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Woodson Art Museum guitar exhibition strikes a chord
Maccaferri Plastic G-40, 1953, design by Mario Maccaferri, manufactured by Mastro Industries, Inc./French American Reeds Manufacturing.


WAUSAU, WI.- An exhibition featuring forty iconic guitars – from an acoustic lute to electric guitars – opens Saturday, February 28, at the Woodson Art Museum where performances, aficionados’ insights, a hands-on Sound Lab, and luthier’s studio feature the instrument that rocks the world.

Medieval to Metal: The Art & Evolution of the Guitar, a touring exhibition of The National Guitar Museum on view at the Woodson Art Museum through May 31, comprises design illustrations, guitars, and photographs of performers, bringing sound to life. Visitors are invited to riff, jam, and play guitars in the Woodson Art Museum’s Sound Lab and pluck oversized strings and design album covers in Art Park, the interactive family gallery.

The exhibition and array of programs highlight how this ever-changing instrument packs a cultural punch. As the guitar’s ancestors evolved over centuries from the earliest ouds and lutes, guitar makers experimented with shapes, materials, and accessories, seeking the perfect blend of beauty and sound. Musicians and luthiers continue to alter guitar design in their endless quest for a fresh aesthetic and sound that fuels creative synergy, musical innovation, and cultural change. Just as American guitar designers of the 1960s departed radically from the iconic hourglass shape, street-corner guitarists led the protest movement that challenged the status quo.

The guitar theme reverberates through performances, programs, and presentations designed for art and music lovers of all ages. Two visiting artists lead programs during residencies: luthier John Currier demonstrates how instrument design and construction affect sound, and guitar historian Michael Kudirka focuses on the guitar’s cultural impact throughout varied genres.

Thursday evening and weekend performances feature a range of styles from classical, blues, and jazz to folk, rock, and heavy metal.





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