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Small Town Big Art seeks public art proposals

A mural by artist Eric Okdeh is shown shortly after it debuted in Wailuku town in November 2020. The town’s Small Town Big Art program is seeking more proposals for public art installations. — SEAN HOWER photo

Wailuku town’s Small Town Big Art program is seeking proposals for public art installations.

Developed through a 2018-2020 Our Town grant by the National Endowment for the Arts, the collaboration between Maui County and Hale Ho’ike’ike at the Bailey House Museum/Maui Historical Society aims to develop a public arts district focused on the distinctive sense of place, history and culture of Wailuku. Selected artists will be commissioned to develop an innovative project that engages a diverse public audience. All professional artists and arts groups are welcome to apply, according to a news release Tuesday.

Applicants may choose from two separate categories:

• Public art inspired by Wailuku Storytellers, in which applicants select from a menu of three-minute audio recording excerpts and describe how they will bring it to life as an animated short, spoken word or musical performance, dance, work of short theater or other artistic medium. Up to six artists will be selected to participate in this project, which was inspired by the StoryCorps DIY Fundamentals Course.

• The Wailuku Wings Project, in which applicants describe how they will sculpt a largescale set of standalone wings to inspire potential, inclusion, inspiration and discovery, while also remaining rooted in a Wailuku sense of place. One artist will be selected to participate in this project.

To date, 18 public art projects have been led by 46 professional artists yielding 37 unique pieces throughout Wailuku town. Each project is connected to ‘olelo from Mary Kawena Pukui’s “ ’Olelo No’eau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Political Sayings,” in connection with Hale Ho’ike’ike at the Bailey House/Maui Historical Society.

For more information about the program’s process, application criteria, budget and more, visit smalltownbig.org/rfp. Applications close at 8:59 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time on Nov. 21.

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