Art at the Capitol

Posted on Jan 31, 2014 in
April 4, 2014 @ 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Click to view map
Hawai‘i State Capitol
415 South Beretania Street
Honolulu,HI 96813
“Moon” by Otto Piene,located in the Senate Chamber, Hawai‘i State Capitol

“Moon” by Otto Piene,
located in the Senate Chamber, Hawai‘i State Capitol


Now in its sixth year, Art at the Capitol has grown to be a much anticipated spring tradition and a special occasion to view the nearly 500 works from the state’s Art in Public Places Collection that are on display at the State Capitol. Each year the number of participating legislators grows, providing a unique opportunity for members of the public to meet their legislators and legislative staff in a convivial after-hours open house. 2014 includes 20 offices from the Senate and 32 from the House and visitors will get a glimpse of the lively personalities behind the public personas through the art selected by legislators for their offices.

The brainchild of Senator Brian Taniguchi, Art at the Capitol began with a conversation with longtime State Foundation supporter and volunteer Allen Emura who remarked on the need for greater access to and knowledge of all the artwork installed at the Capitol building. Senator Taniguchi underscores the cultural opportunity, saying “Art at the Capitol is now a passion for me. I am hoping that it will lead to a greater appreciation of public art, of the artists and for the role that the State Foundation plays in our community.”

This year Art at the Capitol features the art of Otto Piene, the artist of the Sun and Moonlight sculptures hanging in the Senate and House Chambers respectively. The moon was crafted of 630 chambered nautilus shells and the gold­plated sun features 132 smaller spheres. The chandeliers were first installed in 1971 with a subtle color-changing sequence designed to enhance their aesthetic effect; the wiring an programming was updated in 2006 to revive the light show for a new generation of the public. Piene is considered a pioneer in technology-based multimedia art and served as the director of the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies for two decades.

Art at the Capitol begins on the First Friday of April at 4:30 p.m with a short program. Participating offices open from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. for a self-guided tour, including the Governor’s office, the Lieutenant Governor’s office, and the Public Access Room.

Participating members from the Hawai‘i State House of Representatives are Representative Awana, Belatti, Brower, Cachola, Choy, Cullen, Hashem, Ichiyama, Ing, Ito, Johanson, Jordan, Kawakami, Kobayashi, Lee, Lowen, Matsumoto, McDermott, McKelvey, Mizuno, Nakahima, Ohno, Onishi, Oshiro, Rhoads, Say, Takai, Takayama, Takumi, Tokioka, Ward, and Woodson.

Participating members from the Hawai‘i State Senate are Senators Baker, Chun Oakland, English, Espero, Gabbard, Galuteria, Green, Ige, Ihara, Jr., Kahele, Kidani, Kim, Kouchi, Nichihara, Ruderman, Shimabukukro, Taniguchi, Thielen, and Tokuda.

Representatives Isaac Choy, Della Au Bellati and Mark Nakashima are also coordinating the event on the House side.

Works of art are placed in public areas of the State Capitol as part of the State Foundation’s Art in Public Places program, which seeks to enhance the environmental quality of state public buildings and spaces for the enjoyment and enrichment of the public, cultivate the public’s awareness, understanding and appreciation of visual arts; contribute toward the development and recognition of professional artistic community; and acquire, preserve, and display works of art expressive of the character of the Hawaiian Islands, the multicultural heritage of its people, and the various creative interests of its artists.

The program was established in 1967, and was the first of its kind in the nation.