06/20/2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Gibson GuitarTown Launches in Orlando with Impressive Advisory Board and Plans for Citywide Exhibit of Ten-Foot Guitars Painted by Visual Artists and Celebrities

Charities Will Benefit as Arts, Music & Business Community Comes Together for Program

Orlando, Florida, June 20, 2008...  Gibson Guitar, the world's premier musical instrument manufacturer and leader in music technology announced the launch of Orlando GuitarTown, presented by the musical instrument giant. Orlando GuitarTown is a public arts project featuring ten-foot tall fiberglass Gibson Les Paul model guitars and a series of regular size showcase guitars artistically designed and painted by local and nationally acclaimed Orlando Guitar Town Logovisual artists and placed throughout Orlando in front of city landmarks, sponsor locations and other popular destinations for several months. Each guitar sculpture will be partnered with a celebrity and will be backed by a corporate sponsor. The project will unite the Orlando art, music, and business communities behind the opportunity to raise proceeds for local charities.

The official Orlando GuitarTown steering committee has been formed and will be responsible for all aspects of planning, coordination and execution of the program in Orlando,Florida. The official steering committee is comprised of the following:

  • Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman & CEO, Gibson Guitar
  • Buddy Dyer, Honorable Mayor of Orlando
  • Jim Faherty, Church Street Concepts & Events
  • Cassy Turiczek, Executive Director, Downtown Arts District, Inc.
  • Thomas Chatmon, Exec. Dir. of the Downtown Development Board and Community Redevelopment Agency
  • Marcia Hope Goodwin, Director, Neighborhood and Community Affairs, Office of the Mayor
  • Kelly Cohen, Owner, Southern Strategy Group
  • Robin Drage, Attorney
  • Giti Khalsa, Stockbroker, Citi Smith & Barney, Drummer Seven Mary Three
  • Donna Dowless, President & CEO, XOXO Media Group
  • Gene Zimmerman, Vintage New World Wines
  • Darrell Harbin, Partnership Development Manager, Orlando Magic
  • James Humann, Dir. Business Development, Lucid Dreams
  • Allan Johnson, Director Orlando Centroplex
  • Curt Littlecott, Owner, NuVisions in Photography
  • Jeff Nolan, Tour Director, Hard Rock Cafe
  • Jennifer Quigley, Owner WBQ Design & Engineering
  • Steve Smith, Director of Sales, City Beverages
  • Clay Townsend, Attorney, Morgan & Morgan
  • Carla Warlow, Owner Sigman/Warlow Consulting
  • Michael McRaney, The Social Foundation Presents

"The Gibson GuitarTown program will further Orlando as one of the great cultural hubs in the nation and yes, internationally," said the Honorable Mayor of Orlando, Buddy Dyer.

Orlando Guitar Town

"Tattood Bill" Roberts begins to paint the inaugural GibsonOrlando GuitarTown ten foot sculpture in front of the CityArts Factory in Orlando

To kick off the project ,the first 10-foot Gibson guitar sculpture was placed outside the CityArts Factory at 29 South Orange Avenue in Orlando this morning. This "Sneak Peak" guitar will be painted in the classic Heritage Cherry Sunburst finish by "Tattood Bill" Roberts who has been creating art since the age of three. Roberts is one of the top visual artists in the Orlando area and posed for photos which are attached to this news announcement. The inaugural guitar will be on display at the CityArts Factory until June 30, 2008 at which time the Honorable Mayor Buddy Dyer will be the first to autograph the completed piece of art. The guitar will then travel to many different events and locations for the period of the entire project as a constant symbol of the artistry and music of Orlando and Gibson's Orlando GuitarTown project.

"Orlando makes for the perfect destination for Gibson's Orlando GuitarTown exhibit. With it's worldwide appeal as a top tourist destination and vibrant arts and entertainment community, it is a perfect setting for this citywide project," said Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of presenting sponsor Gibson Guitar. "We are thrilled to be able to bring this exhibit to Orlando and hope that it strikes a chord with everyone who has the opportunity to experience it."

The launch of the project also kicks off the official Orlando GuitarTown "Call for Artists." Visual artists who are interested in becoming part of the project and painting one of the 10-foot sculptures to be put on display in the citywide event can pick up an application at the Gibson Guitar Entertainment Relations Showroom located at 25 East Central Blvd in downtown Orlando between the hours of 11am-4pm weekdays. Deadline for completed applications is Monday, July 14, 2008 at 5pm EDT. Visual artists may also download the official application and template by visiting www.orlandoguitartown.com. Information regarding applications, official rules and regulations and general information can also be obtained by calling the official Orlando GuitarTown hotline at 1-866-321-4212 or by emailing orlandoguitartown@gibson.com. Once all applications are received by interested artists, the official steering committee will vote on the designs which will be part of the exciting exhibit and notify each artist. Visual artists who participate will be included in large scale publicity campaigns, promotional events, catalogs and in association with any celebrity endorsements for the project.

The guitars will officially be unveiled in a massive citywide event in September 2008 and will complete a "tour" of the city in the Spring, 2009. A Gala Auction event conducted by world-renowned Juliens Auctions will be held with all proceeds benefitting local charities which will be announced next week. The project is administered through the Gibson Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Gibson Guitar, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life through its support of the arts, education, health & welfare and environmental causes worldwide.

Individuals, organizations or corporations interested in sponsoring an Orlando GuitarTown sculpture or guitar can contact the organizers by calling 1-321-299-4047 or by emailing orlandoguitartown@gibson.com. All sponsor benefits and levels are outlined on the official website or can be customized to suit a sponsor's interests and requirements. Each sculpture will be sponsored and corporate partners have the ability to help decide on the design and artistry of the sculpture as well as placement in the city. To download a tentative timeline of the project please visit the official website at www.orlandoguitartown.com. Gibson Guitar and the Gibson Foundation, along with the steering committee, made up of "Who's Who" in the City of Orlando are honored to play a role in determining what art work makes its way onto each sculpture and guitar. The concept will have a huge impact in the community and provide enormous publicity and promotion for the popular City of Orlando, as well as provide another interesting opportunity to attract tourists from around the world.

Gibson is known worldwide for producing classic models in every major style of fretted instrument, including acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins, and banjos. Gibson’s HD.6X-PRO Digital Guitar and the Gibson Robot Guitar represent the biggest advances in electric guitar design in over 70 years. Founded in 1894 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and headquartered in Nashville since 1984, Gibson Guitar Corp.’s family of brands now includes Epiphone, Dobro, Maestro, Kramer, Steinberger, Tobias, Echoplex, Electar, Flatiron, Slingerland, Valley Arts, Oberheim, Sunshine Piano, Take Anywhere Technology, Baldwin, J&C Fischer, Chickering, Hamilton, and Wurlitzer. Visit Gibson’s website at www.gibson.com or www.gibson.com/press

CONTACTS:

Caroline Galloway GIBSON (440) 338-3469 caroline.galloway@gibson.com

Michael Waggoner GIBSON (352) 267-4643 michael.waggoner@gibson.com

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