Gibson Foundation Announces Memphis Guitartown and Calls for Visual Artists to Adorn the Sculptures

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Memphis Artists, Musicians and Businesses Support 10-ft Tall Gibson Lucille’s to Benefit Memphis Charities

Gibson Foundation, the 501c3 nonprofit, philanthropic division of Gibson Brands, in cooperation with the City of Memphis, will be bringing its highly successful public arts project, GuitarTown, to Memphis, Tennessee in 2016 through 2017.

Memphis GuitarTown will feature twenty 10-foot-tall, artistically customized Gibson Lucille guitar sculptures that will be strategically placed throughout the city, partnered with Memphis musicians and celebrities, sponsored by local companies. In 2017, they will be auctioned off to benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Memphis Charitable Foundation. In addition to the 10-foot tall sculptures, there will also be a number of unfinished Memphis- manufactured, Gibson Lucille guitars available for artists to creatively customize.

Inspired by a 1949 bar brawl between two men fighting over a woman named Lucille that caused a major fire, blues legend B.B. King re-entered the burning building to retrieve his cherished Gibson guitar.  B.B. named all of his Gibson Guitars thereafter by the name Lucille and wrote a song about the experience.

“GuitarTown is a project that is near and dear to Gibson Brands, allowing us to share these amazing pieces of art in cities across the country while also giving back through each GuitarTown auction,” said Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman/CEO of Gibson Brands. “We’re thrilled to bring the latest installation to the home of the blues in a fitting tribute to legendary musician B.B. King and to support the tremendous work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Memphis Charitable Foundation.” 

Visual artists interested in adorning the 10-foot sculptures or one of the Memphis-made unfinished Lucille guitars, are invited to apply through the Café Arts portal by submitting their designs for consideration. Entries are due by June 5, 2016. Artists will be jury-selected and announced in mid-June. 

Additionally, Gibson Foundation has invited two Memphis artists: Lamar Sorrento, known throughout the South for his bright colored paintings of blues and rock musicians; and Brandon Marshall, a Memphis native who has earned a name in graffiti and mural art, to create the first two sculptures, which will be unveiled on September 16th, in honor and celebration of B.B. King’s birthday. 

The Memphis GuitarTown Advisory Panel, which helps the Gibson Foundation guide the program to successful outcomes, is chaired by Pat Kerr Tigrett. Other committee members are Kevin Kane, Catherine Margaritis, Boo Mitchell, Tommy Peters, Knox Phillips, Julien Salley and Jack Soden.  In addition, a larger Planning Committee is in place to provide support and guidance for the Auction/Gala, scheduled for March 2017.  

Gibson GuitarTown projects launched in Nashville in 2004 with subsequent GuitarTown Projects in Austin, Texas on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood; Miami and Orlando, Florida; Waukesha, Wisconsin and in London, England – cumulatively raising over $3 million for charities in the host cities. 

About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital:

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.  It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since the hospital opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent, and we won’t stop until no child dies from cancer. St. Jude freely shares the discoveries it makes, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. Join the St. Jude mission by, liking St. Jude on Facebook ( and following us on Twitter (@stjude).

About Memphis Charitable Foundation:

Memphis Charitable Foundation was founded in support of Memphis’ legendary musicians, children’s charities and the arts; focusing on performance platforms, healthcare and education. MCF’s strong brands include The Blues Ballthe Jingle Bell BallTaking Memphis Musicians into Schools and Hospitals and Memphis Music MondaysThe Blues Ball, America’s largest annual ball, has provided an arena for Memphis musicians and allowed only Memphians to grace its stages for the past 22 years. Some of these artists include: BB King, Al Green, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ann Peebles, Isaac Hayes, Sam Moore, Carla Thomas and Jason D. Williams. The Jingle Bell Ball has provided funding for special needs children and created holiday memories for over 100,000 Memphis children for 27 years. Just a few of MCF productions include lighting the Memphis “M” bridge across the Mississippi River and the “Big Dig” groundbreaking for the iconic Pyramid with over 250,000 attendees.

About Gibson Brands:

Gibson Brands, the fastest-growing company in the music and sound industries, was founded in 1894 and is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. Gibson Brands is a global leader in musical instruments, consumer electronics, and professional audio, and is dedicated to bringing the finest experiences to consumers by offering exceptional products with world-recognized brands.

All Gibson Brands are dedicated to innovation, prestige and improving the quality of life and music for its customers. Its goal is to provide the most exceptional customer audio products and experiences in the world.

About Gibson Foundation:

Beginning its 15th year of service, the Gibson Foundation ( ) strives to improve the condition of underserved youth throughout our global communities by the investment of resources, efforts and ideas in five important non-profit categories:

  • Education (advocating effective innovation in knowledge development for young people, emphasizing life coping skills through creativity and imagination)
  • Music & the Arts (inspiring and encouraging young people to practice individual creative expression)
  • Environment (protecting young people from environmental hazards, preserving a sustainable natural world)
  • Health & Welfare (ensuring the well-being and safety of young people, with an emphasis on culturally relevant, community-based supports)
  • Community (strengthening organizations with similar interests and goals)


Source:  Press Release

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