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Baby, they're grand

Frank Navarette's upright piano is an affectionate tribute to Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, streaked with white and blue pinstripes and a portrait of "the Kid" in his New York Mets uniform, with his mitt extended for an oncoming pitch.

All the loving details are there, save one: The Loxahatchee painter had never heard of Carter before he started working on the piano.

"I'm big into Venezuelan baseball. I love my teams down there," says Navarette, who also designed a Florida wildlife-themed baby grand titled "Charlie the Alligator."

The pianos will be added to a fleet of 18 hand-painted uprights and baby grands during Keys to the Cities, an unveiling ceremony set for Friday, Nov. 1, along the Waterfront Lake Pavilion in downtown West Palm Beach. Kathy Kretzer, founder of Kretzer Piano in Jupiter and the Kretzer Piano Music Foundation, commissioned 17 artists to transform the pianos with several creative themes, including jazz and space travel.

Beginning Saturday, the public can play and view the pianos through Nov. 17 at Delray Beach's Arts Garage and 12 other Palm Beach County locations. The pianos will then be donated to local children's charities and community organizations.

The Keys to the Cities kickoff party will run 7-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at the Waterfront Lake Pavilion, 101 South Flagler Drive, in West Palm Beach. Admission is $100, and includes cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, piano-playing and an artist meet-and-greet. Call 561-748-0036. For a list of locations, "like" Keys to the Cities on Facebook.

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