Dragons and Vines: Inlaid Guitar Masterpieces at MIM

Fearless innovation and refined tradition share the stage in a new exhibition at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). This special exhibition features intricate inlaid artwork on rare instruments from world-class guitar makers such as C. F. Martin & Co., PRS Guitars, and more!

Dragons and Vines: Inlaid Guitar Masterpieces opens on Saturday, November 5, and features more than thirty collectible instruments—guitars, banjos, and a uniquely historical ukulele—that illustrate the imagination, skill, and unsurpassed attention to detail of North America’s greatest contemporary inlay artists and luthiers.

These inlay artists challenge themselves and encourage each other to create designs that reveal astonishing detail upon close inspection: intricate flowering vines, ferocious dragons, human portraits, and tiny geometric patterns. Gold, iridescent mother-of-pearl, and hardwoods are only some of the materials used. Each instrument shows how the artist’s imagination transforms into playable works of art.

Learn about the inlay process; hear the sounds of these magnificent art pieces; and listen to a community of inspirational individuals who explain the challenges, rewards, and allure of their art. The exhibition comes to life with MIM’s world-class multimedia technology. This experience offers perspectives from major guitar manufacturers, dedicated inlay
artists, professional musicians, and other experts. Dragons and Vines unveils a fascinating glimpse into an art form whose pioneers and masters remain largely unknown.

The exhibition is presented in partnership with the Maryland-based Pearl Works. Founded by visionary luthier and inlay artist Larry Sifel (1948–2006), Pearl Works is a consistent leader in the inlay industry. The core of displayed instruments comes from Sifel’s personal collection. It is the first time these prototype, limited edition, and one-of-a-kind guitars will be viewed by the public. The Musical Instrument Museum is open seven days a week and located at 4725 E. Mayo Blvd. in Phoenix. For more information, visit online at MIM.org.