To read previous posts, click and scroll down.

“Keys to the Cities”: Carla Golembe Shows Her Piano Design

 Six months ago, Kathi Kretzer, founder of the Kretzer Piano Music Foundation, announced a new Call to Artists.  “Keys to the Cities” has brought 18 pianos, 18 pianists, 17 artists and 1,584 keys to Palm Beach County!  The Rickie Report sent out the Call to Artists.  This article details the events and celebration for the kick-off of “Keys to the City” and shares the experiences of one of the artists, Carla Golembe.  We hope you will go to see the pianos – the public is welcome to play them, too!




18 Pianos, 18 Pianists, 17 Artists, 1,584 Keys

A Unique Unveiling of

Sight & Sound, Song & Sensation


Kick-Off Party



After six long months of colorful creativity, a unique collaboration of sight and sound will be unveiled at last – so let the eye-dazzling and ear-pleasing harmonies begin.  Kathi Kretzer, founder of the Kretzer Piano Music Foundation,  announced that the much-anticipated KEYS TO THE CITIES Kick-Off Party will be held on Friday, November 1, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the Waterfront Lake Pavilion in downtown West Palm Beach.



At the fun-filled event, the Foundation will unveil 18 different baby grand and upright pianos, all of which have been whimsically designed, each with its own unique theme, by 17 extraordinary local artists.



A piano owned by the late baseball great Gary Carter has been redone by artist Frank Navarrete in all too fitting Mets motif and dubbed “The Kid.” Artist Sharon Koskoff has reimagined a jazzy-style Grand that she is calling “Knockin’ at Heaven’s Door,” while Nadia Utto‘s piano has an intergalactic look that would float perfectly through the new Sandra Bullock flick, Gravity.




The art students at Watson B. Duncan Middle School and their teacher Courtney Hess have produced a funky “Zentangle Piano,” artist Julie Beaumont‘s Spinet has a recognizable theme of Florida Wildlife, and Eduardo Mendieta‘s Console now sports a child’s face and is titled, “Overlook.”



Additional piano-painting artists include Liz Brice, Caron Bowman, Karen Chandler, Joseph Dzwill, Silvana Frontera, Carla Golembe, Emmanuel Gonzales, Eric Kucera, Holly Rutchey, Alicia Stamm and Amanda Turner, whose colorful creations run the visual gamut from traditional beauty to wildly offbeat.


The official unveiling on November 1 will also include an unforgettable performance by a one-time-only 18 Piano Orchestra with 18 distinguished pianists all playing together: Dr. Robin Arrigo, Ruo Balko, Sandra Baran, Shawn Berry, Jerry Crank, Susan Dahlberg, Copeland Davis, Terrence Dwarika, Jan Fulford, Linda Johnson, Pat Johnson, Linda Jordan, Kathi Kretzer, Monte Lambert, Laurie McDonald, Betsy McHugh, Janet Owens and Michael Yanette.



Tickets to attend are $100 each, and can be purchased by calling Kretzer Piano Music Foundation at 561.748.0036. The festive event will include Keys To The Cities Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a chance to meet and mingle with the artists, the pianists and other music-loving supporters.



Public Display & Play in Palm Beach County

From November 2-17, the 18 gorgeous pianos will be on public display throughout the county. Among the various locations where visitors can see – and even play! – the “artified” instruments are Arts Garage in Delray Beach, on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, the Cultural Council headquarters in Lake Worth, Downtown At The Gardens in Palm Beach Gardens, Kretzer Piano in Jupiter, and at assorted spots in West Palm Beach, including City Center, CityPlace, Clematis Street by Palm Beach Dramaworks, the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium and the Waterfront.


“Professional pianists and music groups are scheduled to perform concerts on the pianos while they are on display, but the most fun will be in children (up to age 94) sitting down and plunking away. Our main message is that everyone is invited and everyone can play,” says Kretzer, who developed the program after learning of similar successful campaigns in London and New York City.


“This KEYS TO THE CITIES campaign fits perfectly with the mission of the Kretzer Piano Music Foundation, which is to provide music lessons and performing opportunities to everyone, especially underprivileged children,” she adds.


A “piano buddy” at each site will cover the instruments at night and during inclement weather. At the conclusion of the public display period, all of the pianos will be donated to local children’s charities and community organizations where they will continue to enrich the lives of people for years to come.


