Virtual “Art at the Capitol” Returns, April 14-16
The State Capitol is presenting a virtual “Art at the Capitol” event for 2021 – as the building remains closed due to coronavirus restrictions – for three consecutive days. The virtual exhibit began on April 14 and continues to April 16.
The virtual event features short videos of state senators and representatives discussing artwork in their offices. In addition, artwork and art education information will be projected onto the construction walls facing Punchbowl and Beretania streets of the State Capitol from dusk to 10 p.m. for the duration of the event.
The short videos are posted on the State Capitol’s YouTube and Facebook social media pages with 43 State Senators and Representatives discussing the artworks in their offices selected from the “Art in Public Places” collection and talking about the role of public art during a pandemic.
“I am so happy that we have found a way to continue to support the arts and allow the public to view the art collection here at the State Capitol,” said Senator Brian T. Taniguchi (D-11, Mānoa, Makiki, Punchbowl, Papakōlea). “These artworks are owned by the public and we want everyone to have a chance to see them. With all these important pieces by local artists in this building I compare it to a great museum or art gallery.”
Senator Taniguchi, Chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Culture and the Arts, helped found the event which for more than a decade has drawn art lovers to the historic Capitol building to visit with lawmakers, enjoy the art collection, and listen to music on warm spring evenings. Then the pandemic changed the world.
“As Hawaiʻi faces the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize the culture and arts field is particularly vulnerable to the economic impact of the emergency,” said Jonathan Johnson, executive director of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. “We also know it is one of the most innovative sectors and that creativity spurs innovation leading the changes necessary for a healthy thriving economy and society.”
By going virtual this year, neighbor island residents can easily take part in the event along with Oʻahu residents who in the past have had access to the Capitol building. Artists featured at the Capitol include Howard Hitchcock, Satoru Abe, Frances Harr, Tadashi Sato and many others.
“Artists make us think about the world around us,” said Representative Cedric Asuega Gates (D- 44, Waiʻanae, Mākaha, Mākua, Māʻili), Chair of the House Committee on Culture, Arts and International Affairs. “Having these artworks of so many of our talented local artists around us in the State Capitol as we conduct official committee hearing, draft bills and talk on the phone to constituents, reminds us to sometimes think outside the box as we do our jobs.”
The works of art are part of the “Art in Public Places” collection held by the SFCA. The “Art in Public Places” program enhances the environmental quality of state public buildings and spaces for the enjoyment and enrichment of the public; cultivates the public’s awareness, understanding and appreciation of visual arts; contributes toward the development and recognition of a professional artistic community; and acquires, preserves, and displays works of art expressive of the character of the Hawaiian Islands. The program was established in 1967 and was the first program of its kind in the nation.