The Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island has Something for EveryoneOctober 01, 2015
Nestled harmoniously among camelia bushes, the 4,000-pound, rose-colored marble “Waves ” beckons passerbys to sit and take in their surroundings. Close by, rising abruptly from an expansive open field, stands the bold, 24-foot tall, welded steel abstract “THEB. ” And overlooking an open field, a nine-foot bust entitled “Brickhead Orisha, ” made of multi-colored earth-tone ceramic bricks, projects pride and confidence. These are just three of the 19 large-scale sculptures visitors to the Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island will experience as they stroll the grounds of Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn on Hilton Head Island during October, November and December.
For the third time in six years, the Public Art Fund, a fund of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, will host its biennial Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island. Nineteen larger-than-life artworks, created by artists from around the country, will grace the trails and gardens of the Island ’s enchanting outdoor nature museum from October 1 – December 31, 2015.
But hosting the free public exhibition isn ’t the sole purpose of The Public Art Fund. The Fund ’s main objective is to serve as a conservator, of sorts, to the Town of Hilton Head Island by offering residents and visitors exposure to public art, while building the Town ’s public art collection.
Interestingly, the exhibition itself was a brilliant afterthought. “When the Public Art Fund was initially established, our intent was simply to commission large-scale sculptures to donate to the Town, ” says
Beth Mayo, chair of the Public Art Fund committee. “The exhibition was an exciting outgrowth of those efforts. ”
Ironically, the first – and only – piece commissioned is the well-known “Charles E. Fraser Walking the Gator, ” located in Hilton Head ’s Compass Rose Park. The bronze statue was created by Savannah artist
Susie Chisolm and Arlington, Tex.-based Darrell Davis. It was donated to the Town in 2010.
By 2011, upon seeing the excitement created by their initial art commissioning efforts, the committee wanted to more thoroughly engage the community while offering a culturally-rich activity to both residents and visitors. “We were so encouraged by the excitement of the Charles Fraser statue that we looked for a way to expand on our efforts and get the community more involved, ” Mayo says. The Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island was born.
In the exhibition ’s first year “Family, ” by North Carolina artist Jonathan Bowling, was the Purchase Prize Winner. This graceful yet rustic family of horses, constructed of farm implements, can be found in the Island ’s Chaplin Linear Park.
The Public Art Committee secured three sculptures during the 2013 exhibition. Purchase Prize Winner “Carocol ”, by New York-based artist John Clement, was recently installed in Shelter Cove Community Park. The exhibition also generated two pieces donated by participating artists: “Sail Around, ” by Wayne Trapp, sits at the corner of Highway 278 and Arrow Road. “Sandy Roads, ” by Hilton Head Island artist Mark Larkin, will be installed at a later date.
This year ’s exhibition will be the committee ’s third. And with each new exhibition, the group becomes more sophisticated in their selection of pieces. Curatorial consultants from Savannah College of Art and Design help the volunteer committee select the pieces from the hundreds submitted, suggest the most impressive installation placement and develop the guided-by-cell audio that visitors to Coastal Discovery Museum can access to learn more about each piece.
Community involvement has grown, as well. Paper and on-line ballots are available so visitors can vote for the top three “best in show ” pieces, which brings with it a cash prize to the selected artists. Additionally, the committee coordinates with schools, other nonprofit art groups and neighborhood conservancies to offer educational opportunities to both children and adults. In addition to visiting local schools, some artists engage students in the actual installation of their pieces. In the past that has included high school students helping New York artist Megan Mosholder weave her glow-in-the-dark twine installation. This year, artist Jeff Boshart from Charleston, Ill. will utilize the talent and energy of local high school students to construct his industrial steel piece on site.
While all of these activities are fun and educational, the ultimate goal of the Public Art Fund is to provide the Town of Hilton Head Island with public art that spurs conversation, ignites imagination and adds to the beauty of the already beautiful island. “Public art serves many purposes, ” Mayo says. “It can revitalize geographic areas, increase our sense of community pride, create community identity and attract both residents and visitors. The Town of Hilton Head Island has enlisted the expertise of our committee to help them achieve these. ”
If you go:
- The Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island runs from October 1 – December 31, 2015.
- Nineteen large-scale pieces, created by artists from around the country, are displayed along the nearly mile-long trail that runs through Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn on Hilton Head Island. (70 Honey Horn Drive, Hilton Head Island, SC)
- Hours of the exhibition coincide with Coastal Discovery Museum hours.
- Admission is free.
- Docent-led tours are available on Fridays at 11 a.m. Cost for adults is $10; $5 for children. Register for tours here or call the museum at 843.689.6767.
- Through October you can cast your vote for the “People ’s Choice Award ” either at the exhibition or online.
- For more information, visit our Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island website or contact Jean Heyduck, Vice President for Marketing and Communications, Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, at 843.681.9100.
Thanks to our sponsors:
Purchase Prize Sponsors: Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial, Coligny Plaza
People ’s Choice Award Sponsor: Alston + Bird
Platinum Level: Beaufort County, Town of Hilton Head Island
Bronze Level: Bayshore Retirement Living, The Cypress of Hilton Head Island, Don & Lisa Drakeman, Lee & Parker Architects, Gerald & Beth Mayo, Plaza at Shelter Cove, John & Beth Weymouth
Friends of the Public Art Fund: Ernst & Christina Bruderer, Heather Rath Consulting, Dudley & Rita King, Robert & Joyce Patterson
In Kind Sponsors: Coastal Discovery Museum, Frey Media, Island School Council for the Arts, Monty Jett, Sonesta Resorts, Sea Pines Resort, SERG Restaurant Group, The Greenery, Whole Foods, World Design Marketing