Pop-up Art: student-painted piano brings music to Scudder

Student+playing+new+piano+outside+the+cafeteria.+

Kamm Kojima

Student playing new piano outside the cafeteria.

Wyatt Cullison, Staff writer

Lively notes chimed across the courtyard outside Scudder dining hall bringing a new atmosphere to the lunch period of Mid-Pacific students. The sound radiated from a mysterious new piano located next to the after school snack bar. 

For the first few weeks of its presence, students crowded around the piano, and watched their friends play merry tunes and demonstrating their musical skill. 

The piano installation was started by a group of students working in conjunction with parents, said visual arts teacher Jill Johnson. A parent donated the piano and several independent students designed the owl motif and painted the piano over a 14-day period. 

I thought it was going to go unnoticed for the most part, but then Mid-Pacific posted about it on Instagram and people were starting to actually play it.”

— Emma Klassan-Lee

“They want to create pop-up art around campus that is surprising and engaging,” said Johnson.

One of these students is Milia McCoy, a Junior art certificate student. She, along with Emma Klassan-Lee, sophomore, and Josiah Williams, senior, were the architects behind Mid-Pacific’s most recent art installation. 

“Emma was trying to do a school beautification project because Mid-Pacific is an art school. But, no one really knows it’s an art school just by the way it looks. If you were a visitor you wouldn’t really know about the art program,” said McCoy.

“We were trying to look for a small project that wouldn’t be permanent that we could use as a test.” said Klassen-Lee.

These students said they wanted to change that, and they conspired to create a surprise piece of art the community could interact with.

“We had been looking at piano projects that other schools and other communities had been working on before and we wanted to do the owl because that’s our school mascot, and it’s something that you can visually associate with Mid-Pac,” McCoy said. 

These students did not expect the large amount of use the piano saw in its first weeks, initially anticipating that there would be little to none.

“I thought it was going to go unnoticed for the most part, but then Mid-Pacific posted about it on Instagram and people were starting to actually play it.” said Klassan-Lee.

“We were actually initially scared to put it by the cafeteria, because there’s a lot of people there. But, we didn’t really think that anyone would actually play it,” McCoy said. These students originally thought of putting it up at Kawaiahao, but decided against it since there was a lack of shelter. 

“I was really shocked to see people playing it and actually enjoying it,” said McCoy.