Sunday, May 13, 2012


Old Town Square Fort Collins, Colorado
is the site for the "Pianos About Town" program

Day 1: Uncovering my old upright piano for the first time. 
This piano was built in 1929 by the Schiller Piano Company in Oregon, Illinois!!

Old Town Square Fort Collins, Colorado
already has several pianos on display for the public's enjoyment
Laurie Beth Zuckerman was awarded a contract to paint the first piano of the 2012 Pianos About Town competition sponsored by the City of Fort Collins Art in Public Places, the Bohemian Foundation, and the Downtown Development Authority. The piano is on the Old Town Square stage on Mountain Avenue. It is entitled, "Tickle the Ivories" as it appears the White Pelicans are flying low enough to tickle the keys with their primary feathers. Come on down and give it a "tickle."

The photos below show my progress since beginning on May 9. Despite heat, sun, cold, wind, and rain, I managed to stay on schedule. It has taken me 12 days to complete this old upright piano, as all surfaces, front, back, top and sides had to be painted, and each panel has at least four to five layers of acrylic and latex paint. I finished on May 23, 2012. My piano will remain on Old Town Square for the next month or so and after that, I am not sure where it will travel to in Fort Collins.

I painted on Mother's Day, Colorado State University's graduation weekend, and during several Streetmosphere concerts, so the Square has been hopping with families and curious children. Thanks to all the wonderful musicians who have serenaded me while I have painted. Twelve additional pianos will be painted by the other winning local artists during this year's summer and fall program. The pianos remain outdoors for the local community to play anytime of day or night. 

Day 11: Backside of the piano is now complete
Day 11: Closeup of pelican on the backside of the piano
Day 10: Closeup of pelican on the front of the piano
Day 12: Completed paint with faux keyboard painted on outside of cover.
Day 7: Not quite finished with the front

Day 5: First pass at painting the front of the piano

Day 10: A chain of pelicans flies across the top of the piano

Day 13: Signed the piano with its title, "Tickle the Ivories"

Day 10: Yellow-headed Blackbirds on the side of the piano
Day 10: Red-winged Blackbirds on the right side
Day 2: Underpainting the piano with recycled paint from the dump
Day 2: Priming and underpainting piano

Below are the two acrylic sketches of the piano I submitted 
with my design proposal to the Art in Public Places committee. 
These were my sole references for the piano painting,
 and I was able to stick almost exactly to my plan.


Annie Jeffries said...

Ive seen altered cellos but never altered pianos. This is very ambitious. I'm impressed.

rebecca said...

oh laurie,
what an amazing project! the idea of art being created in the heart of this lively town is so exciting! to watch and be inspired by artists and then to have the open invitation to play on these whimsically transformed
pianos is sheer JOY! your piano is a lively beautiful beginning to a inspired project that embraces creativity as an accessible and vital pursuit. BRAVO!!!

Gayle said...

What a great idea. I love interactive art, and your piano is beautiful.

lyle baxter said...

what a wonderful thing! I would love to hear the comments you must have heard as you were painting! all your birds look happy in the park!

Upright Pianos said...

Awesome work.
Never heard about this art to paint piano.A marvelous innovative idea.
The art is so very lovely and live...
Great art..!!!


Thanks everyone for your lovely comments!!! The painting of the piano continues on, despite wind, rain, and cooooolllllllddddddd temperatures. Hoping for warmer weather in these next few days of finishing the "beast."

lschwebach said...

Stunning! Now I need to get my son and his musician friends down to Old Town to play your creation. It was fun watching this beautiful creation come to life. Thank you for sharing your gift with our community!

Carole H said...

Love the activity of the pelicans and the colors in the reeds!!!

A beautiful addition to the Pianos About Town collection!