Gibson Guitar Corporation has chosen Waukesha, the birth and resting place of Les Paul, inventor of the solid body electric guitar, for an encore of its nationally acclaimed GuitarTown public arts project.
GuitarTown Waukesha 2013 will build on the momentum of last year and feature 10-foot tall fiberglass Gibson Les Paul model guitars, regular sized guitars, and professional murals to be artistically designed by local students and nationally acclaimed visual artists, and displayed in front of the city’s landmarks and businesses. Each guitar sculpture and mural will celebrate a musician, personality, or artist unique to the region’s history with sponsorship by local businesses and individuals.
The GuitarTown Project will unite the Waukesha area business and cultural communities. The mission of the project is to raise funds to better the lives of those served by local non-profit organizations, including music and art programs within the Waukesha schools, Habitat for Humanity and The Food Pantry of Waukesha County.
The launch of Waukesha GuitarTown Encore is scheduled for the weekend of June 7th, 2013 in honor of Les Paul’s birthday. Events to occur include a private reception, musicians and celebrities, and the opening of Downtown Waukesha’s annual Friday Night Live summer music festival.
The other Gibson GuitarTown cities are:
● Sunset Strip (Hollywood) ● Austin
● Cleveland ● Nashville
● Miami ● London
(Past Event Description Archive of 2012 Guitar Town Waukesha)
June 1 – 2: Les Paul Birthday Celebration & GuitarTown Public Festivities
Completed artistically designed guitars will be shared with the public during a series of events held June 1 – 2. The celebration, called “Les Paul’s Birthday Party” because Paul’s birthday was June 9, is being held in conjunction with the kick-off of the annual Waukesha Freeman Friday Night Live music series. The Les Paul Trio, Rusty Paul (son of Les Paul), Sammy Llanas and Richie Furay Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and former member of Buffalo Springfield and Poco are confirmed appearances.
June 1 Waukesha GuitarTown Activities
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Club 400 owner Dan Pokwinski to share and discuss Club 400’s Les Paul memorabilia.
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Rusty Paul, son of Les Paul will be at Les Paul memorial site at Prairie Home Cemetery to share memories and answer questions about his father.
11:30 – 1:00 p.m.
Lunch & Learn with Bob Jacobson, author of the book Les Paul Guitar Wizard to be at the Waukesha County Museum. $8 admission includes lunch, opportunity for book signing and discussion on book (book cost additional). Pre-registration required by May 31st. To register, call 262-521-2859 ext. 224. Limited seating available.
Opening ceremony for Waukesha Gibson GuitarTown – unveiling of 10 ft guitars and 17 playable guitars will be on display at their final locations in downtown Waukesha.
Les Paul Trio to play on the big main stage set up in downtown Waukesha
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Bob Jacobson, author of Les Paul Guitar Wizard, to sign books at Martha Merrell’s Books/Cuddles
Freeman Friday Night Live featuring six stages of live music at stages at the following locations in downtown Waukesha:
Martha Merrell’s Books/Cuddles ▪ Mike & Kathy G-Man Music
Allo Chocolat ▪ Chad James & Mike Westendorf
Rockin’ & Poppin’ On Broadway Stage ▪ The Notebenders
Mia’s ▪ Peter Llanas
Steaming Cup ▪ Barefoot “N” Bluejeans
Magellans ▪ Lonley Hearts
Freeman Friday Night Live is held at 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. every Friday from June until October in downtown Waukesha.
Sam Llanas Band to play with former Buffalo Springfield music legend and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Richie Furay and Rusty Paul on main stage in downtown Waukesha.
June 2 Waukesha GuitarTown Activities
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Waukesha Farmer’s Market will feature a Les Paul trivia and song tribute and limited edition collectors’ cards.
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Bob Jacobson, author of Les Paul Guitar Wizard to be at the Waukesha County Museum booth at the Waukesha Farmer’s Market signing and discuss his book.
1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Rusty Paul son of Les Paul will be at Les Paul memorial site at Prairie Home Cemetery to share memories and answer questions about his father.
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Live music in downtown Waukesha; guided tour with artists.
5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Live music in downtown Waukesha.
* On May 31st, Waukesha Gibson GuitarTown will hold a private gala to unveil the completed guitars to Gibson Corporation, sponsors and community supporters. This event will be held at the Rotunda in historic downtown Waukesha from 5:30 – 9:00 p.m. Limited ticket sales are concluded for this event.
