Kauaʻi Community College held joint blessings of its new Lanai and the state-commissioned cast bronze ”Holomua” on Oct. 29 with more than 150 faculty, staff, students, guests and state and county officials, including Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.
“Holomua and the Lanai collectively provide an inviting entrance to the College and place to stop and reflect, relax and learn,” KCC Chancellor Helen Cox said. “The college is extremely grateful to have been selected to receive a state-commissioned work of art and for the generous support of donors, designers, and builders who helped make the Lanai a reality.”
The event was sponsored by former Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and KCC.
Kahu Nani Hill of the Hawaiian Congregational Church in Hanapepe delivered the blessings. KCC Hula Club and Hawaiian Studies students provided a chant and hula. Mark Rossi serenaded the audience with Hawaiian music.
KCC’s Jazz Ensemble, led by conductor instructor David Braun, performed a lively collection of American jazz, and the program’s emcee was KCC student Katherine Guerrero.
“Holomua” represents student progress and improvement, according to Kazu Fukuda Kauʻinana, the artist commissioned for the project.
Eleven feet tall, poised on a hemisphere representing the world that awaits them, stands a strong figure with one foot stepping forward, torso bent forward, and arms together in a bowing “haʻina” gesture of respect and gratitude.
“Every public art commission is a huge personal, education, and professional growth experience for me,” Kauʻinana said. ”I am very honored and grateful to have had the opportunity to create this special piece.”
He earned a bachelor of fine arts from UH Mānoa and a masters of fine arts from the University of Colorado Boulder. A world traveler, he now makes his home in the islands after spending more than 15 years in New York City.
Kauʻinana did extensive background research for his design. At KCC, he attended school events, talked with many students and full range of staff, and even storeowners in the neighborhood.
Richard Randolph, faculty member, provided a “thoughtful and honest snapshot of the student population and goals that the school hoped to achieve,” Kauʻinana said.
“It is my hope that the sculpture may inspire students to be excited about their future and move forward in their lives,” he said.
“Teaching and learning are life-long endeavors,” said Jonathan Johnson, executive director of SFCA. He added that KCC is at the center of creative thought on this island.
“We are so happy with the sculpture and believe it will be thought-provoking for both the students and the public,” he said.
“We feel very fortunate that we were able to commission such an incredible artist who could create a meaningful work of art for this community,” said Joel Guy, Kauaʻi’s representative on the SFCA Board of Commissioners. “We are very pleased with the way he worked with everyone involved on this project.”
The new KCC Lanai, a central gathering place for students, faculty, and staff was strategically placed in the “center” of campus along a major thoroughfare used by students and faculty on their way to classes and staff to their offices, near the Learning Resource Center where students study, and adjacent to the One Stop Center where Student Services is housed.
It was designed with the help of Craig Duff, Landscape Architect of Kauaʻi Nursery and Landscaping. Native Hawaiian plants will soon grace the area, which were planted by students.
SFCA was established in 1965 by the Hawaiʻi State Legislature as the official arts agency of the State of Hawaiʻi. The setting aside of one percent of construction appropriations to provide a funding base for the acquisition of works of art established a national standard as Hawaiʻi became the first state in the nation to pass such legislation.
SFCA’s Art in Public Places program acquires completed works of art and commissions artists to create works of art for specific locations across the state. The objectives of the program include the enhancement of the environmental quality of public buildings and spaces for the enjoyment and enrichment of the public; cultivation of the public’s awareness of visual arts; recognition of the professional artistic community; and the preservation and display of art expressive of the Hawaiian Islands and its multicultural heritages of its people, and creative interests of its artists.
The commissioned Holumua project cost was $190,000. The new KCC Lanai cost was $90,000.