Hilton Head Island has a long history of supporting the arts, not only through its famed galleries and theaters, but through the support the town has given to artists and their creations. Historically a haven for the arts community, the island has long been home to famed artists including commercial illustrator Joe Bowler, author John Jakes and musicians like Duncan Sheik.
But it’s in the town’s support of the visual arts that we find one of the most impressive displays of community support. The public art fund was created by Community Foundation of the Lowcountry to promote public art throughout the island, and works hand-in-hand with the town of Hilton Head Island to create eye-catching sculptures all across the island.
Right now, the 2018 Public Art Exhibition offers 20 massive sculptures – some reaching as tall as 20 feet – ranging from abstract works to massive timber structures to a neon sign that simply states, “You are on an island.” The public is invited to tour these works of public art, located around the grounds at Historic Honey Horn, and vote on their favorite before Dec. 31 at hhipublicart.org. You can also take a selfie in front of one of the works to be entered into the #ArtForAll contest on the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry’s Facebook page and win $5,000 for a charity of your choice.
Speaking to Hilton Head Monthly, Public Art Fund Advisory Committee Chairman Michal Marks said, “Here on Hilton Head Island, we are surrounded with natural beauty. Public Art adds a human-made element of beauty.”
This is true not only of the Public Art Exhibition, it’s true of the following dazzling sculptures all around Hilton Head Island just waiting to be explored.
Charles Fraser at Compass Rose Park
Created by Susie Chisholm from Savannah, GA and Darrell Davis from Arlington, TX, this statue of Charles Fraser “walking” the alligator commemorates a classic photo of the Sea Pines founder featured in the Saturday Evening Post in 1962.
The iconic image of Fraser casually strolling next to an alligator cemented the nation’s love affair with Hilton Head Island and this magnificent work of art commemorates a moment in time that defined our island.
Family at Chaplin Linear Park
Created by Jonathan Bowling of Greenville, NC, and chosen for display after the 2011 Public Art Exhibition, “Family” depicts a trio of horses created from steel, wood and brass.
The uniquely kinetic sculptures are made of repurposed turn-of-the-century industrial equipment, with the manes and tails being cast in a forge to give them a flowing quality that contrasts with the body. The result is a dramatic work of art that greets every motorist driving on U.S. 278 mid-island.
Sail Around at 278 and Arrow Road
Easily the most colorful of the island’s public artworks, “Sail Around” greets everyone who passes the corner of Arrow Road and U.S. 278 with a bright yellow powdered steel “sail” soaring 16 feet into the air.
Interestingly, this piece was created by Wayne Trapp of Vilas, NC for the 2013 Public Art Exhibition but did not win. Despite this, the artist donated the piece to the town after the exhibition closed. Today it stands as a reminder of our colorful art community and nautical tradition.
Poppies at Veterans Memorial Park
Created by Stanley “Sandy” Proctor of Tallahassee, Florida, “Poppies” depicts an elderly American veteran resting on a slab clutching a few Memorial Day poppies and an American flag. Bearing the caption, “To all veterans who served that all may be free,” this stirring artwork is a reminder of the sacrifices made in defense of freedom.
In partnership with the Veterans Coalition and members of Long Cove Club, this statue was purchased by the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry Public Art Fund specifically to be placed at Shelter Cove’s Veterans Memorial Park.