Press Room - Bohemian Foundation

Bohemian Foundation's Communications Department is ready to assist members of the media, as well as grantees interested in publicizing their awards.


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June Greist Communications Director

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Our Most Recent News Releases


Pianos About Town Announces 2022 Artists
12 of 13 artists are new to the program this season

FORT COLLINS, Colo., May 9, 2022 – Pianos About Town, a program that brings local art and spontaneous music to the streets of Fort Collins, today announced the artists selected to paint pianos in 2022. Twelve of 13 artists are new to the program this season.

Local artists selected to paint pianos in 2022 are Becca Black, Hannah Call, CM Canino, Ciera Dykstra, Monika Lea Jones, Athena Koss, Cheng Li, Holly McQuinn, Kris Barz Mendonça, Rachael Pitchford, Makari Roehrkasse, Snail Candy Arts, and Aerica Raven Van Dorn.

“We’re excited to welcome our returning and many new artists to this program,” said Ellen Martin, Visual Arts Administrator for the City of Fort Collins. “We received a record number of applications this year and are pleased with the diversity of styles and artist experience selected as part of the City of Fort Collins’ RFP process.”

Outdoor summer painting will start May 11 at the Art in Action tent on the south side of Fort Collins’ Old Town Square.

New Artist Profile: Kris Barz Mendonça, “The Universe in a Piano Shell”

Kris Barz Mendonça is a first-time artist with the Pianos About Town program. Mendonça says the pianos were one of the first things he noticed when he moved to Fort Collins from Brazil.

“I feel connected to the initiative of the Pianos About Town project because art in public spaces is one of the ways you can make urban areas more community oriented,” said Mendonça. “At the same time, art can be visually appealing or thought provoking, being able to make people learn about our past or wonder about the future of society.” Mendonça uses a lighthearted colorful style, friendly characters and storytelling to explore a range of topics.

Mendonça will paint “The Universe in a Piano Shell,” a concept that explores the human desire to explore the universe. Mendonça will use a comic-inspired style and narrative to depict Fort Collins and the universe.

Mendonça concept image:

The Universe in a Piano Shell
The Universe in a Piano Shell by Kris Barz Mendonça

New Artist Profile: Cheng Li, “Whimsical Music Machine”

Cheng Li learned to play piano as a young child.

"I remember riding my little sky-blue bike down to my piano teacher’s house for my weekly piano lessons.” said Li. “From then on, music has been the one constant in my life. When I moved overseas from Japan to the U.S. and lost my spoken language, music was the one language that stayed with me. Music was there for me when I felt lost without my voice.”

“This project called out to me because it married two of my passions: music and art,” said Li. “When I was designing this piece, my focus was to create an inviting and fun design to attract people to play the piano. Whether a new player, a seasoned player, or just a passerby, I want to share my love of music and art with them through this project.”

Li also played a painted piano on her first visit to Fort Collins.

“I spotted a painted piano and sat down to play,” said Li. “In that moment, playing on the beautiful piano under the dappled shade of an aged tree, I felt at home in this new place. I hope that through my art, I can help create a similar magical moment for someone else strolling through the town.”

Li will paint “Whimsical Music Machine,” a concept that reimagines the internal mechanisms of a piano. Instead of strings and hammers, this piano is powered by gears and pipes. The whimsical musical machine grows rainbows and plants, and the world is inhabited by colorful creatures who call the piano their home.

Li concept image:

Whimsical Music Machine
Whimsical Music Machine by Cheng Li

About Pianos About Town

Pianos About Town brings local art and spontaneous music to the streets of Fort Collins. Pianos About Town started in 2010 as a collaboration among Bohemian Foundation, the City of Fort Collins Art in Public Places program and the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority. Community members watch as local artists transform donated pianos into public art. In 2018, the program celebrated its 100th painted piano.

Scattered among 20 locations across town in the summer, and six locations in the winter, the completed pianos offer surprise interruptions of color and music across Fort Collins. The whimsical pianos beckon to passersby and invite them to make and listen to music together.

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Local Organizations Can Use New Grants to Tackle Community Issues

FORT COLLINS, Colo., January 25, 2022 – Fort Collins tops national rankings for best places to live. Locals even nicknamed it “the Choice City.” But many local organizations know that it is not a choice city for everyone.

  • The most recent U.S. census data showed 16% of Fort Collins residents living below the poverty line, above the state level of 9%. The census data comes from the 2019 American Community Survey, five-year estimates.
  • Nearly 60% of students experiencing homelessness in Poudre School District do not graduate in four years, according to the district’s graduation statistics (page 6).
  • Sixty percent of renters in Fort Collins are cost-burdened, meaning that the household spends more than 30% of their income on housing, according to the City of Fort Collins Housing Strategic Plan (page 30).

Local nonprofits, schools and government units are using new grants to act on these issues and more. Bohemian Fund grants from Bohemian Foundation support organizations in their work to make Fort Collins a more equitable place. Each organization can apply to receive a grant up to $30,000.

Last month 36 organizations received grants totaling $587,000. Some highlights include.

  • Beats By Girlz gives women, girls and gender-expansive individuals access to technical tools to make music. The organization will use a grant to challenge longstanding sexism, racism and classism in the music industry.
  • Homeward Alliance will use a grant to support their Family Housing Program. Homeward Alliance uses data to understand community needs. Numbers from Poudre School District show 1,387 students did not have safe and stable housing during the 2019-2020 school year. Data from across the state shows 68% of students experiencing homelessness are students of color.
  • La Cocina is an organization that relies on the expertise of Latinx individuals and families it works with to design solutions. La Cocina will use a Bohemian Fund grant for La Cocina’s ¡Las Favas! program. It works with Latinx women who care for children in their homes and Latinx families with young children.

