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When artist Jeannette Parssi was invited by Gibson Guitars to participate in its upcoming Miami GuitarTown project, she did not hesitate to accept the invitation. Gibson shipped Parssi a naked Epiphone Casino guitar, which she turned into a work of art. The brightly painted guitar, which the artist titled "Miami ??? Sunrise to Sunset," features a stunning sunrise scene on the front, with an equally dazzling image of the Miami skyline at sunset on the reverse side.
In an effort to enhance its value at auction, upon completing the work Parssi had the guitar autographed by all seven members of the Allman Brothers Band. The artist was introduced to Melinda Trucks, wife of drummer and founding band member Butch Trucks, when the two traveled to Italy in 2004 to paint with a group of artists from South Florida. The women have remained in contact since. Parssi contacted Melinda Trucks and asked if she could arrange to have the band autograph the guitar, and then shipped it to New York, where the band was performing. "The band was more than happy to help," said Parssi, "as it seems they always are when it comes to supporting worthy causes." Each member signed the guitar and it was then returned to Parssi. "Butch and Melinda have been so generous with their time," said Parssi, who said both had painted silk ties for charity events staged by ArtStart, a non-profit founded by Parssi in 2004 with the goal of taking arts education programs to underprivileged children in Palm Beach County. "I really appreciate all of the band members signing the guitar for me," added Parssi. "It turns my artwork into a real collector's item, which will benefit some very worthwhile charities in Miami."
This is not Parssi's first time as a participant in a charity event of this type. In 2004 she created "Edugator" as part of the "Gators Galore" charity event and followed that with "Tiffany Turtle" in 2007, which she created for the "Wild Things" charity event. The artist also has donated her time and talent to the American Lung Association, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Hospice of Palm Beach County. "Giving back has always been a priority for me," said the artist. About Gibson's "Miami GuitarTown" Project Gibson announced in September, 2008 the launch of "Miami GuitarTown," the second installment of such an exhibit in Florida, which will take place throughout the city of Miami. Miami GuitarTown is a public arts project featuring 10-foot tall fiberglass Gibson Les Paul model guitars and a series of showcase regular-size Epiphone Casino guitars artistically designed and painted by local and nationally acclaimed visual artists and placed throughout Miami in front of city landmarks, sponsor locations and other popular destinations for several months.
Gibson recently announced that GRAMMY Award winning singer/songwriter Gloria Estefan has been named Celebrity Co-Chairperson for the project.
Miami GuitarTown unites the South Florida art, music and business communities behind the opportunity to raise proceeds for local charities. The three beneficiaries are The Miami Music & Art Fund, Miami Children's Hospital Foundation and The Art and Culture Center of Hollywood. These nonprofit organizations will share in the proceeds raised by the project and be awarded a check by the Gibson Foundation following the gala auction later in this year.
The project is administered by the Gibson Foundation, the philanthropic division of Gibson Guitar, which is dedicated to making the world a better place for children through its initiatives and the support of nonprofit organizations that advance the arts, education, health & welfare and environmental causes. "As a growing international arts hub, it is very exciting to have Miami join the ranks of other major cities in hosting this wonderful project," said the Honorable Mayor Manny Diaz. "Miami is a dynamic international city and makes for the perfect backdrop for a project as colorful, exciting and innovative as Gibson GuitarTown," said Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of presenting sponsor Gibson Guitar. "We look forward to helping the charities who will benefit from the project and combining the sounds of Miami with the artistry of South Florida."
After an official unveiling, the guitars will complete a "tour" of the city in the spring of 2009. A Gala Auction event conducted by world-renowned Juliens Auctions will be held with all proceeds benefiting local charities. Date/time to be announced soon.
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