(Press Release | Posted 2007-10-13)

United Way of Greater Cleveland’s GuitarMania® Gala Auction, the rock ‘n’roll meets public art fund-raising event of the year, will take place Saturday, Oct. 20, at the city’s famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s Cleveland’s second encore for the event, which was first held there in 2002 and brought back in 2004.

As before, local artists and national celebrities have transformed more than 70 giant fiberglass Fender Stratocaster guitars into works of art, all of which are now on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The guitars that haven’t already been purchased by various sponsors will go on the auction block that day, with proceeds benefiting United Way of Greater Cleveland and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame education programs.

The GuitarMania® public art project originated in Cleveland and raised more than $1.6 million in its previous two events in the city. In it, corporations, organizations and individuals sponsor local artists to paint, sculpt or decorate the 9-foot-tall replica guitars. Celebrity artists are also recruited to paint and decorate entries.

This year, celebrities who submitted guitar entries include Doors guitarist Robby Krieger, NASCAR drivers Dale Ernhardt Jr. and Michael Waltrip, renowned NASCAR artist Sam Bass and internationally recognized Beatles artist Shannon.

Also up for auction is a limited edition Shelby® GT Stratocaster (bearing “vehicle identification” number one) inspired by the Ford® Shelby® GT Mustang® coupe and autographed by legendary automotive designer Carroll Shelby. Only 200 Shelby GT guitars have been made.

“Super” sponsors for this year’s event include Eaton Corporation and KeyBank; joined by project sponsors Fender Musical Instruments Corp., Clear Channel Communications Inc., Cleveland Magazine, cleveland.com, Continental Airlines, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sherwin-Williams, Pilot Air Freight and Turner Construction.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; the live auction begins at 8 p.m. Admission is $150 per person (reserved seating) and $75 for general admission, and includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, live entertainment and valet parking. Tickets are available by contacting Stephanie Gertner (216.436.2125 or sgertner@uws.org) or by visiting the GuitarMania® website. Space is limited; attendees are urged to R.S.V.P. by Friday, Oct. 12.

For further information on the auction, please contact Matt McManus (216.436.2122 or mmcmanus@uws.org) or Michelle Battle (216.436.2121 or mbattle@uws.org). General information about GuitarMania® can be found at the GuitarMania® website www.cleveland.com/guitarmania/.

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