Flower Power

Faurest Paints a Piano

Liz looks at a brightly painted piano, planted headfirst in the soil in a forest clearingphoto credit: Howard Johnson

Visit the Piano Garden this summer when you come out to the Festival. The Garden is a meditation space in the midst of a pine forest, comprising 11 pianos in a ring. Each piano in the garden is buried partway in the dirt, as if emerging from the soil like a plant.

As part of her Americore experience, Faurest Nelson-Wicks recently came to the garden to paint one of the pianos. She chose a brilliant 60's flower-power color scheme. Faurest asked how the pianos got here.

I replied, "These pianos were made over 100 years ago. They were lovingly crafted from perfect, straight-grained timbers, highly polished, and finely tuned. They were attended to every day, probably played for 50 more than years. Over time, once all the bits of felt and leather inside the pianos wore out, and their owners passed away, the pianos fell into disrepair. They changed from cherished musical instruments into nothing more than bits of heirloom furniture, sitting for decades in someone's basement. Then they came here, to the Garden, where they each may slowly return to the dust from whence they came. Someday they may even be reborn as new trees. Perhaps people in the distant future will make them into more pianos."

Quotes from the pianos

  • Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.
    —Victor Hugo
  • Don't leave your coke on the piano or it will make a ring.
  • Perhaps you took lessons as a child, or remember your mother playing, or maybe your grandparents danced to the tunes coming out of an old player piano like this one.
  • Music washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday life.
    —Berthold Auerbach
  • Love is a piano dropped from a fourth story window, and you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
    —Ani Difrenceo
  • Life is like a piano... What you get out of it depends on how you play it.

Piano Garden logoThe Piano Garden is about life.