The votes are in! Amber Forrest, a local artist and children’s book illustrator, is the winner the 2013 People’s Choice Award winner for the Everett Street Tunes project. Forrest’s brightly-colored, whimsical piano earned the most votes of the 18 pianos scattered throughout Everett’s downtown in August.
“I felt elated when I heard that I had won, but also very thankful for the support of friends and family, and that people appreciated my work enough to vote for it,” said Forrest. This was her first year participating in Street Tunes, but she’s been drawing since she could pick up a pencil.
“It is something that I have always done,” said Forrest. “I have always had a myriad of ideas, and have spent lots of time trying to draw, paint and create those ideas. I often feel like the ideas create themselves. I’m just the vehicle by which they do it.”
Forrest found inspiration for “Intertwined” in the diverse landscape of the Pacific Northwest, which offers people access to the coast and mountains. She included a Celtic knot to represent how people and the land are woven together and she also drew on her 5-year-old daughter’s love of fairies, dragons, princesses and castles.
Every surface of the piano is covered with little surprises like an owl’s jeweled eyes or a mermaid with beaded accents. Forrest’s vivid piano was placed near Imagine Children’s Museum and was well received by museum visitors. She and the piano were also featured in a video about the 2013 Street Tunes project: www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYP2BZoUKMA.
Forrest’s daughter was very excited about the finished piano. “She loved finding all of the different things that I put on there. She wanted to know if we could take the piano home,” said Forrest. “She was disappointed when the pianos were put away, but I told her that now we get to look forward to seeing it again next summer.”
Interactive art project gains popularity
This summer’s Everett Street Tunes was the fourth year of the project. Street Tunes is interactive from start to finish, beginning with the commissioning of artists to decorate each piano. Eight artists were invited to create pianos this year: Melana Bontrager, Amber Forrest, Si Newland, Anna Mastronardi Novak, Cassandra Reed, Jeromy Sawdon, Cathy Tanasse and Alexander Vincini.
The 2013 project also featured ten pianos from previous summers, including past People’s Choice Award winners: The Buccaneers by Lyussy Hyder (2012), Summer Reflections by Shannon Danks (2011) and Music Leopard Lounge by Janet Wold (2010).
The pianos will return to Everett streets next summer, Aug. 6 through 26. For photos and details about the 2013 Street Tunes project, visit www.ci.everett.wa.us/default.aspx?ID=2129.