Uptown is getting an upgrade - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Uptown is getting an upgrade

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RICHLAND, WA - If you've been by the Uptown Shopping Center recently, you may have realized a few changes to the area. Local artists are working on projects in the area in order to bring back some life to the landmark.

"I think it's awesome," said Kagen Cox, owner of Kagen Coffee and Crepes. "It brings a lot of life to the area and hopefully catches people's eye[s] as they're driving by and they come by and check it out."

To business owner Cox, the little changes happening at the Uptown Shopping Center are making a big difference. Once of those changes? A small piano that is there for anyone to play.

The Painted Piano Project was started by Cynthia Vaughn, who owns Magnolia Music Studios. Pianos like these have popped up in areas like Portland, Seattle, and now Richland.

"And the idea of it is to take an older piano and to partner up with a local artist and try to do some community work that way," Vaughn explained. "By bringing the artist and the old piano together, you can bring music together...people...just that kind of idea."

But that's not the only thing that's new. Just around the corner, a mural is underway. The artist, David Mullins, says it's a part of the Uptown Mural Project that is working to bring back life to an aging landmark. Employees in the area are happy to see the changes.

"Oh, I think it will attract a lot of attention when people are driving down the road," said Kaitlin Vasquez, employee of Octopus Garden. "They'll look over and notice what's in the Uptown mall."

The mural is expected to be done around August, but you can drive by now and see it start to come together.