Photo: detail of “Ola I Ka Wai (Water is Life)” at Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School, sculpture by Stuart Nakamura, Art in Public Places Collection of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. A dedication ceremony for this artwork was held on May 24, 2023, celebrating the completion of Nakamura’s SFCA Art in Public Places-Artist in Residence project at this Hawai’i Island school campus. SFCA Art in Public Places-Artist in Residence (APP-AIR) projects are designed to implement an integrated visual arts in education program while providing commissioned works of art in public schools.
About the sculpture
Ola I Ka Wai is a stainless-steel sculpture that celebrates the observational scientific methods practiced by Native Hawaiians and their application into other academic fields such as mathematics, chemistry, and astronomy. The work is installed in between the Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School campus garden and recently constructed z-building to represent the connection between the school’s commitment to mālama ʻāina, agricultural curriculum, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programming.
“Well aware of the precious commodity of water, early Hawaiians practiced observational science to conserve and maintain this source of life in their farming, fishing, and land-developmental practices. Proper stewardship of water meant survival.” – Stuart Nakamura
About the Art Advisory Committee
The Art Advisory Committee of Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School staff, student representative, and Visual Arts Consultant selected the artist and made recommendations. Committee members:
- Janice English, Chairperson
- Pat Rice
- Patti Cook
- Mollie Hustace
- Margo Ray
- Sherm Warner
- Catherine Shafer
- Katie Arrayan
- Jaena-Ann Kaiue
- Mai Maludrik
SFCA Art in Public Places Project Managers Kamakani Konia and Alexandra Skees worked with the committee.
About the Artist
Stuart Nakamura was born on Oʻahu and raised in Kalihi and Kāneʻohe. After graduating from ʻIolani School, he received a BFA from the California College of the Arts. Nakamura currently resides in Washington state.
About the Art in Public Places Artists in Residence Program (APP-AIR)
The Art in Public Places – Artists in Residence Program (APP-AIR) is a collaborative program between the Department of Education and the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. The program was established in 1996 to implement an integrated visual arts in education program while providing commissioned works of art in public schools. The school APP-AIR project committee is guided by the SFCA through the process of selecting an appropriate site and style of artwork for their school campus. Artists appropriate to the project are recommended from the SFCA Artistic Teaching Partners Roster. The school works collaboratively with the selected artist on the concept of the artwork for their school. The APP-AIR program includes an educational component designed to include student and teacher participation in the conceptualization, design, construction, and installation of the commissioned work of art at the school. The final work of art reflects and is appropriate to the school’s environment, curriculum, cultural values, and aesthetics.
About the SFCA Art in Public Places Program
The SFCA’s Art in Public Places (APP) Program acquires completed, portable works of art, and commissions artists to create works of art for specific locations. Works of art are displayed in over 640 sites statewide including schools, libraries, hospitals, airports, state office buildings, the State Capitol and at the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum (HiSAM). The APP Program also supports excellent arts education programming in schools during the school day, out-of-school arts education for pre-K students and lifelong learning for adults.
About the SFCA
The Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA) is Hawaiʻi’s state government arts agency. Established in 1965 by the Hawaiʻi State Legislature, through the vision and effort of Hawaiʻi leaders, the creation of a state arts agency made Hawaiʻi eligible to receive federal grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), newly established on September 29, 1965. The SFCA is administratively attached to the Department of Accounting and General Services and funded by the State of Hawaiʻi and the National Endowment for the Arts.
About State Arts Agencies
State arts agencies were created by legislatures and governors to promote the arts and reduce barriers to cultural participation. Every state and U.S. jurisdiction has a designated arts agency, providing grants, services, and leadership that make the arts accessible to everyone. State arts agencies are funded through appropriations from state legislatures. State arts agencies also receive 40% of the federal grant dollars Congress provides to the National Endowment for the Arts.
Learn more about state arts agencies and regional arts agencies nationwide on the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies website: NASAA-Arts.org/state-arts-agencies.