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FishGuitar: Current Morris Hall Exhibit that Blends Musical and Visual Art

Orange Flag (Courtesy/Jeremy Morgan)

Columbus Academy welcomed the Billy Rhinehart exhibit to Morris Hall Art Gallery On February 7 and will run through March 17. An Athens, Ohio native, Rhinehart is a wood carver whose focus for the past thirty years has been creating hand-painted guitars. 

This exhibit features seventeen of Rhinehart’s guitars, including Orange Flag, Mighty Tears of Joy, Trouble Brothers, and more. Rhinehart uses traditional, exotic woods. the vibrant colors that pop out of the guitars’ bodies as animals, nature, and human faces craft a beautiful story. Beyond their physical qualities, Rhinehart’s guitars are high-quality, playable instruments with rosewood fingerboards and beautiful fret work.  

At front and center is the Carp ’n Cod guitar, one of Rhinehart’s two tributes to his First Fish Guitar, made in 1987. At 7 pounds and 25 inches, Carp ’n Cod includes the remaining red wood from the original guitar topped with ash, a maple and mahogany neck, and a rosewood fingerboard. 

Rhinehart’s second tribute to his First Fish Guitar is his website’s name, on which you can read his poems Rhinehart and to whom he dedicates to each of his pieces. In his words, “building guitars conjures poems.”

I encourage you all to visit the exhibit and immerse yourself in Rhinehart’s creations, but for now I will leave you with his poem for Carp ’n Cod: 

“When you first taste the cold points of the fisherman’s wire

Or feel the web of the drift net getting tighter and tighter

The stun of high voltage

Or the chemical jolt

That leaves you frozen and paralyzed

And barely afloat

Think of the nights that flowed into days

Fueled by loud Rock & Roll

In beautiful wave after wave”


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