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All in the name of Art
by Cortney Maddock
Jul 19, 2010 | 978 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It’s not often that people being led on a wild goose chase in nearly 100-degree July weather say they liked the experience. Such was my walk around downtown Reno.

I enjoyed it, but I was on a mission. This mission started with an interview on the morning of July 9 and ended three days later with nearly two-thirds of my goal completed.

After a conversation with Reno City Council member Dave Aiazzi about the rePIANO project he spearheaded as part of Artown’s numerous creative-based happenings, I was awed.

Even after Aiazzi was faced with replacing two pianos that were vandalized during Artown’s opening weekend, the man still seemed hopeful that the community would respect the art installations that had been painted, feathered, glued or tiled and placed with passion and care around the city by local artists.

Sure, the art is meant to be enjoyed by the masses. And, yes, the pianos are meant to be played. But, no, I don’t know where they are located and, much like everyone else, Aiazzi would not give me any hints.

That’s OK. I’m game for the scavenger hunt.

My interest was more than sparked by the creative concept — it was a blazing fire. Since my conversation with Aiazzi, I am determined to find all 15 rePIANO installations placed around Reno to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Artown. As of last week, I had found 10.

Walking through downtown, methodically circling blocks and panning my surroundings in a nearly paranoid manner, the rePIANO suddenly became a larger version of the child’s game “I Spy.” With each find there was another song to be played, another artistic vision to behold.

There is something nearly magical about this time of year and the events Artown bestows on the community. As my fingers tapped the white keys on a piano that had been beaten with a hammer, I couldn’t help but be upset.

I wanted to know the punk who had proven that the community couldn’t have nice things. I wanted to know what twisted individual would rather enjoy the sounds of the D key smashing instead of it being played in harmony with its surrounding notes. I wanted to know who could be so heartless as to trash the painted pianos so diligently worked on by passionate artists for the benefit of our culturally rich community.

Although Aiazzi said the artists had agreed to repaint the vandalized pianos, I also wondered if their resilience would be rewarded or if the battle between the hooligans and the hopeful would continue.

In the span of a month, Artown brings so much happiness to the community with events that explore artistic expression whose future is threatened by school and municipal budget cuts. Although a month seems like a long time to some, we’re already half way through July.

For those who have not watched a movie in Wingfield Park on a Friday night or attended a theater performance or scoured downtown Reno in search of the rePAINOs, to be a part of something like Artown is inexplicable.

You don’t need to be an artist to enjoy art, which means that you shouldn’t waste another minute reading this because you should go enjoy Artown.

For information about Artown, including an extensive calendar of events that are mostly free, visit

Cortney Maddock is a reporter for the Sparks Tribune. She can be reached at
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