The next chance to request a grant is coming up. The application opens Jan. 27 and closes Feb. 24. Find out how to make a grant request during a workshop Jan. 25, Jan. 26 or Feb. 1. Register at BohemianFoundation.org/bohemian-fund/workshops-applicant-support. A group of community reviewers and Bohemian Foundation staff selects applicants for awards.

Click here for a complete list of organizations that received grants last month:

Bohemian Foundation is a private family foundation established in 2001. Based in Fort Collins, Colorado, Bohemian Foundation supports local, national and global efforts to build strong communities. Visit BohemianFoundation.org for more information.

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Pianos About Town Program Seeks New and Diverse Artists

FORT COLLINS, Colorado, December 6, 2021- Pianos About Town, an interactive public art program in Fort Collins, announced today that it is seeking artists or artist teams to paint or artistically decorate pianos in 2022.

The program is looking for diversity in artwork styles and concepts, with a preference for emerging artists and new and exciting ideas. Selected artists will receive an honorarium of $1,000. To apply, artists must submit a letter of intent and concept rendering. The application deadline is Feb. 1 before 4 p.m. MST. A City of Fort Collins Art in Public Places committee selects artists each year. For further information and to apply, visit fcgov.com/art-calls.

The program will offer two virtual sessions to provide resources for potential applicants. During the first session, potential applicants will hear a presentation about the application process and will have opportunities to ask questions. The second set of virtual sessions are one-on-one meetings during which program staff will work with artists to review their applications and answer questions. Neither session is required in order to apply.

Virtual Presentation and Q&A

  • Jan. 12, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
  • More at: fcgov.com/pianos
  • This session will include a presentation at 6:30 p.m. about the application and review process. Program staff will be available to answer questions at the end of the session.

One-On-One Meetings with Program Staff

  • Jan. 26, 2-6:30 p.m., by appointment
  • More at: fcgov.com/pianos
  • Staff will be available to meet with applicants one-on-one for up to 30 minutes to review applications and make application recommendations. Staff also will be available to provide general information for applicants who were unable to attend the first information session.

About Pianos About Town

Pianos About Town is a public art initiative that provides paid work to local visual artists, gives the public the opportunity to observe these artists work in real time, showcases the work of artists throughout town, and brings opportunities for spontaneous musical expression to the streets of Fort Collins.

The original inspiration for Pianos About Town comes from British artist Luke Jerram, who created a 60-piano installation that toured the world, stopping in New York City in June 2010. Pianos About Town also was inspired by a similar project on Denver’s 16th Street Mall. The first pianos were placed in Downtown Fort Collins in 2010.

Pianos come from donations made by community members looking for a new home for their used instruments. Pianos are picked up, free of charge, from their previous homes and brought to a storage area where they are cleaned, tuned, prepped for painting, and readied for the outside elements. After that, the painting begins. Each selected local artist spends approximately two weeks painting their piano in downtown Fort Collins, outdoors in a public location when weather permits. Once painted, each finished piano enters into rotation at Pianos About Town locations throughout Fort Collins. Area businesses play a key role in the success of the project by “adopting” the painted pianos and covering them during inclement weather.

Pianos About Town is a collaboration among Bohemian Foundation, the Downtown Development Authority and the City of Fort Collins Art in Public Places Program.

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Students Award More Than $100,000 to Local Nonprofits Through Give Next Program

FORT COLLINS, Colo., June 9, 2021 – Students from 20 middle and high schools in Poudre and Thompson School Districts participating in the Give Next youth philanthropy program capped off the school year by awarding $105,204 to 36 Larimer County nonprofits.

Give Next is a school-based youth philanthropy program designed to provide middle and high school students with experience in philanthropic giving. While schools transitioned to online learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, participating classes continued efforts to learn about and raise money for Larimer County nonprofits.

Give Next is a school-based youth philanthropy program designed to provide middle and high school students with experience in philanthropic giving. Despite a year of continued challenges and disruptions brought about by COVID-19, participating classes carried out the program while shuffling through a mixture of remote, hybrid and in-person learning.

“We celebrate the students and teachers who demonstrated their commitment to our community by adapting Give Next to their virtual, remote learning realities,” said Sara Maranowicz, Bohemian Foundation’s Community Programs director. “They found new, creative ways to connect with nonprofits during a challenging time and supported many organizations at the center of our community’s COVID-19 response.”

Through the program, local businesses, foundations and individuals become classroom donors by providing each participating school with $5,000 to award to Larimer County nonprofits. Many of the students from participating schools also complete their own fundraisers to add to the $5,000 grant amount provided by donors. This year, students raised $5,204 to accompany the $100,000 provided by donors. Throughout the year, students design and manage their own grantmaking programs. Students work together to identify community needs, choose a focus area, create their own mission statement, research nonprofits, volunteer, conduct site visits, review grant applications and make funding decisions. At the end of the school year, students award grants to selected nonprofits. Through the process, Give Next enables students to experience the power of teamwork and the impact they can have on their community.

Since the program’s inception in 2012, more than half a million dollars has been awarded to Larimer County nonprofits—$595,000 of which was provided by classroom donors and nearly $85,000 of which was raised by Give Next students. Every donor dollar goes directly to student grantmaking.

For more information about becoming a Give Next classroom donor or about participating in the program, contact Jodie Riesenberger at 970-221-2636 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Click here to view the full list of 2020-2021 Give Next grant recipients.

About Bohemian Foundation

Bohemian Foundation is a private family foundation established in 2001. Based in Fort Collins, Colorado, Bohemian Foundation supports local, national and global efforts to build strong communities.

Bohemian Foundation provides management support for Give Next.

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