UPDATE! SAVE THE DATE! Friday, June 1st, 2012 in Waukesha, WI. Gibson Guitar Town Party! Visit WaukeshaGuitarTown.com for details.
Artists Selected For Waukesha Guitar Town Project (by Laurel Walker of the JS)
Feb. 27, 2012Waukesha– Thirty artists from southeastern Wisconsin who will turn 10 replica and 20 regular Gibson Les Paul guitars into works of art as part of the Waukesha Guitar Town Project were announced Monday afternoon at a downtown reception.The artists were selected by members of the project steering committee based on tentative plans. Ten will tackle 10-foot-tall fiberglass guitar sculptures that will be staged beginning about June 1 (2012) mostly along Main St. on both public rights of way and private property. Another 20 artists will work on playable Gibson guitars, which will be finished off by the Gibson Guitar Corp. with strings and other finishing hardware. Their locations have not been determined.
Artists chosen for the large sculptures are:
Retired Carroll University art professor and sculptor Willis Guthrie, his son Jim and grandson Ryan; Racine sculptor of metal fantasy pieces Bill Reid; Waukesha portrait artist Chuck Weber; Waukesha painter noted for portraits of rock and blues musicians Tom Noll; mural artist Ben Stark of Milwaukee; Waukesha water colorist Marcia Schneider; retired art teacher, sculptor and pop art painter Ramona Audley of Oconomowoc; Jennifer Espenscheid, a Milwaukee artist who does murals, portraits, illustrations and abstracts; Waukesha artist specializing in plaster paintings Jeff Seymour; and Milwaukee graphics designer and painter Gene Evans.
The finished works will be unveiled at a May 31, 2012, VIP event and at the first of a summer Friday night concert series on June 1, 2012.
Waukesha’s Journey To Be a Gibson GuitarTown Moves Forward
By Sarah Millard. Jan 31, 2012
(Waukesha Artist and Developer Jeff Seymour helps bring the guitars inside for storage.)
Ten 10-Feet-Tall Fiberglass Les Paul Model Guitars arrived Waukesha, Tuesday morning as the city is planned to be the next Gibson Guitar Town.The guitars were delivered to the Spring Artisan Village, 521 Wisconsin Ave. Local Artists will soon be selected to decorate the guitars that will be placed throughout the city.
In addition to the 10-feet-tall guitars, 15 smaller guitars will be placed throughout the city. Gibson is donating three of the large guitars and all of the 15 guitars, according to Norm Bruce, owner of Martha Merrell Books and media spokesman for the project. Original plans called for 10 smaller guitars.
The remaining seven larger guitars are being funded by Mayor Jeff Scrima’s New Day in Waukesha fund, a fund he opened to donate his pay after he promised during his election to work for half pay.
“Originally it was 10 (small guitars), but after they knew we had committed to doing the seven more and saw a copy of the check, they immediately said ‘You wanted five more, we will chip those in,’” Bruce said.
Looking at the tall guitars, the project is becoming a reality in Waukesha – the birth and final resting place of Les Paul. However, it still has to go before city boards for government approvals. Final locations for the guitars are also not determined, according to Bruce.
In the meantime, Bruce said the guitars are impressive.
“Take a look. People will say what does a 10-foot guitar look like, and all of a sudden, they are going, ‘That’s what they look like,’” Bruce said. “I think that is going to cause all kinds of other people to go ‘Wow, this is really happening!’”
The launch of the project is scheduled for June 1, which corresponds with the opening date for the Freeman Friday Night Live weekly summer music event in downtown Waukesha.
Other GuitarTowns include:
- Los Angeles
Gibson names Waukesha a ‘GuitarTown’
The Business Journal (by Stacy Vogel Davis) Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 11:25am CST
The birthplace of Les Paul will be named a Gibson Guitar “GuitarTown” this summer, putting Waukesha on a list that includes Nashville and Austin.
“GuitarTown Waukesha” will feature 10-foot fiberglass Gibson Les Paul Guitars and a series of normal-sized guitars to be designed by local and national artists and displayed downtown, according to a news release from Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima. It will be administered through the Gibson Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Gibson Guitar Corp. The project will be launched June 1, close to Paul’s birthday of June 9.
“The project will be a great tourism opportunity for Waukesha,” Scrima said. Waukesha is by far the smallest of the 8 cities WorldWide to be named a GuitarTown.
“It’s going to be a boost for our downtown businesses,” Scrima said.
PLEASE stay tuned for exciting further developments regarding Guitar Town Waukesha with Gibson Guitars!