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Beloved St. Pete community piano, recently smashed, has been replaced

After the piano under the interstate was found destroyed last month, the community banded together to replace it.
A public piano located under the I-275 overpass on Central Avenue was recently painted in rainbow colors during Pride month, Monday, June 7, 2021 in St. Petersburg.
A public piano located under the I-275 overpass on Central Avenue was recently painted in rainbow colors during Pride month, Monday, June 7, 2021 in St. Petersburg. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Published Jun. 8
Updated Jun. 8

For years, folks used to stop by the piano under I-275 in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central District and play tunes. But at the end of May, tragedy struck.

The beloved community instrument had been smashed to pieces. No one knew who was responsible.

A piano is seen smashed on May 28 along Central Avenue under I-275 after years of serving the Grand Central District.
A piano is seen smashed on May 28 along Central Avenue under I-275 after years of serving the Grand Central District. [ ASHLEY DYE | Times ]

This week, folks in the community stepped up to help. A new piano now occupies the space, painted with rainbow stripes and hearts

The replacement piano came the courtesy of artist Kayla Cox, who runs Lucid Vending, which specialize in artistic vending machines.

“About a week ago I noticed the previous piano smashed to pieces,” said Cox, who lives nearby. “My partner and I live in the area and would walk by it every day. I couldn’t believe it. It hurt me to think that someone would want to destroy a piece of the community that brought so much joy to so many people, including Jason the homeless person who enjoys playing the piano while wearing his cape.”

Cox purchased a used piano on Craigslist for $100 and had it delivered to the same location on Sunday. She proceeded to paint it in rainbow colors and finished up on Monday.

“These colors represent hope and inclusivity,” she said.

On Monday afternoon, Matt Sivils was spotted playing the new rainbow-colored public piano that sits under the I-275 overpass on Central Avenue in St. in the Grand Central District of Petersburg.
On Monday afternoon, Matt Sivils was spotted playing the new rainbow-colored public piano that sits under the I-275 overpass on Central Avenue in St. in the Grand Central District of Petersburg. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]