Waukesha GuitarTown’s public art project is expanding next summer, bringing more guitars, more artists and more music together.
The large, 10-foot fiberglass Les Paul-model Gibson guitars will be designed by local artist in Southeastern Wisconsin and “placed around the city at landmarks and businesses for the purpose of bring people together and raising funds for local charities, similar to what we accomplished last year through GuitarTown,” Mayor Jeff Scrima said in an interview with Waukesha Patch.
Gibson Guitars selected Waukesha for its public art project because Les Paul was born in the Wisconsin community.
Scrima met with Gibson Guitar Corporation's CEO Henry Juszkiewicz and President David Berryman on Friday in Nashville, and received a tour of the plant where the legendary Les Paul Guitars are made. Gibson has approved the second phase of Waukesha GuitarTown, which raised $100,000 for area charities.
The public art project made its debut in downtown Waukesha in June – albeit with some controversy – and Gibson Guitars executives were so impressed by the project’s outcome that they approved a second phase to the project.
A private gala and a large-scale kick off to Freeman Friday Night Live was held in June to celebrate the launch of GuitarTown. Scrima said another celebration is likely.
“We would like to do that again,” Scrima said. “The Gibson folks that came up here for the guitar gala and the public launch party at Friday Night Live had a great experience. Gibson has also given us some flexibility to expand the project. Those details have yet to be determined.”
While Scrima’s been scrutinized for using the Waukesha Business Improvement District as a conduit for the accounting purposes of GuitarTown, the project is now a non-profit, “so we can handle contributions directly,” Scrima said.
“We learned a lot last year,” Scrima said.
The GuitarTown steering committee has a few extra months this year to plan the second phase of the public art exhibit than it did last year. Still, more details will emerge in the next few months about artists who will design the guitars, location of the guitars and the public launch event.
“This is a great for us to celebrate the history of the city and to also move our community forward as a destination and incubator for creative and innovative people,” Scrima said.