This spring the Colby College Museum of Art will bridge the divide between visual and aural art forms in a unique exhibition of one of the world’s most popular and seductive musical instruments — the guitar. Vintage, rare, and handmade guitars, all with connections to Maine, will be featured in conjunction with live performances of various musical styles. “The Player’s Art” will be on display May 7 through July 17, 2005.

Among the guitars featured will be a 1952 Gibson Les Paul “gold top” prototype signed by Les Paul and a 12-string, one-of-a-kind, left-handed 2004 Rickenbacker Model 350. “The Player’s Art” also will include vintage amplifiers, artwork, photographs, posters, and accessories that help examine the guitar’s impact on popular culture.

Five performances in the museum galleries will provide another break with tradition. Guitars in the exhibition will be removed from the museum walls to be played, filling the galleries with music. During those performances, musicians will discuss the qualities of the instruments with craftsmen such as Dana Bourgeois and Scott Conley — master luthiers who have created guitars used by some of the most popular names in contemporary music.

All events will be in the Colby College Museum of Art as follows:

Saturday, May 7, 2 p.m.
Performances by Colby Instructors and Students
Performances by Colby guitar instructors Rick Bishop, Carl Dimow, Mark Leighton and their students. Guitar builder Adam Zois ’94 will discuss the art of building fine guitars.

Sunday, May 29, 2 p.m.
Jazz Guitar with Gary Wittner and Tony Gaboury
Each highly accomplished and internationally renowned performer and teacher will present a solo performance, and a duet will follow. Thelonious Monk fans are in for a treat.

Sunday, June 5, 1 p.m.
Gallery Talk by Bill Dixon
Vintage guitar collector and author of Guitar Collecting: How I built a $65,000 collection of guitars from a $1,000 investment in four years, and how you can too! (Morris Publishing, 2003).

Sunday, June 12, 2 p.m.
Finger Style Guitar with Denny Breau and Martin Gibson
Each player will present a solo performance, and a duet will follow. Later Dana Bourgeois will present a brief workshop on guitar building.

Saturday, June 18, 2 p.m.
Blues with David Mello and the Blues Prophets
David Mello will perform solo then join The Blues Prophets for a blues jam.

Sunday, June 26, 2 p.m.
Rock and Roll with the Boneheads
Together for 15 years and still one of the most unique bands recording and performing today in Maine. Former Speaker of the House Pat Colwell will reunite with the band for this special performance.

Sunday, July 10, 2 p.m.
Bluegrass with The Jerks of Grass and Scott Conley, with special guest Jordan Benissan
Luthier Scott Conley will speak on building guitars using non-traditional woods.

Upcoming exhibits at the Colby museum:

June 26 – September 18, 2005
Alex Katz: Collages
The museum’s collection of work by Alex Katz is one of its defining features. Between 1955 and 1960, at the beginning of his career, the artist produced approximately 60 collages. Eight of these belong to Colby; the remainder are scattered in public and private collections internationally. This exhibition will bring together a comprehensive group of these collages for the first time.

July 27 – November 6, 2005
Terry Winters: Prints & Sequences
As the sole repository of an entire archive of prints by Terry Winters, the museum will present an exhibition of more than 100 of the artist’s prints spanning the past two decades. This exhibition will display a number of series in their entirety, and Winters’ work in a variety of printing techniques — lithography, etching, aquatint, woodcut, linoleum cut, and Mixografia — will be on display.

The Colby College Museum of Art is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free, and the museum is accessible to people with disabilities. For more information call 207-872-3228 or visit www.colby.edu/museum/