Stolen chairs returned to Calgary outdoor piano installation

Chairs and platforms that were stolen from an outdoor art installation in Sunnyside have been returned.

"It's a Christmas miracle," Tamara Lee, the placemaking artist behind the project, tweeted on Monday.

If you've walked or driven under the LRT bridge on Memorial Drive and 9A Street in northwest Calgary in the past three months, you may have found yourself treated to an impromptu concert.

The installation, called Quartet, invites passerbys to spontaneously tickle the ivories of an outdoor piano or take a seat and listen on chairs attached to platforms surrounding the instrument.

On Dec. 2, someone stole the three chairs and the heavy platforms they were securely attached to. 

"Very disappointing but also baffling," she said at the time.

The chairs — and heavy platforms — mysteriously reappeared on Monday, Lee said, with no clues as to where the items had gone.

It was the second time the installation has been revived.

In November, the front panel was torn off the 850-lb., 100-year-old Doherty upright piano.

Within a few hours of discovering the damage she had heard from two neighbours — one who offered to build a box around the piano and secure it for free, and another who said if the piano was too damaged, he'd be happy to donate his to the cause.

The entire Bow to Bluff corridor is set to undergo a revamp, and the team behind that redesign has expressed interest in integrating the Quartet installation in a more permanent fashion in the future.