An upright piano, lovingly painted by artists and used by members of the public, has had to be removed from Richmond.
Stephanie Buck donated the piano more than six and a half years ago because she wanted to share the instrument and through it breathe artistic life into Richmond.
Most of that time there have been no issues related to the piano other than the noise of unskilled fingers.
However, after years of public use, the piano won’t be avaliable for the public anymore.
“All because of the abuse of a few, the instrument has had to be removed,” says Stephanie.
Since lockdown 4 the piano has been vandalised more than once.
A cover was made by Mortimer’s Upholstery to place over the piano and meet Covid-19 protocols thanks to donations from the public and businesses in the area. The cover had a sign on it asking people not to play the piano while in lockdown 2.
Last week, less than a week after the cover was first put on the piano, in one incident it had its zips broken and then in another incident, the cover was removed and stolen. At the time of the second incident, a hinge was also broken, and the piano’s lock destroyed.
In previous years, the piano was wheeled somewhere safe overnight by happy-to-help staff from both The Warehouse and Kmart. The piano sat in the front of Benge & Co Green Grocers for a long time until the business closed, and this is where the piano received most of its ongoing help. The staff ensured it was indoors and safe every night.
The first acts of vandalism amounted to someone breaking off the donations box. This happened again during another incident, but the donations box was left untouched in the latest attack.
“I just can’t understand why anyone would take the cover, or trash the lock for that matter,” says Steph.
Police were notified of the incident and were checking CCTV in the area.
Stephanie removed the piano last Friday to place it in a secure location where it will be fixed and cleaned-up ready for whatever becomes the next steps for Stephanie and the piano.
At this stage,Stephanie is unsure what the best solution is, but is contemplating giving the piano a holiday in another location in the Tasman area.