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Photos from pre-COVID rounds of Pianos on State.

Pianos on State 2020

Pianos Online 

in Support of Music & Art

Call for Entries

11th Annual Pianos on State Call for Entries

Pianos on State has been enlivening Santa Barbara’s downtown for eleven years now, spontaneously reintroducing music and art into people’s everyday lives. While the safety considerations that COVID-19 asks of all of us mean that this year Pianos on State will need to be experienced differently, the need for music and art and enlivenment are needed now more than ever. We need your art! Therefore we are delighted to once again open the Call for Entries to local artists to paint pianos.


This is our chance to preserve the Pianos on State tradition of bringing music and life to Santa Barbara during a difficult year. 


This is what Pianos on State 2020 will look like:

  • Pianos painted gorgeously at Santa Barbara's Community Arts Workshop, as always, with thorough safety measures allowing for social distancing, airflow, and PPE. (More info on safety measures below.)

  • A collaboratively-produced livestream music series in which the painted pianos are transported to beloved performing arts venues like the Lobero, the Bowl, the Marjorie Luke, SOHO, Center Stage, and more. These performing arts organizations are banding together to produce a series of online music performances with the pianos, in which viewers will have the opportunity to donate to support our local venues, which have been through so much this year.

  • A livestream from the CAW in which Santa Barbara musicians and community members are invited to play.

  • All community members are invited to submit videos of themselves playing piano-based music from their homes, and speaking to what music means to them in these times, to the Pianos on State Facebook page and on their own social media accounts with the hashtags #pianosonstate2020 #pianosonline #artsgetsusthrough.

How It Works

Each artist or artist team painting a piano will be given a $250 stipend to purchase materials of their choice for a designated piano. All pianos will be provided and transported by the Pianos on State team. Space to paint the pianos will also be provided at CAW. Participating artists will be recognized on the Pianos on State Street website, videos created during the project, and all other marketing and publicity materials.  


  • Commercial advertising, copyrighted images, hate speech, offensive images and profanity are prohibited (Images must be suitable for all ages). Pianos on State exists to foster a sense of community, connection, and shared humanity.

  • To ensure the longevity of the artwork, loose materials like glitter and sand cannot be included in the design.

  • This project is open to artists living and working in Santa Barbara County.

  • As a public art program, this is an opportunity for emerging and professional artists alike to showcase their work through a unique project. Individual artists and small collaborative teams are both eligible, though teams must use one application.


To Submit, Please Include:

  • Three digital examples of your artwork design.

  • Two digital examples of past artwork.

  • One paragraph stating your concept and why you are interested in participating in the project.


Important Dates

The application deadline is October 26, 2020, at 5pm. Painting will take place at the Community Arts Workshop (CAW) located at 631 Garden Street, Santa Barbara, November 6-8 between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.


The pianos will then be distributed to local performing arts venues for the musical livestream series.


Please contact Casey Caldwell at or 805-324-7443.

PIANOS ON STATE is a collaborative experience between local organizations:

 Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative, Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture, Santa Barbara Education Foundation, Downtown Santa Barbara, and more. 

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Photos from pre-COVID rounds of Pianos on State.

Safety Policies

Some Special Safety Policies for Pianos on State This Year

  • Pianos will be spread out with more than six feet of distance between them, fewer per room than in previous years, in rooms with good ventilation, or in two cases, in private rooms. Space will be taped out. There will be a few fewer pianos, spread around more space at the Community Arts Workshop, this year in order to allow for this.

    • Some pianos will be painted outside, under pop-up tents.

    • For COVID safety reasons, for most of the pianos only one artist will be permitted to work on them at a time, to allow for social distancing. However, 2-3 pianos will be able to be in separate rooms and/or outdoors, allowing for more artists to work on them without being close to any other pianos.

  • Masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes will be provided.

  • A restroom is available onsite, allowing for frequent hand-washing.

  • Shared surfaces (like door handles, tables, etc) will be sanitized before use begins, and every night after use concludes.

  • Masks must be worn at all times when indoors and/or when close to other piano painters. 

  • All piano-painters should do self-screening at home, including temperature and/or symptom checks using CDC guidelines.

    • Piano-painters who are sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 must stay home.

Some Videos from Previous Years:

Though safety restrictions required by COVID-19 prevent us from putting pianos out on State Street in usual way this year, here is an archive of YouTube videos from previous years to help us look back, and look forward. 

A video produced by the Santa Barbara Bowl in 2012, explaining Pianos on State's history and purpose.

A video produced by the City TV in 2018, showing Pianos on State for that year.

An example of one of the many spontaneous videos posted to YouTube by artists. In this instance, pop-violinist Lindsey Sterling had just finished a show at SOHO, and she and her band wandered out to State Street late at night and found the piano on the corner of State and Victoria. This is the video of what happened next.

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