Tupelo gets more guitar sculptures

TUPELO – More guitar sculptures were installed Friday around Tupelo.
The newest painted metal guitar sculptures are in front of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street office on Broadway Street, CREATE, the Regions branch on Green Street, the Tupelo Automobile Museum, the Renasant Center for IDEAs and Johnnie’s Drive-In.
“Our mission was to have them in areas along downtown and in the corridor from downtown to the birthplace,” said Debbie Brangenberg, executive director of the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association.
More guitars will be installed in the next week or two, she said. Those guitars include the Elvis Presley Birthplace and the BancorpSouth Arena.
“Because of the Main Street project, we obviously can’t install all of them,” she said.
The guitars in the way of the three-lane project are on display inside the Tupelo Convention amp& Visitors Bureau and the auto museum.
Combined with the metal art guitars already lining Main Street, Tupelo’s guitar sculptures now number 28, Brangenberg said.
The public art project is the brainchild of Kit Stafford, who now is the executive director at the GumTree Museum of Art, but previously was an art teacher for the Tupelo Public School District.
The district partnered with Main Street, and the Elaine Dundy and Roy Turner Endowment for the Arts funded the project.
The endowment also funded the second round of guitars with another $12,000.
Digital Impressions in Nettleton made the guitar sculptures. Stafford’s husband, Russell, works at the Nettleton company and based the design on Elvis Presley’s first guitar from Tupelo Hardware Co.
Each guitar is painted by school children in the Tupelo Public School District.
The Tupelo CVB has made a walking tour for the guitar art displays. The trail guide is available at the CVB.

Who pays for the art?
The downtown guitar sculptures are paid for by grants from the Tupelo-based Elaine Dundy and Roy Turner Endowment for the Arts.
Digital Impressions (662-963-0854) in Nettleton makes and sells the guitars for other interested businesses and residents.
Contact the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association (662-841-6598) if you’d like to donate money for more guitar sculptures.

Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio