By Lynn J. Richardson
That is the message Steve Cook, director of Jonesborough’s Music On The Square program, wants to send.
Cook, who also coordinates the MOTS auction/fundraiser, the Spring Tune-Up, has come up with an unusual project he hopes will generate both excitement and extra funds for MOTS.
He is looking for 24 ultra-creative artists who would be willing to share their talents and some of their time to transform 24 unfinished hollow body acoustic guitars into works of art to be auctioned at the Tune-Up.
“We will be asking artists to express their talent in whatever medium they choose to embellish, decorate, augment and dress up the individual instruments as they see fit,” Cook said. “When it’s finished, it will be a piece of art — not necessarily a playable instrument.”
When finished, they will be returned to Cook and auctioned off to raise money for MOTS.
Cook got his inspiration for the “guitart” from a project done many years ago.
“The idea came from my original guitar,” Cook said. “I got to thinking about my mom and the way she decoupaged my first guitar way back when.”
Cook remembers going to Bristol with his mother when he was 8 years old to buy the instrument.
Several years later, after Cook had moved onto other instruments, he remembers his mother, Mavis Cook, and her friend, Pat Rouse, enjoying doing art projects together and working on his old guitar.
“I remember watching them and wondering what in the world they were doing to my guitar,” Cook said. “That was when decoupage was really big, back in the 60s. They loved doing that stuff and if something sat still too long, my mom would decoupage it. They’d decoupage for a while and have a toddy and then decoupage some more.”
Cook watched as the pair hand cut roses and wine glasses out of thin wrapping paper, added some decorative trim to the edges and then put 30 coats of modge-podge over the entire body of the instrument to get a slick, hard finish.
Cook still has that guitar, purchased 51 years ago from Morrell’s Music in Bristol.
Now, over half a century later, Campbell’s Morrell Music in Johnson City, a perennial sponsor of MOTS, is helping facilitate the donation of two dozen guitars to the town program from Saga Guitars in California.
Cook says he is excited about the project and thinks it will bring a “new facet to the silent auction.”
“I think it will just add something new to all the other wonderful things people donate to help us raise money for MOTS,” Cook said, “and I decided this would be an unusual and hopefully successful way to pay a little homage to my mom.”
Any artist interested in creating a piece of “guitart” should contact Cook at email@example.com. Artists should include their contact information and at least one photo showing examples of their work.