Few things say summer like driving down the road with the windows down and the music cranked up, and a new exhibition in Tempe captures the feeling with custom electric guitars, specialty rides and lots of music memorabilia.
Called "Cars & Guitars," the exhibition is a collaboration of The Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts, world famous guitar manufacturer Fender and Scottsdale custom chopper shop Sucker Punch Sally's. Best Buy is also in the mix, providing a Wii "Rock Band" lounge where visitors can play the popular video game live in the gallery.
"The second exhibition we ever did was a Roy Orbison rock ‘n' roll memorabilia show, and it was one of our most popular shows ever," says community galleries coordinator Michelle Nichols Dock. "It really got us thinking that we wanted to do a fun summer exhibition kind of blending those fun things that are all about summer - riding around, going to concerts - with a pop culture element."
Among the pop culture curios worth seeing are the brocade-covered Fender guitars used by the band OK Go in their 2007 "Do What You Want" video. There's also a black-and-white Stratocaster, amp and case designed by Eric Clapton for the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival, and a guitar signed by each member of the Rolling Stones and director Martin Scorsese, who made a documentary about the band, "Shine A Light," in 2008.
Other items to see include custom bikes designed by Sucker Punch Sally's, guitars from a local collector with specialty themes like Hot Wheels and the Shelby GT Mustang convertible, and guitars from the 2006 Tempe Music Festival, which featured Jeff Beck, John Mayer and Eric Johnson.
There are also iPod listening stations and "The Strat Pack: Live in Concert," a film of a 2004 concert featuring Joe Walsh, David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Brian May (Queen) and other axmen celebrating the 50th anniversary of Fender's Stratocaster, will play in a small lounge area inside the gallery.
The free exhibit is open through Oct. 16. Local teens can sign up on a first-come, first-served basis to perform two songs each during teen open mic nights, held 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesdays in July. The events will be preceded at 5 p.m. by free informal mentoring sessions for teens with local musicians, who will give feedback on songs or answer questions about the industry.
The gallery will announce more exhibiton-related programming soon, including an Aug. 5 live music night and collaborations with Ear Candy, a nonprofit that provides kids with music education.
CARS & GUITARS
What: An exhibition featuring custom Fender guitars, a tricked-out truck, specialty motorcycles and music memorabilia
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday through Oct. 16
Where: The Gallery at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway
Information: (480) 350-2829 or www.tempe.gov/tca/gallery