Three Art Maui artists recognized by the state in 2014

The Mission Statement of Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (HSFCA) is “to promote, perpetuate, preserve and encourage culture and the arts, history and the humanities as central to the quality of life of the people of Hawai’i.”

One of the ways they do this is through their longstanding collaboration with Art Maui.

For the past 36 years their Acquisition Award Selection Committee spends about two hours viewing the art that the juror has selected and making their choices for purchase. HFSCA then has the final nod.

It is always exciting, and sometimes comes as a big surprise for artists to receive the phone call from Art Maui’s president that their work has been chosen by the State.

Three Maui artists got that call on an afternoon in March, 2014!

Eddie Would Go by Mary Ann Leigh

Eddie Would Go by Mary Ann Leigh

Mary Ann Leigh, whose interpretation in ceramics of the famous slogan, Eddie Would Go, was one of those three.

In creating her piece, she says that “the waves represent the precariousness of the ocean and our relationship with it. From interest, curiosity, and ambition, to courage, bravery, and the ultimate risk of life; all are required to interact with it. The grouping of waves can represent many tones from rolling along to crashing. The flexibility of the individual waves touching each other, supporting each other, and carrying each other forward, allows for the mood to be set by the arrangement. Whether close or far, each must connect in order to move forward.”

The honor of the HSFCA selection supports her path to continue using her creativity with attention to technical detail, and in taking artistic risks and exploration, and “and, oh, enjoy the process!”

“Once the pieces are purchased by the HSFCA, we don’t really know where they go,” says Leigh. Often they may be part of an exhibition at the Hawai’i Museum of Art in Honolulu; or they may be earmarked to be displayed in state executive offices in the capitol; or in an airport, library, or other public place in a neighbor island through the Art in Public Places (APP) program. Read more about the APP Program‘s purpose and history.

Hello by Robert Suzuki

Hello by Robert Suzuki

Robert Suzuki‘s Hello – made with colored pencil and paint on brown paper – was another of the State’s choices.

For him, this recognition was part of the process of creating art.

“It starts with a thought, some planning and trust that what I am doing is worth doing at all. Each brush stroke or mark transforms a blank slate into something meaningful and rewarding.” He is rewarded and delighted in the next mark that may surprise him. “Eventually, the artwork reveals itself and is then complete almost by accident,” he says. “It is like a dialogue with another person but the other person is the blank slate urging me to ask questions, demand answers. Being recognized by the state is part of the process – not expected, a welcomed surprise and the continuation of the process.”

Recurring Dreamscape by Gary Mukai

Recurring Dreamscape by Gary Mukai

Gary Mukai‘s Recurring Dreamscape – an oil on canvas – expands on Dreamscape, one of the State’s previous acquisitions by this talented artist.

A man of few words, he says ”It is highly satisfying that what I do, is in a sense validated by the art community. There is so much passion with heart and mind that goes into the creative process. This is a rewarding experience.” He greatly appreciates the honor.

Art Maui congratulates these three fine artists, and is extremely pleased to provide the support to have HSFCA look their way. Whether their art hangs in the State Museum, a Senator’s office, or a rural library, it offers benefit not only to the artist, but to the lives of all who call Hawai’i home as well as the visitors who will have the opportunity to view it.

For more information on the Hawai’i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, go to

~ By Donna Chameleon Stafford, 2014

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