Shucks. Tonight’s #wailukufirstfriday has been canceled for safety reasons (thanks Hurricane Erick!) Please stay tuned for our pop-up reveal of @andybehrle‘s new media work of public art, “lost & found” ! Be the first to know by joining our email list by joining HERE. #raindelay #playersoffthefield #erickshmerick #itsok #weactuallyreallyneedthisrain #wailukuwai
Andy Behrle creates site-specific and site-responsive installations that reflect upon the cultural, geologic, and social histories of places where he has lived and visited. Since 2015, many of these projects have focused on the use of new media technologies and digital video projection to immerse viewers in worlds shaped by colors of light and textures of water. More recently, Behrle has used digital editing software to stitch together multiple video files to re-imagine stained glass windows of historic places and traditional fabric patterns. For all of these projects, he captures video footage of local water sources both naturally occurring and created by humanity to investigate global systems through regional water use issues.
Having recently relocated to Maui from Hawaiʻi Island, Behrle has been dreaming of new digital video installations inspired by the lost and remaining stained glass windows of the Islands’ spiritual centers.
Enter Wailuku’s St. Anthony’s Church, which has been rebuilt 4 times since 1848 - somewhat fitting for its patron saint, the founder of lost articles.
Two months into our search for a discernible image of a stained glass window from the Church before the last rebuild (1980), we released a call-out to the community asking for public submissions that might help the artist with his reimagining. Thanks to the modern magic of social media and Maui Time Weekly, dozens of photos followed, nearly none of which offered a clear outline of the glass shapes, stories or colors. Last week, we were finally able to connect with the St. Anthony’s ʻohana, who spent a great deal of time and effort bringing the Church’s history to light.
Stephen Kealoha and Father Roland are deeply kind individuals well rooted in history and believe that the best ways to live a spiritual life are to share their faith with others, work with the poor, and educate and nourish the mind, the body, and the soul. When asked how the Church is rooted in Wailuku history, Father Roland responds, “the sugar plantation and the church go hand in hand. This is why you see all sorts of churches in Wailuku.”
Stephen and Father Roland were both surprised by the artists’ interest and excited about the idea of collaborating with SMALL TOWN * BIG ART on this creative placemaking project. As described by Inside Philanthropy, “places are not only geographic locations. They are diverse communities whose unique existence depends on both history and culture. The people that live in these neighborhoods know this better than anyone. It is up to placemakers to hear what they have to say.”
A big mahalo to all of the community members that have contributed to this SMALL TOWN * BIG ART installation, and mahalo to Andy Behrle for being so well equipped to hear what they have to say.
We’ll see you at the unveiling on Friday, August 2.
SMALL TOWN * BIG ART is proud to present its first panel-selected work of public art by Maui artist Andy Behrle. This ONE-NIGHT-ONLY exhibition will unveil Behrle's Wailuku-inspired new media work, projected onto Historic Iao Theater from Kipuka Square. Join us in Wailuku Town at Wailuku First Friday to meet the artist, ask questions about his 6-month process of re-creating a 1918 stained glass window from St. Anthony Catholic Church: Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii using footage from the Wailuku River, and learn more about the full year of public art installations that SMALL TOWN * BIG ART has curated for Wailuku Town. Friday, August 2 at 6 PM.
SITE + INFO:
68 N Market St, Wailuku, HI 96793
SMALL TOWN * BIG ART is a creative placemaking pilot project with a mission to position Wailuku, Hawai‘i as a public arts district that is focused on its distinctive sense of place, history and culture. Engaging the public in both the process and the product, monthly art experiences are paired with activities such as talk story sessions, artist workshops, public rehearsals, jam sessions and more. Each art presentation is led by professional artists that have exhibited exceptional quality, style, experience in creating communal or public art, significance to Wailuku and alignment with a selected ‘ōlelo no‘eau. Through many hands and many voices, these creative interpretations will represent a revitalized identity for this small town with the BIGGEST heart.
The first High Mass celebrated at St. Anthony Church in Wailuku Town was on July 13, 1848 – then, a thatched structure, which was replaced by wood in 1854 and by stone in 1873. It is said that Father Damien made his commitment to go to Kalaupapa Leprosy Settlement during the 1873 Church blessing, and thus began his remarkable journey to sainthood.
