Guitars to be Auctioned

February 21, 2013
"The Arts Can Free the Soul" ; Oil on Guitar

“The Arts Free the Soul” ; Oil on Guitar

Place your bid to purchase custom painted guitars. Auction open through March 12, 2013.  Contact the Rockford Public Schools Director of Fine Arts @ 815-520-1753 to place your bid. Please forward news of this auction to anyone you know who might be interested in one of these unique items.

My wife came home from school one evening with five boxes. Each box contained a guitar. Helen looked at me and said “Lu Ann.” That’s all I need to hear. I sat down and waited for the story to play out. Lu Ann is with the school system and oversees the arts program for the Rockford Public Schools. Long story short, the school district has a couple dozen guitars which they need to get out of their inventory. Lu Ann and some of the people in charge of communications at the district office decided it would be a great idea to have the art teachers paint the guitars which could then be auctioned to raise money for the arts program. (Oops, there’s a lack of respect thing rearing its head). Helen felt obligated to volunteer. Over the years, Lu Ann has been of help and a great resource for Helen.

My wife brain stormed design ideas and asked for my input. I shot down a few of the ideas and augmented a few others. And then I did it. I offered a design suggestion to which Helen jumped on the opportunity and said, “That’s a great idea! You should do it!”. Yikes. Me and my big mouth. I stalled as long as I could, but after Helen completed three guitars and my youngest son jumped at the chance to paint one, I felt that I had no choice but to paint one.

Helen had the guitar prepped. She sanded and gessoed the surface and found a reference drawing for me to use. So in between paintings, I took a day to work on the guitar. It went fairly quick. I had planned to use Alkyd paints to ensure that the painting would dry within a day. I had a couple colors available in alkyd, the other colors needed required that I add Liquin to the regular oil paints. Unfortunately, this caused a few paints to be a little too viscous. I worked through the challenges, finished the guitar and placed it on the easel near our kitchen.

I was outside shoveling the freshly fallen snow when Helen arrived home. I said nothing about the guitar. Helen went into the house. A few moments later I heard her screech and knew that she had seen my days labor. Helen approved. Helen brought my painted guitar to school and told me that one of the assistants at school took the guitar, tuned it and started to play the guitar. Helen tells me that the people watching loved the effect of the painted hands in symphony with the performers hands or as she said “It was really cool!”.

A bit of angst on my part. We are less than a month from the date that these guitars are to be auctioned. The communications people of the school district (cast offs from the local paper) do not appear to have done anything to sufficiently promote the event and create the necessary excitement so that these works of art can sell for more than the spare pocket change which mom or dad have on them. The communications department idea was to have the guitars available for auction at the all city music festival, and that is where their brain storm appears to have stopped (why can’t the school district hire people who understand that  communications, at times, requires  more than just issuing a press release?).  Nearly two weeks ago, my wife, son and I created and forwarded a list of ideas to get the word out to parties that would be most likely to spend their money on these novelty items. You know, go beyond mom, dad,  and the grandparents. I see no evidence that these experts in communications have done anything to aid promotion.

I hope to be proved wrong. I hope to blog in the next few weeks that I was wrong and the people did their job to create more than enough excitement that causes a frenzy. That these creations raised far more money than I expected. Unfortunately, I doubt that I will need to write and publish such an apologetic blog. I fear that this will be another silent auction which warranted a silent reply. Oh Tom, please be wrong.

Sun & Moon; Acrylic on Guitar - Helen Linden

Sun & Moon; Acrylic on Guitar – Helen Linden

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