Come out and play

EVERETT — Lyussy Hyder left a surprise for anyone who lifts the upper panel of a piano she painted.

Inside the panel of dark wood is a mermaid sitting on a rock in the ocean, upset after having just been splashed by a giant wave, Hyder said.

The hidden scene is part of the piano she named “Buccaneers.” It’s one of 10 painted pianos that Wednesday will be rolled in front of businesses and onto street corners for anyone to play during what’s called Everett Street Tunes. It’s the second year of the event.

Other scenes on the piano include a hissing cat guarding a chest of gold near several ship rats by the instrument’s pedals. A crew of pirates sails out to find adventure under a sunset sky and on one of the piano’s side panels a single pirate returns from burying treasure. A red “X” marks the spot where treasure can be found on a faded map painted on the bench.

The only part of the piano Hyder had left to paint Monday afternoon at the Schack Art Center was the top. The Everett artist was thinking about adding a black pirate flag with a skull and crossbones.

“I love it,” she said. “I hope people play. I hope it’s just bright enough.”

The first Everett Street Tunes was held last August with eight painted pianos. The interactive art project lasted for three weeks and was modeled after another art project, “Play Me, I’m Yours” that began in 2008 and featured pianos in public places around the world.

Everett received a positive response from last year’s Street Tunes and wanted to do the project again, said Carol Thomas, the city’s cultural arts manager.

“We had so many comments from the public and downtown businesses about how many people enjoyed it,” Thomas said. “I have been fielding phone calls for months now from people asking, ‘When are the pianos coming out?’ ”

The city this year bought five used pianos for $400 each and paid each artist a $250 stipend. Five pianos from last summer also will return to city streets. None of the pianos were damaged last summer, Thomas said, but three are no longer playable.

Janet Wold, an Everett artist who runs the Corner Studio and Gallery on the corner of Wetmore and Hewitt avenues, won the People’s Choice award last year for the piano she painted to look like a leopard. She was asked to paint a piano this year, too, because “Music Leopard Lounge” was the most popular piece.

Her leopard piano will return this year. She’s also added one called “Monkey Business” that was painted to look like a chimpanzee. In both pieces, the keys work as wide grins for the animals.

“I like to use the keys as part of the artwork,” Wold said.

Two other artists, Mike Capp and Shannon Danks, have spent time over the past two weeks painting pianos in the studio. Artist Tami Walker worked on a piano at BoxyQueens Gallery of Awesome on Hewitt Avenue.

Everett resident Donna Rodriguez stopped to look in the window of the Corner Studio and Gallery on Monday afternoon. A bright blue piano with robots on it caught her eye.

She remembered last summer’s pianos.

“I don’t play but I like listening to people who do,” she said.

The pianos will be covered every night and when it rains. They are set to be on city streets through Aug. 24.

Amy Daybert, 425-339-3491; adaybert@heraldnet.com.

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