42 years ago, an arsonist destroyed the historic church in an early morning fire. A shock to the entire community, it was once again rebuilt in 1980. Just this year (on Easter Sunday), vandals cut off the hands on the Our Lady of Lourdes statue, cut the Bernadette statue in half and damaged many of the site’s religious items.
A patron saint of the poor and oppressed, often invoked as a finder of "lost articles and missing persons,” Saint Anthony of Padua was born in Lisbon, Portugal on August 15, 1195. This concept of “lost articles and missing persons” has seeped its way into one Maui artist’s journey toward reimagining the stained glass windows of this legendary Wailuku Town site.
“I have been drawn to St. Anthony's for a number of reasons,” states artist Andy Behrle, who joins County of Maui’s Small Town, Big Art creative place-making pilot project this summer, following the February residency of PangeaSeed Foundation. “First, it was a magnificently beautiful building. Having been lost to fire over 40 years ago, it has faded in the collective memory of the community. This was a place where holidays and weddings were celebrated, lives of loved ones were mourned, and a shared hope for the future was cultivated. People connected there. It has been lost in form, but forged together community.”
A recent call-to-the-community for photographs of the historic site preceding the 1977 fire led Behrle to University of Hawaii at Manoa Library’s Dore Minatodani, the Hawaiian Collection’s Senior Librarian. “I think Andy's project is great and I'm glad that funding is available to bring these kinds of projects to the community,” shares Minatodani. The photos shared above were sourced by Wailuku-raised Isabelle White and Mayor Michael Victorino.
A County of Maui creative placemaking grant project funded by the National Endowment of the Arts, Small Town, Big Art is led by Maui Redevelopment Agency planner Erin Wade and public art specialist Kelly McHugh, with guidance and support by Sissy Lake-Farm of the Maui Historical Society. Behrle was selected from more than 50 applicants to present a visual or performing arts story of Wailuku that is geared to bring people together through both the process and the product. Through the support of these government, arts and historical Maui leaders, the project will offer monthly opportunities throughout Wailuku Town to talk story with artists and collaborators, attend free rehearsals and performances, experience mural and installation exhibits and become a integral part of the story of Wailuku Town.
Please join us in this investigation of St. Anthony Church photos, pre-'77, and stories about the place by emailing us HERE. Andy's final work of public art inspired by a reimagining of the Church's stained glass windows through the eyes of the Wailuku River will be revealed in August.
Visit smalltownbig.org to learn more.
Small Town, Big Art is a County of Maui creative placemaking grant project funded by the National Endowment of the Arts to support partnership amongst artists, arts organizations, and municipal government to revitalize historic Wailuku Town. The project is led by Maui Redevelopment Agency planner Erin Wade and public art specialist Kelly McHugh, with guidance and support by Sissy Lake-Farm of the Maui Historical Society.
Consisting of five commissioners appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the County Council, Maui Redevelopment Agency oversees the Wailuku Redevelopment Area, with the specific purpose and intent of the following: 1) preserve Wailuku’s Historic Character; 2) allow for new development that complements and is compatible with Wailuku’s historic character; and 3) improve the streetscape to make Wailuku a pedestrian-friendly environment.
Founded in 1951, Maui Historical Society collects, preserves, studies, interprets, and, shares the history and heritage of Maui, ensuring that the cultural roots and history that define the community will continue to be here for future generations.
Andy Behrle (rhymes with “curly”) is one of the most well-spoken and down to earth artists you'll come across. From Boston to Phoenix to Yakima to Maui, he’s taught and exhibited art + raised his 5-year old son, Leo, wherever his wife - a pediatrician with Kaiser - has been needed most.
When he came across the SMALL TOWN * BIG ART call to artists earlier this year, his wife told him, “they don’t know this yet, but you are exactly who they are looking for.”
Artists were asked to choose a Hawaiian proverb as inspiration for their proposal, specifically related to kalo or water, with evaluation criteria aimed at quality, style, experience in creating communal or public art and significance to Wailuku.
Andy’s artistic subject of choice? Water. “Over the past six years, I have been using digital technologies to capture and re-contextualize the colors and textures of bodies of water around the country. The resulting works have taken various forms- from fully immersive interactions with digital video footage of microcosms inside a twenty-foot diameter geodesic dome projection screen to more intimate compositions inspired by Victorian wallpaper, traditional quilt block patterns, and stained-glass windows. These compositions respond directly to the hosting venue and use the various textures of water to investigate systems and ideas of place and time,” reads his artist statement from a recent project in Tunisia.
