'Keys of Goshen' hits a high note

Artfully decorated pianos arrayed around the villages are a treat for the eyes and ears

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  • Laura J. Bole of Goshen poses with her dog and her piano art creation, “Howling Good Time.” The audience just wanted to burst into song. (Photo by Geri Corey)

  • Mayor Kyle Roddey (right) helped uncover the first piano at "Keys of Goshen” (Photo by Geri Corey)

  • Singer/songwriter Alec Phillips plays a piano decorated by artist Julie Rivera Saltzbergfor an appreciative audience (Photo by Geri Corey) (This caption has been updated to reflect the correct artist.)

“This project is a wonderful and a great way of engaging the community. It’s not only about the work, but it draws attention to the surrounding area and environment. It’s about the place.”
Cody Rounds

By Geri Corey

— Five pianos, first refurbished, then painted and decorated by professional artists, were unveiled last month in Goshen in separate locations on village streets.

The presentation brought out a good-sized crowd of onlookers who wanted a first view of the pianos, each tuned and a work of art.

The Goshen Art League, Orange County Arts Council, and the Village of Goshen worked together on this public art project — the “Keys of Goshen” — that commissioned artists based on applications that included sketches of their proposed work.

“This is a wonderful collaborative project,” said Dawn Ansbro, executive Director of the Orange County Arts Council. "We’re so excited about it, and we hope other communities will follow suit."

The unveiling began on Main Street, across from Limoncello’s restaurant. Viewers strolled downtown to each spot where one piano at a time was uncovered.

Five piano stops

Warwick artist Cody Rounds, creator of the first piano titled “Thelonious Monkscape,” offered an abstract piece of art based on the colors and vibrations of Monk’s music that inspired her.

“This project is a wonderful and a great way of engaging the community," said Rounds. "It’s not only about the work, but it draws attention to the surrounding area and environment. It’s about the place."

The second piano, “Goshen Deconstructed” by Slate Hill artist William O’Keeffe, is a black and white photographic composition depicting the First Presbyterian Church of Goshen.

The third offering, submitted by Campbell Hall resident Julie Saltzburg, President of the Goshen Art League, titled “Vibration of the Muse,” has a magical theme and is sited on the corner near Elsie’s Luncheonette.

The fourth, located in front of Catherine’s restaurant, is Goshen artist Laura J. Bolle’s “Howling Good Time,” a light-hearted rendering of canines engaged in joyful singing.

The fifth stop, at the Harriman Fountain, titled “Farm to Farmers’ Market,” was submitted by artist Mitchell Saler of Middletown.

Saying this was an “exciting event,” Village Mayor Kyle Roddey commended the “five phenomenal artists.”

Gloria Benelli, a member of the Goshen Art League and the Keys of Goshen Committee, said, “I hope these areas become public gathering places. Here is the combination of old-style public art with a funky modern form of art. It’s wonderful.”

Singer, songwriter, recording artist Alec Phillips uplifted an appreciative audience with bouncy renditions played on each piano at each stop. And he delighted them more with a concert afterwards using the artistically decorated Saler piano. The enthusiastic applause he received said it all.

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