Artists for second phase of Waukesha GuitarTown will be announced Monday

Published on: 3/14/2013

Waukesha GuitarTown is getting bigger in its second go-around.

Waukesha GuitarTown spokesman Norm Bruce said 15 artists have been chosen to decorate the 10-foot tall fiberglass sculpture Gibson Les Paul guitars and 24 for the playable regular-sized guitars as part of the public art project.

These artists will be announced during a public reception from 5 to 6 p.m. Monday at Bernie’s Tap Room & Restaurant, 351 W. Main St., in downtown Waukesha.

The 39 guitars for the project is an increase from the 30 in last year’s project – 20 playable and 10 oversized guitars. After they were revealed in early June, the large guitars resided outside downtown businesses as part of a walking tour. The regular-sized guitars were put inside selected downtown businesses.

Like last year, Lynn Gaffey, a downtown art gallery owner and the artistic director of the Waukesha GuitarTown Steering Committee, chose the selected artists. 

Artists submitted a biography, portfolio and proposed conceptual ideas with selection based on artistic merit and the guidelines for public art that were provided by both Gibson and the Public Art Committee of Waukesha.

Last year’s guitars paid homage to the late Les Paul, a famous musician and inventor who was born and is buried in Waukesha.

Gibson Guitar Co. manufactures guitars designed by Paul and a partnership was developed between Mayor Jeff Scrima and Gibson representatives during a 2011 memorial dedication at Paul’s gravesite at the Prairie Home Cemetery in Waukesha.

Like last year, Bruce said the playable guitars will be sent to Gibson Co. in Nashville, Tenn., for strings and related hardware before returning to Waukesha.

GuitarTown Encore will also model last year’s event when the guitars will be unveiled during the first Friday Night Live of the season (June 7) in downtown Waukesha. Friday Night Live is a music series during the summer months in downtown.

The Gibson Guitar Foundation and local sponsorships are funding this community art project.

There were more than 30 sponsors last year and the project raised $105,000 for three local charities – $45,000 for the Waukesha Public School District to purchase new musical instruments and art supplies; $45,000 for the new Les Paul exhibit at the Waukesha County Museum; $15,000 for the Waukesha Memorial Hospital to help fund the new Community Health Clinic.

Sponsorships (which have different levels) are available by contacting Waukesha GuitarTown Chairman Rick Congdon through

Other cities that have formed partnerships with Gibson to become GuitarTown cities include Hollywood, Calif., Cleveland, Miami, Orlando, Fla., London, Austin, Texas, and Nashville.