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The Burned Piano Project: Creating Music Amidst the Noise of Hate

April 7-June 30

Textile and found-object sculptor Bonnie Meltzer created a tapestry with piano strings as part of this exhibit that celebrates how community can promote healing, build empathy, and grow understanding.

Over several weeks in spring 2022, as lilacs bloomed in Portland, a mosque, a Black-owned restaurant and two synagogues were vandalized. Around that time a family’s home, which also was a Jewish organization’s mailing address, was destroyed by arson in the middle of the night.
In their home stood a cherished grand piano, passed down through three generations. The family could not bear to see the piano tossed into a dumpster along with most of their belongings. Instead, bolstered by community, they resolved to face destruction, waste, and hate with creativity, art, and love.

The Burned Piano Project: Creating Music Amidst the Noise of Hate began with one family’s experience of antisemitism and celebrates how community can promote healing, build empathy, and grow understanding.

Textile and found-object sculptor Bonnie Meltzer created Because They Were Jewish, a tapestry with piano strings. She also transformed the wooden key cover and more piano strings into Threads of Connection, a sculpture with an interactive component. Composer and performance artist Jennifer Wright transformed elements of the ruined Steinway into a fantastical new instrument, The Glass Piano. Wright will perform multiple concerts of the original music she has composed for this one-of-a-kind creation in the gallery over the course of the exhibition. Wright’s second work in the exhibit, As Many As There Are Seeds in a Pomegranate, creates a ritual space around the piano’s massive cast iron harp. Almost every part of the burned piano was incorporated into the artworks on exhibit, including two works, Lifecycle and Pushing the Pedal, contributed by family members.


April 7 @ 11:00 am
June 30 @ 4:00 pm
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Organized By

Bonnie Meltzer
Organizer Website


Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education
724 NW Davis Street
Portland, OR 97209 United States
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