The Sunset Strip has a colorful history, beginning when it was just an unregulated "strip" of land outside Los Angeles city limits. Come Aug. 12, the street will get even more colorful when 26 giant Gibson Les Paul guitars--each one 10-feet-tall--line its 1.6-mile stretch.
The Gibson Foundation, the guitar company's philanthropic division, has commissioned the massive guitars and chosen local and national artists to paint them. The theme for each fiberglass instrument is inspired by artistic legends unique to the Sunset Strip's history.
The art installations of Gibson Guitar Town, as the exhibit is called, will be placed in front of clubs and other businesses, including such famous spots as the Roxy Theatre and Whiskey A Go-Go, where rock luminaries including the Doors and Motley Crue have played.
A kickoff event is planned for Aug. 12, and the guitars will remain in place for at least six months. Eventually, they will be auctioned off to raise money for a variety of charities geared toward arts and music education. Nashville, TN; Austin, TX; Miami; Orlando, FL; and London have all played host to their own Gibson Guitar Towns.
"We hope Guitar Town will attract even more people to explore the history and businesses of the Strip," said Courtney Kemp, communications manager for the Sunset Strip Business Association.
The guitars are coming to West Hollywood just in time to highlight new changes on the Strip. The street has undergone a major facelift to make it more pedestrian friendly, a beautification project that's been underway since January. The road has been repaved and sidewalks widened to make walking more feasible.
Organizers expect that a 1.6-mile walking tour of the guitars will be a perfect way to show off these new pathways.
"We want the Sunset Strip to be a multi-destination point…a place that's walkable to encourage people to come," said Todd Steadman, executive director of the association.