“My plan is to re-imagine stained glass windows of an historic Wailuku structure with each piece of glass filled with light from a projector illuminating water” says the artist, “Through these video compositions, a building can become whatever is projected upon it. Imagine the walls of the ghostly structure illuminated by watery versions of the historic stained glass of Wailuku’s churches. I dream of reproducing those of the Gothic 1919 St. Anthony’s Church lost to fire in 1977.”
And here’s where we need your help!
Since being named the first of thirteen SMALL TOWN * BIG ART installations (August 2: save the date!), Andy has sought help from museums, libraries and schools to obtain photographs of St. Anthony Church in Wailuku, PRE-1977. It would mean SO MUCH to him if you could share what you have, or family that he can speak with.
Please share your ideas in the comments section here.
In November 2018, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced that Maui County was awarded one of 60 national Our Town grants to support the 2-year planning and implementation of pilot arts programming in Wailuku Town.
The NEA’s signature creative placemaking program, Our Town projects support partnerships of artists, arts organizations, and municipal government that work to revitalize neighborhoods. This practice places arts at the table with land-use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety strategies to address a community’s challenges. Creative placemaking highlights the distinctiveness of a place, encouraging residents to identify and build upon their local creative assets.
Developed over several years, the County’s project entitled SMALL TOWN * BIG ART is led by Erin Wade, County of Maui planner and administrator of the Wailuku Civic Complex project; Sissy Lake-Farm, Director of Hale Hō'ikeʻike at the Bailey House/ Maui Historical Society; and arts administrator Kelly McHugh.
In its first of 3 project phases, McHugh led the development of a call-to-artists to propose short-term public art projects that promote the unique history, culture and community of Wailuku Town. “I worked with heroes in the field to assess best practices and lessons learned from their extraordinary breath of experience, including Jonathan Johnson, Executive Director of the Hawaiʻi State Foundation on Culture and the Arts; Inger Tully, Senior Philanthropy Officer of Hawai‘i Community Foundation; Thora Jacobson, Design Review Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia; John Hatfield, Executive Director of Socrates Sculpture Park, a public art space in Long Island City, Queens, and others,” remarks McHugh, who began working with Wailuku Town through the 2012 Na Wai Eha mural project for Hui No`eau Visual Arts Center. “Sissy selected examples of `ōlelo no`eau with reference to kalo as a significant Wailuku symbol that artists were asked to choose from as inspiration for their proposed artwork.”
During this time, SMALL TOWN * BIG ART was approached by PangeaSeed Foundation to collaborate on SeaWalls: Artists for Oceans, their principal mural arts program made up of an international consortium of 250 professional artists. “This union offered SMALL TOWN * BIG ART the opportunity to design a proof of concept, welcoming exemplary artists with our project funds and thematic development while learning from organizers that have done this work in 14 countries” says McHugh.
“Our goal was to learn from their very seasoned team of artists and collaborators and incorporate any challenges and successes into the forthcoming implementation of SMALL TOWN * BIG ART,” remarks Wade.
The SMALL TOWN * BIG ART call-to-artists closed in the weeks following PangeaSeed’s consequent Mauka to Makai project which installed a vibrant collection of large-scale murals throughout Wailuku and drew hundreds of volunteers, business owners and students together during both process and presentation.
51 SMALL TOWN * BIG ART proposals were submitted through CaFÉ, a public, online call-for-artists management system run by WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation) and a review panel was created with a careful balance of community, historical, art and grantmaking expertise. 13 projects were selected to move into the second of the project’s 3-phase process, in which artists work directly with the SMALL TOWN * BIG ART team to determine timeline, budget, opportunities for community engagement, project renderings and a Wailuku Town project location.
With its first artist installation expected in August, SMALL TOWN * BIG ART will offer monthly opportunities throughout Wailuku Town to talk story with artists and collaborators, attend free rehearsals and performances, experience mural and installation exhibits and become a integral part of the story of Wailuku Town.
SMALL TOWN * BIG ART is proud to welcome the Sea Walls Maui - Mauka to Makai project as the first large-scale Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans activation in the state of Hawaiʻi.
This week, artists from Hawaiʻi and around the world have gathered in Wailuku to offer a voice to our ocean and freshwater resources by creating large-scale art installations parallel to the Wailuku River. Set for completion by weekend’s end, the project places emphasis on the importance of caring for water from Mauka to Makai (mountain to sea), as well as marine environmental topics relevant to Maui and the islands.
