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State Legislature Boosts Art In Public Places

April 15, 2014, 9:58 AM HST
* Updated September 8, 6:49 PM
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“Art at the Capitol” has opened in Honolulu with Big Island artists featured among the works on display in state lawmakers’ offices.

The state Foundation on Culture and the Arts provides works in its public collection for legislators to display in their offices and reception areas. The displays at the state Capitol, part of the foundation’s Art in Public Places program, opened April 4 with ceremonies for artists amid the theme, “Illuminating the Legislative Process.”

"Hot Lips," a painting by Kauai artist Sally French, generates a variety of interpretations (click to enlarge). Courtesy photo.

“Hot Lips,” a painting by Kauai artist Sally French, generates a variety of interpretations. Courtesy photo.

Big Island Rep. Mark Nakashima’s office this year features “Hot Lips,” a painting by Sally French.

“When trying to select art for our office, I first saw this piece and I really like the colors, composition and shapes in it,” said Nakashima, who is co-coordinator of the Art at the Capitol program. “I’ve found over time that people who looked at it saw many different things,” said Nakashima (Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo).

“I saw a comet flying through space. Others saw a dolphin or a bird. And I think that is what’s so neat about it all,” he said. “Great art allows you to see so many things within it; allows you to approach it on many different levels and from many different perspectives.”

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Rep. Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau) has three pieces from Big Island artist Hiroki Morinoue, who lives in Holualoa and is Lowen’s constituent.

"Lysiane Serving Tea" by Holualoa artist Hiroki Morinoue is one of several pieces in the office of Kailua-Kona Rep. Nicole Lowen. Courtesy photo.

“Lysiane Serving Tea” by Holualoa artist Hiroki Morinoue is one of several pieces in the office of Kailua-Kona Rep. Nicole Lowen. Courtesy photo.

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“I felt it was important to feature art from those in our community and I was very excited to see several pieces by Hiroki Morinoue available in the collection,” Lowen said. “I have long been a fan of his work and as a resident of Holualoa and a constituent of mine, I am proud to have his art on display in my office.”

Each of the Big Island’s state senators, and Reps. Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau), Nakashima and Richard Onishi (Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano), are taking part in “Art At The Capitol.”

At least one notable lawmaker was absent from this year’s program.

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Puna Rep. Hanohano is not participating. Last year Hanohano apologized to Foundation employees who were installing an AATP exhibit in her office for offending them with harsh criticism of the works being installed and describing the artists with racial slurs. Hanohano said she was upset about the lack of works by Hawaiian artists in the Foundation’s collection from which to choose for the display.

"Volcano House Fireplace" by photographer Paul Buklarewicz of Volcano is in the office of Sen. Russel Ruderman.

“Volcano House Fireplace” by photographer Paul Buklarewicz of Volcano is in the office of Sen. Russell Ruderman. Courtesy photo.

Reps. Clifton Tsuji (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa), Richard Creagan (Naalehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona) and Cindy Evans (North Kona, Kohala) also are not participating in this year’s program.

This year 49 of 76 legislative offices were involved, and the program now includes the office of the governor, lieutenant governor and the Public Access Room. A legislative spokesman said that is the most participation since the program began in 2008.

More examples of the Art in Public Places collection can be found here.

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