A work party on Saturday prepares Port Angeles’ downtown piano for a makeover on Saturday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

A work party on Saturday prepares Port Angeles’ downtown piano for a makeover on Saturday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Downtown Port Angeles piano getting a makeover

PORT ANGELES — The piano that filled the downtown streets of Port Angeles with music last summer is getting a makeover before it returns.

A work party at the Conrad Dyer Memorial Fountain in downtown Port Angeles pulled the piano apart on Saturday, sanding it and prepping it to be painted this week — and possibly back out on the streets by this weekend.

Downtown business owner Mike French, a City Council member, said he began putting the piano out last summer.

His inspiration was a young trumpet player who busked at the fountain, he said.

“It was a young musician who was trying to better himself and become better at his craft while entertaining people in the process,” French said.

French, who plays piano and has never had a portable instrument, wanted pianists to be able to do the same thing, he said.

After checking with city officials and neighbors, French added better wheels to a piano, which was donated by United Methodist Church, and began leaving it at the fountain on sunny days.

French said he was delighted to see how well the community reacted to having the piano downtown last summer.

“We’re a super musical community, so to me this made total sense,” he said. “And to see the joy it brought to a lot of people solidified what I thought was a great idea.”

After the piano had been out for awhile, people suggested that it should be painted, French said. That’s when, at the suggestion of others, French asked Natalie Martin of Sequim to paint the piano before it hits the streets again this summer.

Martin, who has specialized in painting pianos for the last eight years, also painted pianos in Sequim for Keying Around.

She said she will combine elements that speak to Port Angeles, taking a whimsical approach that will likely include mountains, water and music.

“It’s always a lot of detail; it’s not just a block of colors,” she said. “Every piano tells a story and I let the piano speak for itself.”

Though she specializes in painting pianos, she doesn’t play music. She leaves that to people who know what they are doing, she said.

“I am not musically inclined,” she said. “I have a deep appreciation for pianos. I love music, but I leave that to someone else. I just make them pretty.”

She estimated that she could be done painting the piano on Friday, depending on how things go. She planned to paint much of it from her home, but also planned to paint parts of it at the former Maurices, adjacent to the fountain.

She said it will take some time to dry before it can be out in the sun.

French said he is excited and is prepared to put the piano out again for the public to use once it’s done.

He said last summer he would push the piano out in the morning, then sit down at the fountain to play music and relax in the morning.

“It was a moment to myself,” he said.

French, who often plays piano in his living room at home, said playing in public is different and that the downtown piano has worked as a conversation started.

“I’d have all sorts of really interesting conversations with people I never really would have had a conversation with without that piece to start a conversation,” he said. “Out here, it’s hard to not have conversations and make connections.”

________

Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

Piano artist Natalie Martin of Sequim sands down the piano that filled the Port Angeles downtown streets with music last year during a work party Saturday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Piano artist Natalie Martin of Sequim sands down the piano that filled the Port Angeles downtown streets with music last year during a work party Saturday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

More in Northwest

Matt Marshall, leader of the Washington Three Percenters gun rights group, addresses a crowd rallying for Second Amendment rights Jan. 17 at the state Capitol in Olympia. Marshall condemned Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, which expelled Rep. Matt Shea from the Republican Caucus. Marshall announced his candidacy for the 2nd District seat held by House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox. Photo by Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service
Gun rights advocates rally at Capitol

Criticism levied at Matt Shea investigation, Republican leadership.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (center) announced a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson in a press conference Jan. 2. Debbie Warfield of Everett (left) lost her son to a heroin overdose in 2012. Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki (right) lost her son to an overdose of OxyContin in 2017. They are joined by Rep. Lauren Davis of Shoreline (second from right), founder of the Washington Recovery Alliance. (TVW screenshot)
AG Bob Ferguson talks lawsuits, gun control

Washington state Attorney General stopped by Sound Publishing’s Kirkland office.

Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the primary sponsor of SB 5323, speaking on the bill. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Sabio-Howell)
Proposed law adds a fee to plastic bags at checkout

Senate passes bill to ban single-use plastic bags, place 8-cent fee on reusable plastic bags.

In November 2019, Washington voters approved Initiative 976, which calls for $30 car tabs. Sound Publishing file photo
Republicans try to guarantee $30 car tabs amid court hangup

Lawmakers sponsor companion bills in the House and Senate.

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County could bump up Metro electrification deadlines

Transportation generates nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his 2020 State of the State Address on Tuesday, Jan. 14. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Office of the Governor)
Gov. Inslee delivers State of the State Address

By Leona Vaughn, WNPA News Service OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee stood… Continue reading

Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, was sworn in Jan. 13, 2020, as Speaker of the House. Photo by Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service
Jinkins sworn in as WA’s first female Speaker of the House

Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, is applauded by her colleagues as she becomes… Continue reading

A 50-minute film called “Spawning Grounds,” which documents the effort to save a freshwater variety of kokanee salmon from Lake Sammamish, is finally ready for its debut in North Bend on Jan. 18. (Screenshot from film)
Spawning Grounds: Lake Sammamish kokanee documentary premieres Jan. 18

The film tracks the ‘all hands on deck’ effort to save the little red fish from extinction.

Meet the group trying to electrify America’s railroads

The Backbone Campaign hopes it will reduce emissions and jump-start depressed communities.

Most Read