Painting the Piano

Well, well… Where has the time gone? I won’t ask why you haven’t called me lately if you do the same for me, okay? 😉

With that awkwardness out of the way, I have exciting news to share!  Gifted has invited artist Charleen Tyson to apply her unique painting techniques to a 1924 Gulbransen piano in residence as a fundraising effort for AmadorArts. A raffle will be held offering a lucky ticket holder the chance to win the one of a kind piece. Our proceeds from the ticket sales will be donated to AmadorArts to help support their continuing efforts to promote the arts in Amador County.

The 1924 Gulbransen was once a player piano but no longer has the player parts.
The 1924 Gulbransen was once a player piano but no longer has the player parts.

The idea for this crazy collaboration hit me when I was wandering through the annual flea market called Trash to Treasures in Sutter Creek.  In the way, way back of an old mechanic’s shop was a lovely but humble piano with a sign saying “FREE”.  Anyone who knows me knows that I do not pass up anything that is free. So naturally I started wondering what useful thing I could do with a free piano… Charleen and her amazing painting style popped into my head and the rest is history!

An urn shaped lamp painted by the artist.

Well… not quite.  The idea quickly evolved and soon I was asking Charleen if she would like to paint the piano in residence here at the shop and then raffle it off to help raise money for AmadorArts.  I was so thrilled to find out that Charleen was on board and excited about the idea of tackling something so different as a piano.  My thrill was short lived because by the time I went back to ask for the piano, it was gone.  By this time we had all become very attached to the idea and decided to carry on anyway and find another piano. And we did… after 1 newspaper ad, a little networking, 8 offers and 2 visits to see pianos in person.  Our piano actually ended up being donated by a neighbor of mine that I had never met.  A sweet woman named Tommie whose only request was a “donated by” mention on the back to the piano when it is done. Can do, Tommie.

So now we get to work on a few minor repairs and clean up before Charleen can dive in and start her magic. I’ll keep you posted on our progress!


Here’s a little about the parties involved:

Charleen Tyson is a treasured local artist that has lived in West Point, California since 2002. Her whimsically painted furniture and domed pedestals on display at Gifted were inspired by the work of New York company, MacKenzie-Childs. Charleen says, “Loving their products but not loving their prices I decided to try to do something similar myself. The result is just FUN!” Charleen, who has been showing at Gifted since the first year they opened, also designs two lines of unique jewelry made from semi-precious stones and Chinese gaming tokens.

Gifted is a one of a kind shop that exclusively carries locally made and American manufactured gifts and goods. In addition to Charleen Tyson, some of the artists and artisans showing at Gifted include Rosemarie Silva, Leon and Cheryl Parkey and Christy McAdams. The shop is operated out of the ground floor of the majestic three story Odd Fellows building on Historic Jackson Main Street. Owners, Jeannette McDonald and Terry Scott feel strongly about supporting local needs where they can and have raised over $1,500 for the Interfaith Food Bank with sales of their limited edition shopping bags. They are excited to help raise funds for an organization like AmadorArts that speaks so directly to the spirit of their business.

AmadorArts, the Amador County Arts Council, is a non-profit arts organization dedicated to encouraging, supporting, and promoting the arts in our schools and community. In order to nurture the cultural vitality of Amador County, they offer arts education programs, free concerts, community events, gallery exhibits and arts mixers throughout the year, in addition to providing resources and opportunities to local artists.

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