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Say hello to… GUITART!

It’s a project that has been months in the making. And if you ask organizer Steve Cook, the results have proven well worth the wait.
Last year, Cook, who manages the town’s Music On The Square events, farmed out approximately two dozen guitars to artists throughout the region. Their instructions were simple — turn the instrument into a piece of art that can be auctioned at the annual MOTS Spring Tune-up in April.
Now, less than a month before the event is scheduled to take place, those pieces of art are coming in. Twenty of the identical, student classical guitars now each have a unique appearance.
“There’s a couple that are painted. There’s a couple that are mosaic-ed,” Cook says. “There are some that are wrapped in some photographic process and one that’s front looks like it has a woven pattern inscribed in it.”
Some of the guitars are still playable while others will serve simply as artwork for someone’s home or office.
“The artists were just left to do what they saw artistically fit,” Cook says. “It has been interesting as people have brought their guitars in. They’re all quite striking.”
The guitars will be on display during the next few weeks at a variety of locations in Jonesborough.
“We’re hoping people just come down and prowl through the stores to see all the artists’ work,” Cook explains. “It’s sort of like a treasure hunt.”
The guitars will all come together on Friday, April 5, for the third annual Spring Tune-Up, to be held at the International Storytelling Center. The event serves as a fundraiser for MOTS, a town program offering free concerts in front of the downtown courthouse every Friday from May through September.
In addition to the guitars, several other items will be auctioned off during the Spring Tune-Up.
“We have dinners, weekend getaways. Mauk’s of Jonesborough is donating a Stressless chair to the auction,” Cook says. “We just have a lot of good things in the auction. It’s not just stuff out of the basement that someone didn’t want anymore.”
The evening also includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, a variety of beverage options, including offerings from Depot Street Brewery, and entertainment from a few of the groups scheduled to perform during this year’s MOTS series.
“It’s very important to have this event and kind of take the (financial) pressure off getting good groups to perform at MOTS each Friday,” Cook says, noting the fundraiser usually brings in around $10,000 for MOTS. “This gives us a good foundation to build on financially.”
The Spring Tune-Up will take place Friday, April 5, from 6-10 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and can be purchased at the ISC, the Jonesborough Visitors Center, Jonesborough Artglass Gallery or Campbell’s Morrell Music in Johnson City. Tickets can also be purchased at the door on the evening of the event for $25.
For more information about MOTS, call Cook at 791-2236 or visit