cassidi Markus)
Snow flurries forecasted for the Okanagan this weekend

Arctic front expected to bring colder than average temperatures and snow

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

The Summerland Steam will play their first exhibition game of the season on Friday, Oct. 23. Unlike previous years, there will be no spectators allowed in the stands this year in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Brennan Phillips - Black Press)
Junior B hockey teams to play in empty arenas

Summerland Steam and other teams affected by decision to close facilities to fans

Canadian Horizons is taking steps to develop a 320-unit residential neighbourhood at 1050 Spiller Road, northeast of the City of Penticton. (Canadian Horizons photo)
Penticton Indian Band opposes Canadian Horizons development

Proposed residential development will remove the protected rights of the syilx Nation, says PIB

This picture taken in yesteryears shows how popular the Naramata public beach has been over the years.
(Naramataslow)
It does take a village to save a beach

Nearly $600K raised so far to preserve Naramata park

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is conducting a citizen survey. (Black Press file photo)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen survey to conclude Nov. 1

2020 Citizen Survey results used to evaluate services

Vernon Fire Rescue Services and Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP were called to a report of an electrical fire at the emergency response centre operated by Turning Points Collaborative Society on 37th Street Sunday, Oct. 18, just before 5:30 p.m. The fire displaced shelter residents who have been set up with services at the Vernon Recreation Complex. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Vernon shelter residents find refuge in hotels, motels, recreation complex after fire

Electrical fire at Turning Points Collaborative Society’s emergency response centre on 37th Street

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna man charged after allegedly stealing senior’s car

Elderly woman’s car was stolen while she was shopping

Salmon Arm RCMP say residents have been receiving calls from fraudster claiming to be with Publishers Clearing House. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP warn of Publishers Clearing House telephone scam

Police say scammer requests fee to claim sweepstakes prizes

Osoyoos Fire Department responded to reports of a vehicle engulfed in flames Sunday (Oct. 18) evening at a Lambert Court residence. (Osoyoos Fire Department)
Osoyoos Fire Department knock down car fire near home

Blaze was ‘really close’ to becoming a structure fire

Colin James put on a great show at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds as part of the 2019 Vancouver Island MusicFest. But his Okanagan tour for 2020 has been postponed until 2021. (Photo by Terry Farrell)
COVID-19 cancels more Okanagan concerts

The Contenders and Colin James postponed until 2021

Most Read