“My piece will be a celebration of the "Na Wai Eha" stream system. Using the textures of the landscape juxtaposed with a composition of Hawaiian patterns, it will reflect traditional concepts of the importance of the life-giving water that leads from the watershed down the ocean,” shares Cory Kamehanaokalā Taum, a Kānaka Maoli mural artist and cultural practitioner, “The idea is to give the viewer the "birds eye view" of the Wailuku valley and river, and the view of the textures of Kaehu bay. I believe in these impact times we must look from this view to realize and understand the effects of our actions and the importance of protecting what precious resources we still have before it is too late.”
SMALL TOWN * BIG ART provided supplies, airfare, artist honoraria, ground operations, meals, paint and videography to the Sea Walls: Mauka to Makai project, with other partners providing accommodations, ground transportation and additional meals, paint and supplies. Partners include Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii (coordination and execution of a coastal cleanup event); Coral Reef Alliance (integration of their work in watershed restoration as a means for coral ecosystem conservation into mural themes); Hui O Wa'a Kaulua (shared insight into sustainable Hawaiian canoe building, wayfinding, and voyaging arts used by traditional Hawaiian Ancestors as part of our immersive artist excursions); H.P. Baldwin High School (youth outreach programming on H.P.B.H.S Campus during after-school hours in addition to an on-site mural being painted as part of the project); Pacific Whale Foundation (artist honoraria plus donation of whale watch excursions for the artists to provide insight into scientific background and findings on humpback whales); and Aloha Missions.
Scroll down for selected process shots & stay tuned for more!
Saturday, January 26, 2019 marks the Maui arrival date for a team of artists that travel the world creating large-scale public murals and installations to promote the importance of long-term sustainability of natural resources.
PangeaSeed Foundation is an international non-profit organization “acting at the intersection of culture and environmentalism to further the conservation of our oceans.” Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans is a public art program of PangeaSeed Foundation that has created 300 murals in 14 countries with a roster of more than 250 professional artists. The upcoming project will be adding Maui artists to the international consortium.
Discussions with PangeaSeed began over the summer as the County of Maui presented its Small Town, Big Art pilot program for grant consideration by the National Endowment for the Arts. Small Town, Big Art aims to position the arts as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization in Wailuku.
PangeaSeed Foundation Founder & Executive Director Tré Packard remarks, "We have hosted Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans projects in 14 countries and are very excited to be hosting our first large-scale Hawaii-based Sea Walls activation on the beautiful island of Maui in partnership with Maui County's Office of Economic Development and Small Town, Big Art program. By taking the oceans into the streets via public art, we aim to inspire communities across the globe to become aware of and proactive about what is happening to our oceans.”
“We were lucky to cross paths with the Sea Walls team during the research phase of our new Wailuku Town pilot public art program, Small Town, Big Art - which launches later this year,” remarks Small Town, Big Art Project Coordinator Kelly McHugh, “In welcoming PangeaSeed artists to Maui, we encouraged them to work with Wailuku communities to focus their stories on issues extending from the ocean to more of a Mauka to Makai connection; recognized and given remarkable reflection through our forthcoming collaboration with Hale Ho'ike'ike at The Bailey House Museum/ Maui Historical Society.”
Kay Fukumoto, Office of Economic Development Director shares, “By sponsoring Sea Walls: Maui, through our Environmental Program, our goal is to examine the ways in which artists and communities can come together to bring awareness about environmental protection. From Mauna Kahalawai, to Main Street to Rivermouth, our actions impact the native ecosystems and watersheds.”
Erin Wade, Maui Redevelopment Program Planner and Director of Small Town, Big Art offered, “PangeaSeed does outstanding work through its public art program, bringing messages of conservation into streets around the globe. Our goal is to learn from their very seasoned team of artists and collaborators and incorporate any challenges and successes into the forthcoming implementation of Small Town, Big Art."
Packard continues, "Wailuku is a place imbued with rich history and with Maui being home to such a unique marine environment deserving of protection, we look forward to enriching Wailuku's urban landscape by further beautifying the town and creating a real sense of pride and community ownership.”
The Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans artists Lauren Brevner, Joey Rose & Alex Underwood, Gregg Kaplan, Kai Kaulukukui, Dulk, Cory Kamehanaokalā, Noble & Elmer, Mary Iverson, Ben Johnston, Wooden Wave, BirdO, Gavin Murai, Getso and Cracked Ink will be on Maui for 10 days (January 26 – February 4) to complete murals at 4 sites within the Wailuku Redevelopment Area as well as several other sites that have been sponsored by local businesses and organizations. Stay tuned for upcoming activities including opening and closing events, youth engagement opportunities, a beach cleanup, ocean cruise, planting and more with the artists.
A Call-to-Artists for the Small Town, Big Art pilot program will be distributed online this month, with its first round of artists selected in February. The selected artist(s) will be commissioned to present an innovative work of public art that aligns with 'Ōlelo No'eau pre-selected by Hale Hō'ikeʻike at the Bailey House/ Maui Historical Society and addresses the Town of Wailuku’s distinctive sense of place, history and/ or culture. Visit smalltownbig.org for details.
Wailuku was once an epicenter of power and population in Hawaiʻi; a culturally diverse locus of commerce where thousands immigrated from Asia, Europe and America to work the plantations. Ancient stories are embedded in its soil and streams; whispers of a history that today's Wailuku is eager to amplify.
With the 1960’s decline of the sugar industry Wailuku became blighted, which led to the 1965 development of the Maui Redevelopment Agency (MRA). As a division of the County of Maui, five board members are appointed by the mayor and approved by the County Council. Designed to eliminate and prevent the reoccurrence of slum and blight conditions, today's MRA is unrolling a $75M "Wailuku Civic Hub," funded by general obligation bond and designed (and redesigned, and redesigned again over the course of 20 years of visioning!) as a massive community collaboration project. What began as a strong demand for additional street parking has now evolved into a PLACE; a focal point for meeting, presenting, sharing, exploring and celebrating Wailuku.
Now that plans are approved and ready to launch as we near our ground-breaking date, the County is determined to engage Wailuku Civic Hub participants (including builders, designers, cultural advisors, business owners, patrons, pedestrians; anyone and everyone interacting with this super-project) in a mutual and continuous dialogue aimed at education, interpretation and understanding. By working together, we hope to tap into the rich, cultural history of Wailuku and to bring its story to light at every step.
On Tuesday, April 10, 2018, a team of Wailuku Civic Hub creators joined Department of Public Works Highway Division, Wailuku District Supervisor Gary Ambrose and his crew of more than 20 employees to offer context for the project, which they will be initiating later this month. With dozens of property and business owners situated in very close proximity to the construction site and hundreds of stakeholders with direct and indirect interest in the project potentially approaching any one of these workers throughout their timeline, the goal is to ensure that each has a clear understanding of the “what, why and how” of this work.
Cultural Sustainability Planner Ramsey Taum began with, “the history of Wailuku is loud and clear, but the culture is also very evident. Wailuku is the water that roars, the destructive water. By integrating this sense of place into the design of the project you are all about to work on, we emphasized both function and form.” His examples included misters to be built at the site, a depiction of the mist to which the name Waiehu refers; a tiered parking garage with levels indicative of a taro patch; and areas of the site dedicated for gathering, like pools of water giving energy to the site.
Archaeologist Eric Fredrickson, who will be overseeing any project digging, and Lawrence Kauhaʻahaʻa, who leads Wailuku Clean & Safe, a program that hires homeless and mental health clients to sweep, clean and maintain the area, offered their introductions to the crew and how each can be of service during the initial phase. “This will not be like many other build sites,” remarked Fredrickson, “this will be slow and intentional. We’ll stop when we need to.”
Erin Wade, small town and redevelopment planner for the County of Maui, suggested “Don’t be here just because you were asked. Know what work you are doing and why you are doing it, and that you are part of the proper archaeological process that this project deserves,” continuing with an overview of the 8-year process that began just as the 2010 plan was about to break ground, (but was ultimately rejected by the community it sought to serve). “Ok, we get it Wailuku. We need this to be a mixed-use facility. The only way we are going to do this is if we work together.” Ambrose’s team was then encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas, which the Supervisor said they wouldn’t do here in front of everyone, “I’m sure they’ll have a lot of questions offline. This is why I made today’s meeting mandatory for the crew. They need to understand that this is a project that has to be treated sensitively - it’s kind of a sensitive situation. We have dealt with the Burial Council and with other archaeologists before, so most know the proper procedure. This is the bigger picture.”
Additional exchanges are set to take place in April with the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, the State Historic Preservation Division Burial Council and Kahului Rotary Club.