Rhubarb Red and the power of music to heal

Published on: 2/11/2012

There's been no shortage of controversy to stir up emotion lately... recalls, street closure, mayoral antics... Interesting Sound Off in Thursday's Freeman.  Makes me want to sound off myself.

We at least agree on this: the ten-foot guitars should be further spaced and not placed on Main Street alone, it will be amazing to see, and will help downtown for years to come.

The commenter goes on to complain the artists will be paid SO much! "They should be HONORED to be chosen for this project!"

My thought is $750.00 doesn't seem to bad considering the hours and materials that would go into transforming it into a work of art. You get what you pay for. With each fiberglass guitar costing thousands, and to be seen by thousands, it's worth investing in a quality job...

They go on to state that Friday Night Live musicians don't get paid much, "...and they ALL do not mind. They do it for the LOVE of downtown Waukesha..." Yeah, I know they're paid a tenth as much, but they don't mind? Really? Doubtful it's also their full time occupation.

There's nothing wrong with supporting downtown Waukesha, but no artist is going to get rich off a $750.00 stipend and will probably even end up giving away some of their talent. It will undoubtedly be a source of pride and public exposure for the artist. That amount of publicity would do anyone good, but these fiberglass guitars won't be auctioned for charity. Music, or art, has power to heal, but asking artists to give away their time and materials for the LOVE of Waukesha is no different than expecting every clerk, doctor or business person to work for free. After a while you realize no one's manning the store.

I knew YouTube contained several time-lapse videos showing just how much work goes into transforming one of these ten-foot guitars. While searching, I came across an interesting series showing London's "Rhubarb Red" Les Paul memorial guitar. Enjoy.