Artist Andy Behrle needs the public’s help as he prepares for his Small Town Big Art instillation in Wailuku this summer. Small Town Big Art is a pilot project that aims to position Wailuku as a public arts district focused on its own distinctive sense of place, history, and culture. As one of 60 grant awardees selected throughout the nation, the Maui Redevelopment Agency is partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Program for a 22-month (September 1, 2018 through June 30, 2020) project term that has been seven years in the making.
When Behrle came across the STBA 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,” according to a recent blog on the STBA website.
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.
Behrle selected water as his artistic subject.
“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,” said Behrle. “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.”
Since being named the first of 13 STBA installations, Behrle has sought help from museums, libraries, and schools to obtain photographs of the church taken before 1977. He would greatly appreciate it if anyone in possession of such photos could share; in addition, he would like to speak with those who might know the whereabouts of photos from that time during the church’s history.
“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,” reads Behrle’s artist statement from a recent project in Tunisia. “The resulting works have taken various forms – from fully immersive interactions with digital video footage of microcosms inside a 20-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.”
Behrle’s art will go public in Wailuku on August 2. For additional information, visit the STBA website, Smalltownbig.org.
Image courtesy Small Town Big Art