Tupelo guitar project almost finished

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – One more guitar sculpture has to be installed in downtown Tupelo before the Elvis-inspired art project is finished.
Over the past few weeks, 14 of the guitar-shaped metal sculptures have sprung up in the central business district. The first one was unveiled Jan. 7 in front of Tupelo Hardware.
“It’s better than I thought originally,” said Kit Stafford, a Thomas Street Elementary art teacher who came up with the idea and partnered with the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association for the project.
“I love the way they put them in the central location. You can see them all and experience them all in a small area.”
The majority of the 6-foot guitars are installed along Main Street in front of locations such as Tupelo Hardware, the Hilton Garden Inn, the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, Main Street Vintage Guitars and the Community Development Foundation.
Other locations include the Lyric Theatre and Gateway Park at U.S. Highway 45 and Main Street.
The last guitar, which is having some finishing work done, should be installed in about a month at Main and Green streets, Stafford said.
Kurt Shettles of The McCarty Co. Design Group coordinated the installation and said the volunteers tried to put sculptures in front of locations that tied in with each guitar’s theme. For example, the one in front of the Lyric has a movie reel painted on it and the one in front of the Hilton Garden Inn has “Heartbreak Hotel” on it.
The art project was made possible through a $14,000 grant from the Elaine Dundy and Roy Turner Endowment Fund for the Arts, paint donations from Sherwin-Williams and volunteer efforts from the Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association, Digital Impressions in Nettleton and The McCarty Co.
Students throughout the Tupelo Public School District painted the guitars, which were then installed downtown as a way to offer public art and create a tourist attraction. The guitar sculptures were created by Digital Impressions, which modeled the shape after Elvis Presley’s first guitar, which came from Tupelo Hardware.
The goal is to grow the project, Stafford said.
“I think they are a lot of fun and I’d love to see them spread out and to go farther out in the city,” Stafford said.

Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.