Fret Haus 2021 Exhibition Opens in Mobile

The Alabama Contemporary Art Center in Mobile is the current host of Fret Haus 2021, an exhibition of student design work centering on guitars and related accessories. The museum hosted an opening night celebration on April 24 that featured a musical performance by School of Industrial and Graphic Design (SIGD) Professor of Practice Keith Medley as well as instrument demonstrations by the student designers.

Fret Haus, a guitar design studio and senior thesis program, is a collaboration between SIGD faculty members Medley, Rich Britnell and Randy Bartlett. Britnell originally developed the idea for Fret Haus because so many of his students were interested in guitars and music. This innovative curriculum has led to a fruitful partnership with industry professional Medley, who is Master Luthier and Product Development Manager for Gibson Guitars.

The current Fret Haus exhibition includes nine guitars designed by students in 2019 and 17 guitars from this year’s studio, as well as a guitar and CAD models and renderings from last year’s show that was cancelled due to COVID-19. It also features three unique guitar mounting devices created and built by Bartlett’s third year design studio students. Bartlett’s students collaborated with Britnell’s fourth year students throughout Spring 2021 to determine the mounting concepts suitable for displaying the custom designed and fabricated guitars. “We’re already making plans for 2022 and it should be our largest show yet,” stated Britnell. The exhibition will remain on display to the public at the Alabama Contemporary Art Center until May 29.

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