The 18 used pianos were donated for this campaign by the Kretzer Piano Music Foundation and by Carlos Aquino, Jackie Badome (in memory of her husband Frank), the family of Gary Carter, Cheryl Harrigan, Nancy Sale Johnson, the Lighthouse for the Blind, Opportunity, Inc., Sheryl Purcell, Paula Rodgers, Jamie Romeo, Karen Sade, Tony Tamaccio and Jan Young.


Sponsors of the first annual KEYS TO THE CITIES promotion include the City of West Palm Beach, Jerry’s Artarama, D.C. Moore Piano Movers, Arts Garage, Pete Bozetarnik, CPA, Guia Brown (Raymond James, Palm Beach), CityPlace, Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, Downtown At The Gardens, Burt Handelsman (Love Realty), Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Kretzer Piano, Janet and Bob Nakushian, Northern Palm Beach County Youth Foundation and Palm Beach Dramaworks.



Carla Golembe is an award winning artist, illustrator, author and teacher.  Her work is shown at galleries throughout the United States.

Collections include Hyatt Corp, Pan Pacific Hotels, Sheppard Pratt Hospital, Medical College of Virginia Hospitals, Worcester Art Museum (Worcester, MA), Academy Art Museum (Easton, MD), Boston Public Library, University College of University of Maryland, Montgomery County MD Art in Public Places and others.  She has received artist residencies from the Hambidge Center (Rabun Gap, GA); Altos de Chavon (Dominican Republic) and Kalani Honua (Hawaii).  


Carla teaches at  The Art School of the Boca Raton Museum of Art (561 392-2503) and  Delray Beach Center for the Arts (561 243-7922 (x 317 or x478).


TRR:  The Rickie Report spoke to Carla about her design:


I have three bird feeders in my backyard, outside my studio.   These birds have captured my imagination and have wound up in a number of my arwork pieces.    I had just finished working on a “Tree of Life series” for Kolbo, a Judaica Gallery in Boston.  I was inspired to create something with my “friends”, the birds.   I  wanted the design to be joyous and beautiful because it is going to be shared with a charity and the public.


TRR:    The imagery came from her Trees of Life and the bird feeders’ visitors. She included angel heads to give a sense of love, peace and beauty.   The final piano is quite different from the sketch although it follows the same theme.

"Piano of Joy" Design

“Piano of Joy” Original Design


The shape of the piano that is different from the original sketch and Carla realized that it needed a background color.  So, there were some changes made, but she stayed with her original theme.



Just delivered!



The piano’s surface had to be cleaned of all dust, especially in the back where there is a lattice work. Then, Carla sanded the entire piano and applied two coats of primer.


3 Primer Coats

Two Primer Coats


Carla applied a few coats of paint to suggest sky and clouds. She used different techniques such as scumbling, blending and layering to produce the background for her artwork.


Layering the Background

Layering the Background


Once the background was dry, Carla was able to sketch out her design with chalk.


Sketching With Chalk

Sketching With Chalk


When Carla paints the imagery, she does so with numerous layers of paint, starting with dark underpainting.



9/19/2013  Back of Piano

9/19/2013 Back of Piano


Now Carla adds more layers, using brighter colors.


9/26/2013  Back of Piano

9/26/2013 Back of Piano


This view shows the  two painted male buntings and an interpretive cardinal – all from her back yard.  The eyes are actually Swarovski crystals!



Side Detail

Side Detail



Carla paints a final glaze, which will help maintain the design and painting.

Carla Painting

Carla Painting Final Glaze



Here is Carla’s guard cat, Vinny, making sure no one touches the piano.  Even though there were birds nearby on the piano, Vinny never tried to attack them!

Vinny Guards the Piano

Vinny Guards the Piano



Carla tells The Rickie Report, “This has been a fun and interesting journey.  I like projects with deadlines and was able to immerse myself in the process, which took two and a half weeks.  I loved the process and especially love that I’ll get to see what the other artists have done!  Not only will the pianos be in public spaces where people can play them, but ultimately will end up in a children’s charity or a community center, where others will truly appreciate them.


TRR:  We are not showing you the finished piano – you will need to go and see it!  Enjoy!!!


For ore information about Carla’s artwork or classes:, 561 498-9185,


For more information and a chance to glimpse some of the 18 designed pianos, check out “Keys to the Cities” on Facebook.  Kathi Kretzer    Kretzer Piano & Kretzer Piano Music Foundation   561.748.0036


For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420









To read previous posts, click and scroll down.