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by Michele Shackelford, staff writer

The Art in Public Places exhibit premieres March 3. The museum will hold an opening reception from 5-9 p.m. featuring refreshments from Starbucks and Live from the Lawn entertainment with many local artists. The purpose of Art in Public Places, according to the museum Fact Sheet, is to introduce to the community public art, art actually owned by the state, therefore the people of Hawai‘i. A series of galleries will describe the commission process, highlight public art projects, and provide a historical view of public art in the United States.

Public artists featured in this exhibit, according to the Fact Sheet, include Carol Bennett, Sean Browne, Ed Carpenter, and Jean Charlot. The works displayed are meant to speak to the community, enhance the environment, and expand our knowledge of local and public art.

Carol Bennett is a local artist, whose work adorns many familiar places around the island. Anyone who has visited The Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom, the largest ballroom in Hawai‘i, has seen her Dawn and Moonlight murals. Her public murals are in the Honolulu International Airport, and she has work in various hotels from here to Nairobi and Tahiti. Bennett lives today on Kauai, and that island and the ocean are her main inspirations. Her images grace more than 100 public places around the globe.

Sculptor Sean Browne was born in Hilo, Hawai‘i. Growing up in the islands, he received his inspiration from the natural beauty that surrounded him. Venturing out to Italy, according to the Grand Wailea Art Tour, he studied marble carving under Paoli Silverio. While there, he received a Fullbright Fellowship to study stone sculpting in Japan under Isamu Noguchi. He works with metal and stone, and his art is found throughout Hawai‘i, Japan, Italy, and California.

Ed Carpenter is a world-renowned artist specializing in large public installations. Being the grandson of a painter/sculptor, and stepson of an architect, inspired Carpenter and helped develop his love of art. In the 1970s he traveled to England and Germany to study architectural glass art. Innovation in architectural art and pioneering lighting designs, according to belfastcity.gov, are fundamental to his work. Dream Leaves, which stands outside the University of Hawai‘i’s School of Medicine. This is a beautiful sculpture depicting the delicate shape, simplicity, and flowing form or leaves over a pond.
Jean Charlot was born in Paris, where he attended L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts. His early paintings are inspired by local Spanish folk art from the time he spent in St. Mande and Brittany. He moved to Mexico where he worked on large murals in public places, such as the National Preparatory School and the Ministry of Public Education in Mexico City.

In 1949 Charlot came to Hawai‘i, joining the Art Department at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa as professor of painting and art history. He contributed many murals in his time in the islands, three of the most famous of which are: Early Contacts of Hawai‘i with the Outer World, in the Waikiki Branch of the First National Bank; Relations of Man and Nature in Old Hawai‘i, in Bachman Hall. University of Hawai‘i Manoa campus; and Commencement, also in Bachman Hall. Charlot traveled the world, but died here in Hawai‘i in 1979 (tobeycmossgallery.com).

Many other local artists will be featured in the exhibit, which will include a variety of works depicting the island spirit, community, and love. The exhibition is meant to bring the community together and emphasize the community-based process in developing public art projects, according to the museum’s Fact Sheet.

Art in Public Places runs from March 3 to Sept. 2. For more information visit the Web site: www.state.hi.us/sfca.

One of the two murals by Jean Charlot at the University of Hawai'i Manoa's Bachman Hall. Charlot murals can be found at numerous locations around O'ahu. Perhaps the best known is the one on the exterior of the administration building at Leeward Community College.

Photos by Baxter Cepeda


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