ANACORTES, Wash. — Braden Muller, 15, laughed along with his sister Paige Muller, 13, as they played “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on a colorful piano on a recent Monday afternoon on the sidewalk in downtown Anacortes.

Their mother Sylvia Muller stood by recording the moment on her phone.

“This is the first time in a while they actually did something together and liked each other for more than 60 seconds,” she said, laughing.

The piano is part of the Anacortes Arts Festival’s Pianocortes, in which painted pianos are placed around town. The event is in its second year.

A colorful piano outside Johnny Picasso’s, left in place after last year’s event, has been the site of many spontaneous musical moments said Anacortes Arts Festival spokeswoman Rita James.

“I’ve heard some amazing pianists,” James said. “This type of art engages people and gives them something fun to do in town.”

The Anacortes Arts Festival runs through early August.

Pianocortes was conceived last year as a joint effort between the city and festival. The city collects donated pianos then transports them to be used by festival artists.

Artists then paint the pianos during the festival on Commercial Avenue between First and Third streets.

Once painted, the pianos will be placed on sidewalks downtown, where they will remain until around Labor Day.

James said festival staff allow the artists to paint whatever they want. Last year, the three pianos featured paintings of an Orca whale, pickles and a woman lying in a field of flowers.

This year, four pianos were donated to the city, said Parks and Recreation’s Jonn Lunsford.

After Labor Day, the pianos will be recycled by the city, although one will likely remain in place for the year again, Lunsford said.

“Whenever I ride by, someone is either playing it well or pounding on it as a beginner,” Lunsford said of the piano outside Johnny Picasso’s.

Braden and Paige Muller said they fall in the beginner category.

“We don’t know how to play at all,” Braden Muller said.

As they prepared to leave, their mother placed bets on how long their newfound sibling bond would last.

“We’ll see,” she said. “I at least took a video of it.”


Information from: Skagit Valley Herald, http://www.skagitvalleyherald.com

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AARON WEINBERG
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