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Tiara Young uses art to reconnect to her roots.

“Growing up I was disconnected from my culture, so I’ve been trying to reconnect through artwork,” said Young. The 19-year-old artist was born in Honduras but moved to Iowa when she was a young child.

This summer you can witness the beauty of Young’s Hispanic culture on a City Sounds piano outside Ted’s Coney Island (3020 Ingersoll).

“Hispanic folk art really inspired me for this piece,” Young said. Incan sculptures frame the keys. Day of the Dead-inspired skeletons stand tall on the side panels. “I wanted to mix cultures from different Latino countries because I believe representation is important in my community.”

City Sounds is a nonprofit organization that installs artfully painted pianos around the Des Moines metro. This year you can find pianos at 12 different locations as the organization celebrates its 10th anniversary. Ted’s has played host to a piano since the City Sounds project began.

The placement at Ted’s is familiar to Tiara because she attended nearby Roosevelt High School and lives on Grand Avenue. She is currently a student at Iowa State University studying graphic design and illustration.

Young traveled back and forth from Ames to Des Moines this spring to work on the piano at Mainframe Studios alongside other local artists. She estimates she put about 48 hours into the piece.

“I put a lot of little details into it,” Young said. She normally paints with oil paint but used acrylic on this project. “I typically do realism, but I took a more illustrative style on the piano.”

Want to see Young’s work of art? Piano locations are generally open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, pending weather. Accessibility of the pianos is at the discretion of the caretakers.

Anyone is welcome to sit down on the bench and play a tune.

Thank you to Stacy Velman and staff of Ted’s Coney Island for being wonderful caretakers of the Ingersoll piano over the years!

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