Bring the Piano back, Hartman’s!

A downtown Ottawa landmark recently disappeared, and the decision to do so has got a lot of people riled up.
Zoom of KnitNut says it best…

“It used to be that when you walked into the Hartman’s grocery store at the corner of Bank & Somerset, the first thing you’d see was the cozy seating area arranged around the piano.

The Hartman’s Piano was a free, accessible community instrument. Usually someone would be playing it, very often an accomplished musician who couldn’t afford a piano of his or her own. The music was lovely. I blogged about it once myself (The Happiest Woman at the Grocery Store).

The Hartman’s Piano disappeared on January 5th, along with the cozy seating area. Overnight, without warning, a floral department sprung up in its place.

Now, instead of the strains of piano music welcoming you to Hartman’s and setting the mood for your visit, there’s a machine welcoming you to Hartman’s in its cold computerized voice. ”

It always used to put a smile on my face when I’d go into Hartman’s and there’d be kids playing the piano. It was that kind of space which quite literally anyone could use. It was a rare thing in the day and age of big-box stores.

And that feeling led to this… I’ve been making street pieces out of cardboard and paints, and I brought a few with me to Ottawa this past weekend.
larger version here

As often happens when I start making streetart, other ideas for street pieces have popped into my head. Downtown Ottawa’s got a real problem with Poster Nazi, a crotchety old man who walks down Elgin tearing down posters and handbills from street poles at seemingly all hours of the day.

I’ve been wanting to make some Poster Nazi-themed streetart for the next time I’m in Ottawa. Alas, I haven’t got a picture of what Poster Nazi looks like… so if anyone out there has a picture of Poster Nazi, post it here. It’ll be used for a good and funny cause….


5 Responses to “Bring the Piano back, Hartman’s!”

  1. January 25, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    I love that the Hartman’s Piano has generated some street art – Thanks elmaks!

  2. 2 Michele Toscano
    January 25, 2010 at 10:56 pm


    I used to play some Chopin at the Hartman’s piano 3-4 weeks for 3 yrs. I enjoyed it and all the friends that passed by as well. I ve spent alot of money shopping there as well but now i stat in my neighourhood to shop and no urgent need to go play piano there to make me happy and lots of seniors happy.

    Mr. Larry Hartman, I say thank you for the great years of piano but you will never see me there again. What a tragedy for piano freaks like me since i know of no other places in Ottawa with free piano..

  3. February 1, 2010 at 12:07 am

    I love these pieces. The ‘Love, yourslef’ and also your swap boxes.
    I have been mapping the images of ‘hearts’ and ‘love’ I see.


    keep up the good work.

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