Sculpture by local artist now greets visitors to University of Hawaii West Oahu

March 27, 2024

(KAPOLEI, HI, March 26, 2024) – The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA) fulfilled its latest Art in Public Places program installation with a dedication ceremony Monday at the University of Hawaiʻi West Oʻahu campus. The work of art is entitled, Nā Kiaʻi O Kapolei (The guardians of Kapolei) by artist Jessica Kay Bodner

“These Kia’i are a landmark for the campus community. They may be interactive or stand as guardians and even serve as a staging area for performing arts and music,” said Bodner. “My hope is that these Kiaʻi inspire the community and motivate students to reach for new heights.”

Bodner was selected by an Art Advisory Committee and members of the local community to create a piece for the campus. Her featured artwork consists of six pieces ranging 11 to15 feet tall. The sculptures are made of woven stainless steel and painted in a red, bronze color to reflect the volcanic red dirt characteristic of the region.

As a practicing professional artist for over 30 years, Bodner focuses on sculpture, light art, and public art. Her work has been commissioned across the country and abroad for public, commercial and private spaces including hospitals, libraries, airports, public parks, hotels, places of worship and educational institutions. 

“We are very fortunate to commission an artist who could create such meaningful work of art for this space,” SFCA Executive Director Karen Ewald. “The State Foundation is honored to fulfill projects such as these as we work to beautify our public spaces and celebrate the cultures that make Hawaiʻi so special,”

The 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 Capitol Modern (the Hawaiʻi State Art Museum).  The APP 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 Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (SFCA) is Hawaiʻi’s state government arts agency. Established in 1965 by the Hawai‘i State Legislature, through the vision and effort of Hawai‘i leaders  including architect and State Planning Coordinator  Alfred Pries, SFCA Founding Chairperson Masaru  “Pundy” Yokouchi, State Senator Nadao Yoshinaga, and Governor John Burns. The creation of a state  arts agency made Hawai‘i eligible to receive federal grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, newly established on September 29, 1965. The SFCA is administratively attached to the Hawaiʻi Department of Accounting and General Services.

Media Contact

Donalyn Dela Cruz
Telephone: (808) 216-4747
Email: [email protected]

Media Coverage

  • KHON-2 News, ʻGuardians of Kapoleiʻ sculpture displayed at UH West Oahu, March 26, 2024. “On Monday, the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts dedicated the installation of Na Kiai O Kapolei, or the Guardians of Kapolei, by artist Jessica Kay Bodner.” Read the full article by Emily Cervantes on the KHON2 website:
  • Hawaiʻi Public Radio, Sculpture at UH West Oʻahu stands tall as a ‘landmark for the campus community’, March 29, 2024 “The installed artwork is part of a State Foundation on Culture and the Arts program that places art in public places statewide, including schools, hospitals, airports and state office buildings.” Read or listen to the full piece by Cassie Ordonio on the HPR website:
  • University of Hawaiʻi News, New ‘Guardians’ welcome all to UH West Oʻahu, April 2, 2024. “I think it’s a beautiful representation of our future,” UH West Oʻahu student Haliʻaaloha Maʻele-Ramos said. “Nā Kiaʻi will protect all those that come to educate themselves and will bestow on them the mana (energy/power) that is needed to persevere and become a force of change within the world.” The sculpture by artist Jessica Kay Bodner is the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts’ (SFCA) latest Art in Public Places Program installation.” Read the full piece by Zenaida Serrano Arvman and view photos from the dedication ceremony on the UH website:

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