Carrie Rengers

Art Park installation combines art and music

Charles Baughman isn’t through with the first piece of his musical art installation at the Art Park, but people are already stopping by to get their pictures with it.
Charles Baughman isn’t through with the first piece of his musical art installation at the Art Park, but people are already stopping by to get their pictures with it. The Wichita Eagle

The Art Park's Charles Baughman shares his plans for a new art installation that combines music, too. (Carrie Rengers/The Wichita Eagle)

Also at the Art Park, there’s a growing project on the grounds of the complex that combines art and music.

Music Scene opened its second Wichita site at the Art Park last year and donated some old pianos to Kate Pepper and her husband, Charles Baughman.

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Baughman says he immediately envisioned making art with the pianos along the front entrance to the Art Park where some trees have always been.

“We’ve been here 10 years, and people would say, ‘I didn’t even notice it because those trees just blocked it off,’ ” Baughman says.

A couple of the trees had fallen down, and he cut down the rest and began adding rebar to their stumps to hold the pianos, which he painted bright colors. Then Baughman began collecting old instruments and adding them to the top of the first piano.

He says he’s looking for “other instruments that I could have shooting out of them.”

“I’d really like it to look like just a giant bouquet of instruments.”

In between the instrument installations, Baughman is going to have colored Plexiglas with lights on top of the other stumps.

“So they’re going to look like kind of giant flowers in between the pianos.”

Even though the project is just in its infancy, it’s already attracting attention, which Baughman says is another goal.

“It’s fun watching people stop and take a picture,” he says. “It’s exciting to me. It means it’s working.”

Concert pianists have even stopped by for photos, he says.

Baughman says he’d love to have donations of older, broken instruments.

“I would like to turn them into art … and just have it be colorful and fun,” he says. “It’s going to be kind of a big project, but it will be an ever-evolving project.”

Baughman says he knows instruments, even those sitting in a closet somewhere, have sentimental value.

“I understand that, but … it would be something that, you know, brings joy to other people,” he says. “That’s my goal.”

And, he adds, “You can come by and visit them at any time.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers

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