For Copper Mountain's all-things-axe-related Guitar Town festival running August 9 through 11, Colorado artists participating in the companion Art Guitars Silent Auction really go the extra mile. Utilizing damaged guitars donated by Guitar Center, thirteen artists were given free rein to paint, disassemble and rework the instruments into works of art that will go up for auction to benefit the musician's assistance fund, MusiCares.
This Friday, August 2 at Kanon Collective Gallery, Denver gets a one-night-only chance to see and bid on the guitars before they make the trek to Copper Mountain for Guitar Town.
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There are no rules for how the guitars are handled, so some artists have completely dismantled the instruments and reassembled them to look nothing like the original six-string forms. "Most of these guitars are broken beyond repair when I get them," says Eric Matelski, who oversees the Art Guitars project for Copper and is one of the guitar artists.
"Steve Gordon -- who created the guitar that looks like it folds apart -- was actually able to make his a usable instrument again," he says of the piece shown here. "That sculpture actually plays, and he'll be playing it at a concert at the Mercury Cafe on August 7. He's going to videotape some of that, and whoever wins the auction on that guitar will also get a free copy of a CD that he recorded playing that instrument."
Another artist, Kyle Banister, has carved the body of his guitar to look like a cow skull -- one that has already been used for a photo shoot. "The goal is always to achieve more and get more awareness for the auction," says Matelski.
Despite the quality of the art, Matelski says the musicians who play for free at Guitar Town -- this year brings Bill Kirchen, Tony Joe White, Coco Montoya and more to the stage -- are the big draw, and he hopes the auction can attract the attention of those crowds.
"We've really tried to up the ante for the last five years with the guitars, just to get people to pay more attention," say Matelski. "We put a different guitar in a different shop in the Village of Copper and kind of create a scavenger hunt. When guests are in Copper for the concert, they can go to each place to see the guitars."
In advance of the ninth annual Guitar Town, Kanon Collective Gallery in Denver has again opened its space for one evening devoted to the unique pieces. This Friday, August 2, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., guests are invited to check out the instruments and start bidding -- a week before the big festival officially kicks off. For more information on Art Guitars and the MusiCares program it supports, visit Guitar Town's website.
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