Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island Postponed Due to Hurricane Matthew

In Hilton Head, an odd-numbered year – like 2017 – generally signals that the area’s biennial Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island will occur in the fall. But not this year. Though plans were well underway for the 2017 Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island, Mother Nature threw them asunder.

“We were deep into planning,” says Michael Marks, chair of the Public Art Fund committee and board member of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. “We’d sent out a call for entry on a national scale. We’d met with the Town of Hilton Head to secure their support. We’d begun fundraising. All the pieces were in place for another great exhibition. Hurricane Matthew changed our plans.”

After Matthew hit, the committee did some soul searching. “There were two trains of thought,” Marks says. “One was to go ahead with the exhibition…show the world that we’re Hilton Head Strong and try to get back to normal as quickly as possible.

“The other was more conservative. Because we rely so heavily on fundraising to offset the cost of the exhibition, we felt that it wasn’t the right time to ask people for money. Many of our donors had experienced damage to their homes or businesses. Just as importantly we didn’t want to compete with disaster recovery fundraising efforts. We felt that that was more important.”

With mixed emotions, the committee decided to delay the exhibition until the fall of 2018. “We felt postponing would give Hilton Head Island a chance to recover – aesthetically, emotionally and financially,” Marks says.

Since its inception, the biennial Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island has been held at Coastal Discovery Museum during October, November and December. Twenty large-scale sculptures, selected from hundreds of entries created by artists from around the country, grace a one-mile walking trail throughout the Honey Horn site. Visitors can stroll the grounds at their leisure, take guided tours or listen to audio tours via their mobile devices.

Though the 2017 exhibition has been postponed, you can still plan to attend a public art event. In October of 2017, the Public Art Committee will unveil “Setting Sun,” the Purchase Prize winner from the 2015 exhibition. The piece was slated to be installed at the new Coligny Park. However, since the completion of the park has been delayed, the piece will be temporarily installed at Coastal Discovery Museum around the one year anniversary of Hurricane Matthew’s arrival. 

“We appreciate the community’s support of our Public Art Exhibition and look forward to its continued assistance for the 2018 edition,” Marks says. “In the meantime, let’s celebrate in 2017 with the temporary installation at Honey Horn.”

More information will be shared with the public as it becomes available.

The Public Art Fund is a fund of Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. Since 2011, the Public Art Fund has hosted three exhibitions of large-scale sculptures, featuring works from nationally-recognized artists. The Fund has secured nine permanent public art pieces, seven of which have been installed in locations across Hilton Head Island.