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Team of Artists to Paint Murals Throughout Wailuku and Central Maui

January 27, 2019, 12:58 PM HST · Updated January 27, 12:58 PM
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A team of world-renown artists from Hawaiʻi and around the globe will paint up to 10 murals in Wailuku and Central Maui.

The murals are part of a public art program through PangeaSeed Foundation, an international nonprofit that has created 300 murals in 14 countries with a roster of more than 250 professional artists. The Maui Redevelopment Agency, the Office of Economic Development, Pacific Whale Foundation, and other organizations are funding the project.

Maui-born artist Matt Agcolicol is coordinating the mural project, which involves about 20 artists primarily from Hawaiʻi. The Maui artists participating in the project include Noble Richardson, Amanda Joy Bowers, Kirk Kurokawa, and Elmer Bio Jr.

“Wailuku is a place imbued with rich history,” PangeaSeen Foundation founder Tré Packard said. “With Maui being home to such a unique marine environment deserving of protection, we look forward to enriching Wailuku’s urban landscape by further beautifying the town and creating a real sense of pride and community ownership.”

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The PangeaSeed Foundation travels the world to create public murals through the “Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans” program as an effort to promote the long-term sustainability of natural resources. The County of Maui sought out the foundation for its new Small Town, Big Art program, which aims to revitalize the Wailuku neighborhood through the arts. The program is set to launch later this year.

“We were lucky to cross paths with Matt and the Sea Walls team during the research phase of our new Wailuku Town pilot public art program, Small Town, Big Art,” project coordinator Kelly McHugh said. “In welcoming their artists to Maui, we encouraged them to work with Wailuku communities to focus their stories on our local issues.”

The mural project will give local artists the opportunity to learn from internationally acclaimed painters, while providing their own teachings gained in Hawaiʻi. According to the county, Maui artists have supported the collaboration and look forward to creating murals for Wailuku and Central Maui.

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Born and raised in Wailuku, artist Noble Richardson said one of the murals will be painted on a wall that opens up to the small town of happy valley. Richardson fondly describes the valley as unlike any other in the world because of its river that flows through the center of the town.

“It is unique to me because it is where all my early imprinted memories originate from,” Richardson said. “This valley is where my artistic interests were born, it is where lifetime family members were made, and it is still the place I come to when my mind needs clarity. It is unique to me, because this is where my sister and I took root, and this is where our children’s roots are taking its place.”

OED Director Kay Fukumoto said her office chose to fund the program to explore the ways artists can collaborate with their community to promote awareness around environmental protection.

“From Mauna Kahalawai, to Main Street to Rivermouth, our actions impact the native ecosystems and watersheds,” Fukumoto said.

Erin Wade, Maui Redevelopment Program planner and director of Small Town, Big Art, praised PangeaSeed’s outstanding work through its public art program, which spreads messages of conservation in streets around the globe.

“Our goal is to learn from their very seasoned team of artists and collaborators and incorporate any challenges and successes into the forthcoming implementation of Small Town, Big Art,” Wade said.

The artists will be hosting community activities beginning next month, including opening and closing events, youth engagement opportunities, a beach cleanup, ocean cruise, planting, and more.

A call-for-artists for the Small Town, Big Art pilot program will be sent out online this month. The first round of artists will be selected in February. The selected artist(s) will be commissioned to present an innovative work of public art that aligns with an ‘ōlelo no’eau, or Hawaiian proverb, that the Hale Hōʻikeʻike at the Bailey House/Maui Historical Society assigns them. The artist is also required to address Wailuku townʻs distinct sense of place, history, and/or culture in the piece.  

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