Local business owners, art aficionados and music fans raised $52,280 to support arts and music education initiatives in Los Angeles as part of the Gibson GuitarTown on The Sunset Strip charity auction held Feb. 22 at Bonhams. The proceeds will directly benefit the Los Angeles Fund for Public Education’s “Arts Matter” campaign, which supports art and music education in L.A. public schools.
The charity auction featured 18 10-foot tall art guitars created by artists including Shepard Fairey, RISK and John Kosh, with works celebrating a range of influential Sunset Strip musicians, including Stevie Nicks, The Doors, Buffalo Springfield, Jane’s Addiction and Van Halen. The collection of guitars previously lined the famed 1.6-mile Sunset Strip for a year, providing a public art walking tour of the boulevard.
The Los Angeles Fund for Public Education is a philanthropic organization dedicated to driving positive change in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Founded by LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy and philanthropist Megan Chernin in 2011, the LA Fund supports ideas that can make a dramatic and direct impact on kids’ lives and make sure those ideas have the support to be permanent. The LA Fund for Public Education recently launched the “Arts Matter” campaign to revitalize arts education in the nation’s second largest school district, which is comprised of more than 1,000 school sites serving nearly 1 million students from Pre-K to adult, nearly 80% of whom live in circumstances of poverty.
LAUSD has seen cuts of nearly $1.5 billion from its annual operating budget during the past three years, and today, only 2 percent of all instructional time is devoted to the arts in L.A. elementary schools. The purpose of Arts Matter is to develop a system that integrates arts instruction with traditional core subjects to increase creative thinking and learning for all students.
“What an incredible event! The proceeds from the GuitarTown auction are a shot in the arm for the Arts Matter campaign,” noted L.A. Fund Executive Director Dan Chang. “People are stepping up and saying that arts education is critical for L.A. public school students. The proceeds from the event will support arts and music programs in Los Angeles Unified Schools, including many served in West Hollywood. Thank you GuitarTown team!”
“We are thrilled that members of the community and businesses generously supported the Gibson GuitarTown charity auction and helped raise significant money in support of the LA Fund’s efforts,” noted Sunset Strip Business Association Executive Director Todd Steadman. “We are thankful for the support of Gibson Guitar and are extremely grateful to the many artists who dedicated their time to create such wonderful pieces of art celebrating The Sunset Strip and the countless musicians who have helped shape this legendary music boulevard.”
One of the top selling guitars was Los Angeles-based artist Juliana Martinez’s “There’s Something Happening Here” mosaic tile guitar, celebrating the music and influence of Sunset Strip band Buffalo Springfield, which sold for $17,000.
“Participating in the GuitarTown project has been a wonderful experience for me. It allows me to use my own creativity, and I really enjoyed being able to celebrate the Buffalo Springfield — whom I have admired for so long — with my own vision,” noted Martinez. “As a teacher with more than 25 years of experience, knowing that the proceeds will give school children the opportunity to express themselves in a way that might not have been possible otherwise, adds to my pride in being part of this project.”
The Gibson GuitarTown on The Sunset Strip project originally launched in 2010 with 24 art guitars celebrating artists including Slash, Ozzy Osbourne, The Runaways and Mötley Crüe. These guitars were auctioned for charity in 2011 with 100% of the $54,360 in proceeds benefitting local charities Los Angeles Youth Network, West Hollywood Arts & Cultural Commission and West Hollywood Library.
Gibson GuitarTown on The Sunset Strip is supported by the Sunset Strip Business Association, Hornburg Land Rover on The Sunset Strip, City of West Hollywood and Visit West Hollywood. GuitarTown on The Sunset Strip is administered by the Gibson Foundation, the philanthropic division of Gibson Guitar Corp. GuitarTown on The Sunset Strip would also like to thank Bonhams, Jack Daniel’s and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for their support of the charity auction.
For more information about Gibson GuitarTown on The Sunset Strip, please visit www.gibson.com/sunset-strip.
Photo 1: Gibson GuitarTown charity auction at Bonhams
Photo 2: Artist Juliana Martinez and her “There’s Something Happening Here” guitar
Photo 3: Shepard Fairey’s “Electric Warrior” guitar
For a full photo gallery, please click here.
–Photos courtesy Genie Sanchez and Juliana Martinez.