Art at the Capitol Debuts Friday

Untitled by Yvonne Cheng

Untitled by Yvonne ChengThe Hawaii State Legislature will open its doors for April’s First Friday event with the 3rd Annual “Art at the Capitol,” an opportunity for the public to view over 460 works of art that are a part of the State’s Art in Public Places Collection (APP), meet legislators and talk with local visual artists.

The event will be held on Friday, April 1, 2011 from 5 to 7 p.m., with a short program on the third floor to start at 4:45 p.m.

A video series, called “Art at the Capitol 2011: What’s on your wall?”, recently launched on the Art at the Capitol YouTube and Facebook accounts and will preview some of the pieces of art in the offices of lawmakers. Two new videos featuring a representative and senator talking about an artwork from their office will be posted daily until the day of the event.

The YouTube link is, and the Facebook page can be found by searching “Art at the Capitol” in the Facebook search bar.

While election season marks change in the political arena, so holds true for the art work displayed in the Capitol offices. The APP staff has been meeting since December with elected officials and personnel to rotate and select art for the various offices. About 50 new pieces have been added to the Capitol collection.

This year’s theme is “State of the Art” and will feature renowned local artist Doug Young, who designed the Kapolei Court Complex’s five multistory art glass windows inspired by area ocean wave patterns. The theme is a play on the “State of the State” and a nod to the State Foundation of Culture and the Arts’ (SFCA) success in bringing art, culture and history to our visual surroundings and establishing programs that highlight local artists.

“Looking back at the Kapolei art glass project,” said Young, “with all the meetings with the other competing artists, fabricators, DAGS, the architects, the Judicial Art committee, Chief Justice Moon, the contractors, and installers, I’m still humbled at the many years and experience of the SFCA to make such a project happen.”

Young praised Ronald Yamakawa, Executive Director of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, and Jon Johnson, of “Art in Public Places”, for being integral in clearing the way for an artist to freely interact with the specific site committees and truly creating a concerted effort by all.

During the event, guests will enjoy entertainment featuring live chamber music by quartets from Punahou and Moanalua High School, take free guided historical tours of the Capitol, and mingle with artists and lawmakers. Some of the artists in attendance will be Tom and Yoko Haar, Amos Kotomori, Aaron Padilla, and Doug Young.

“Each year this event keeps getting bigger and better,” said Senator Brian Taniguchi, who has led efforts to open the Capitol on First Friday. “We are lucky to be able to display these amazing works of art in our offices, and we wanted to make it more convenient for people to come in and see them all at once, to get the full impact of the collection.”

This marks the third year the State Capitol has participated in a First Friday event. This year, 44 offices in both the House and the Senate will participate.

“Last year’s event was a smashing success with over 400 visitors in attendance,” said Yamakawa. “We thank all of the participants from the House and Senate for opening their doors in support of our strategic priority to increase public access to the arts.”

“One of the great things about our state is SFCA and the ‘Art in Public Places’ program,” added Rep. Isaac Choy, who coordinates efforts on the House side to bring Art at the Capitol alive each year. “It’s the people’s art, culture, and history, and having these visual pieces — like the works of art at the Capitol and the designs Doug Young creates for our state buildings — really enhances our environment and brings greater appreciation for the islands.”

Works of art are placed in public areas of the State Capitol as part of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts’ “Art in Public Places” program, which seeks to enhance the environmental quality of state public buildings and spaces for the enjoyment and enrichment of the public; cultivate the public’s awareness, understanding and appreciation of visual arts; contribute toward the development and recognition of a professional artistic community; and acquire, preserve, and display works of art expressive of the character of the Hawaiian Islands, the multicultural heritage of its people, and the various creative interests of its artists. The program was established in 1967, and was the first program of its kind in the nation.

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