SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The annual Pianos on State Street art and music presentation may be invisible when you stroll down the center of Santa Barbara's downtown, but this is where the hands-on exhibit also comes to life.
Spray-painted keyboards dot the asphalt along several blocks. Next to them is a QR code that people can scan with their phone and link to this year's presentation guide.
The Community Arts Workshop organized a special weekend for artists to paint the classic pianos with unique designs.
"Everybody has a completely different style of art," said Community Arts Workshop Manager Casey Caldwell. "People of different ages and different backgrounds and it's fun to see people look at each others work and trade ideas." He said there aren't that many opportunities for artists to get together these days. "It was a really fun weekend," said Caldwell.
From there the pianos were moved to locations for filming.
Now, some of the shows are posted online and others are rolling out in the next few days.
They include the Piano Boys, Zach Gill, Gil Rosas, Michael Mortilla, Sio Tepper, Emmanuel Fratianni and Jay Real.
The venues include the Santa Barbara Bowl, Marjorie Luke Theatre, Lobero Theatre, SOHO, Center Stage Theatre and the Community Arts Workshop headquarters.
"Most of the venues found a musician that has a history with Pianos on State or a history with that venue," said Caldwell.
At the Marjorie Luke Theatre there was a combination of two pianos donated for the project and a grand piano on stage.
"It is a combination of all three pianos," said Rod Lathim, Board President of the Marjorie Luke Theatre. "We made a whole concert out of it. "
Performances at the Luke included songs with an Americana soundtrack to music used in silent movies. Vintage pictures of Santa Barbara will also be appearing in the show as it airs.
"I picked those folks based on diversity," said Lathim. "I wanted to do a really diverse range of music."
The shows have been shown with multiple cameras at each location to create a high quality series of videos.
"When you watch these concerts, all the concerts we are producing in the series, they look like what you would see on television," said Lathim.
He says shows like this one are badly needed. "The whole pandemic has been devastating to the arts."
"It's lifted my heart immensely and I hope it's doing that for the community as well," said Caldwell. "Pianos on State has always been about bringing people together so I really look forward to people being able to bring these videos up and seeing musicians from their community playing music."
This year, in addition to the recorded shows, the public is also invited to add their video performances to a social media page.
Caldwell said it is "for anybody to make music and share their work with the community. We've put the word out to the community and you can see that on the Pianos on State facebook page for anybody to make music from their homes and post that on line."
That creates in community connection that would have normally existed if the event was not disrupted by the pandemic. "It would not be Pianos on State if we weren't trying ways for anyone to make music and put it out for the community," said Caldwell.
He says the videos "will last" on line, compared to one time only street shows.
For social media hashtags, the workshop suggests: #arthelps #pianosonstate2020
Pianos on State is in coordination with numerous groups including the Community Arts Workshop, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation and the Santa Barbara Bowl Foundation.
For more information and to see the videos go to : Pianos on State