88 Keys continues to make community sing

88 Keys Project artist, Monique Ra Brent, with her masterpiece at Oshawa City Hall. Credit: Susan Woodman

The nationwide 88 Keys Artists Project is designed to inspire a sense of community. The project showcases three donated pianos that have been transformed into public art.

These pianos are located at Northview Community Centre, South Oshawa Community Centre and next to the city of Oshawa at the Civic Square.

Catherine Richards, the project manager, says the project started in Summer 2016 with an intent to animate Oshawa City Square and add tactile experiences for the public.

Monique Ra Brent, one of the three artists involved, says the reason she the experience reminded her of a trip to Montreal where an impromptu musical performance on a public piano gathered people together and created excitement in the community.


“Collaborative creativity is the way that new ideas are born. The more platforms, venues or opportunities for us, as people, to get together to be creative and create together the more opportunity there is for positive change and evolution among us. That is why [this project is important],” says Ra Brent.

The idea expanded to enrich the art culture in the city.

The South Oshawa Community Centre was chosen to encourage interaction of local high school students with the public piano. The Northview Community Centre is accessible for the Oshawa Senior Citizens Centre, as well as the Boys and Girls Club.

Richard says what made the proposals for each piano strong was how unique each one was and how each showcased the different voices of the artists. The pieces had differing rationals, themes and media.

Ra Brent’s piano is an abstract created with Golden Acrylic paint. The piece was inspired by music and symbolism.

On one side is the fibonacci spiral or golden mean. It is sacred geometry, says Ra Brent, signifying a mathematical equation in a way that shows how everything in nature and the universe expands.


The back has quotes from classical pianists. The top has a painting of the universe with stars and nebulas.

“The front has a tree, with crows all over the tree. Crows are meant to be the messengers from the other side of the veil to here. I thought that would be inspiring for music,” says Ra Brent. “The seat has a metatron cube on it, also scared geometry.”


“Through music, through sonic frequency, we have the opportunity to engage in communication that is far less entangled in [nonsense] and far more honest and real,” says Ra Brent.

Marnie Packman, an assemblage artist, created the mixed medium piano located at Northview Community Centre. It has a mosaic of computer keys on the piano.

Marnie Packman's piano located at Northview Community Centre.

Credit: oshawa.ca

With the help of the students in the Urban Arts for Social Change Graffiti School, an extended visual arts program at R.S. McLaughlin C.V.I. and educator, Theresa Wyatt, the third piano reflected urban art with its vibrant graffiti design.

The piano located at South Oshawa Community Centre has a sound component installed.

The piano located at South Oshawa Community Centre.

Credit: Oshawa.ca

All pieces are open to the public to experience and enjoy during the various community centres’ hours.