Whether you are an art enthusiast, a nature lover, or you are simply curious to see large sculptures creatively placed throughout a stunning, natural Lowcountry setting, the 2018 Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island offers everyone a chance to get outside, enjoy nature and absorb the beauty of art.
The biennial exhibition, hosted by the Public Art Fund of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, features 20 large-scale sculptures created by artists from around the country. The pieces – some as tall as 20 feet – have been installed among marshes, camellia gardens and in open fields throughout Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn. This year, for something new, one of the 20 pieces will be installed at the Hilton Head Airport. The exhibition runs through January 31, 2019.
Artists in this year’s exhibition hail from as far away as Montana and as close as Hilton Head Island. Casey Schachner, from Lolo, Mont., traveled the farthest but, ironically, may have the most intimate history with the Lowcountry: She grew up on Hilton Head Island and attended public schools here. Two local artists, Kevin Eichner along with Mark Larkin – whose piece “Sandy Roads” was included in the 2013 Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island and was permanently installed at Coligny Beach Park in April – will also have pieces in the show. The remaining 17 artists will arrive from Texas, Colorado, Illinois and various states up and down the East Coast.
The Public Art Fund was established in 2006 to serve as a procurer of public art. In 2011 the Public Art Fund hosted the first exhibition, which has been held every other year except 2017, when Hurricane Matthew caused a one-year postponement.
One piece from each exhibition is selected by a jury of local artists, community leaders and a curatorial consultant. That piece is then purchased by the fund and donated to the town for their growing collection. To date, the island’s permanent collection totals 10 pieces with installations stretching from Coligny Beach Park to Highway 278 by Carolyn’s Nursery on Hilton Head Island.
Michael Marks, chair of the Public Art Fund Advisory Committee, says that the exhibition is about more than just adding to a collection. “Public art is called public art because it’s part of the fabric of our community,” he says. “We hope people will come out and experience the exhibition while it’s at Honey Horn. But we also want people to enjoy all the pieces that have been permanently installed around the island.”
Marks says there are ways, other than simply attending the exhibition, that the community can get involved with public art. One way is to vote for their favorite piece as part of the “People’s Choice Awards.” Voting can be done online, through the Community Foundation’s Facebook page or with paper ballots that can be picked up at the Discovery House at Coastal Discovery Museum. The artists for top three vote-getting sculptures receive a cash award.
Through December 31, exhibition visitors can enter a Facebook contest in which the winner will select a local arts organization to receive a grant of $5,000 from Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. Simply take a photo of yourself with your favorite exhibition piece and post it to the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry Facebook page. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ArtForAll. One photo will be randomly selected as the winner.
The exhibition is free to the public and open during regular museum hours. Visitors can download the Otocast app to their mobile device, see a map of the exhibition and listen to recordings of the artists sharing their inspiration while they discuss their individual pieces. For those wanting a deeper dive, docent-led tours are available for the length of the exhibition for a small fee on Fridays at 1 p.m.
For a sneak peek at this year’s exhibition, click here.
IF YOU GO
- The 2018 Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island runs from October 1, 2018 – January 31, 2019.
- 19 large-scale sculptures have been installed at Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn (70 Honey Horn Drive); one sculpture will be installed at Hilton Head Regional Airport (120 Beach City Road).
- Hours of the exhibition coincide with the hours at Coastal Discovery Museum and Hilton Head Regional Airport.
- Admission is free.
- Docent-led tours are available at the Coastal Discovery Museum on Fridays, starting at 1 p.m. Cost for adults is $10; children ages 5 – 12 is $5. Call ahead to schedule.
- Through December 31, voting for “People’s Choice Award” can be done on paper at the exhibition, online at http://hhipublicart.org or by going to Community Foundation of the Lowcountry’s Facebook page.
- You can download the Otocast app to see a map and hear each artist talk about their sculpture.
For more information, please visit the Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island’s website at http://hhipublicart.org or contact Jean Heyduck at Community Foundation of the Lowcountry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 843.681.9100.