Nearly a dozen artists braved high humidity and a slow drizzle on Tuesday to install sculpture and other works of art at the Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head Island.
The installations were part of a new Public Art Exhibition set to open officially on the Honey Horn property on Thursday.
Presented by the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry in partnership with the Town of Hilton Head Island, the exhibition will be the third such public art showing the foundation has held since 2011.
"It's an exciting exhibition that has attracted well-known artists from around the country and provides a breathtakingly beautiful environment in which to showcase their work," said Beth Mayo, chairman of the foundation's public art fund advisory committee.
This year's exhibit, in fact, features 19 pieces by artists from as close by as Hilton Head and Beaufort to as far away as Hawaii.
A nationally-recognized jury will review all of the participating pieces and select one for purchase with the help of participating sponsors. The "purchase prize" will then be added to the stock of public art already assembled on the island.
In addition, most, if not all of the pieces are available for sale and a "People's Choice" award will be chosen.
Mayo said such exhibitions, or a community's "cultural offerings," are important not only to an area's aesthetic appeal but to its overall economic prosperity.
"National studies have shown (public art) has a significant impact in terms of property values and jobs," she said.
She went on to explain that when looking at which states might be good for business, corporations looking to expand will often examine an area's cultural offerings in addition to its schools, the environment and other factors.
"The cultural opportunities of a place are important to the people who are making decisions about where they are going to move their business," she said.
The pieces installed Tuesday were comprised of a variety of materials and ranged in styles from the literal to the abstract. While some seemed to be thought-provoking, others appeared fun and whimsical.
Jeff Boshart's "THEB" -- or transparent hollow empty boxes -- comprised entirely out of steel beams he bought in Hardeeville weighed a little over 1 ton, he said.
"It doesn't take anything but a little bit of imagination and little bit of inventiveness...to make things bigger than you are," he said.
An art teacher in Charleston, Ill., Boshart said he typically travels to places where people are "receptive to the idea of public art."
But there are viewers, he said, who may look at the giant steel beams and walk on by.
"But if you do discover it, it may make you go 'wow,'" he said.
Childproofing Public Art?
After a 7-year-old became ensnared in a work of public art on Hilton Head, a discussion arose over whether such public pieces could be viewed as something to play on.
The 7-year-old, who was uninjured, had to be freed by fire and rescue teams and a planned public unveiling of the sculpture had to be postponed.
A sign was later installed in front of the piece at Shelter Cove informing visitors not to climb on the sculpture.
The artist, John Clement, is working on a permanent fix for the sculpture, which was purchased after the piece won the town's second annual Public Art Exhibition in 2013.
Beth Mayo, chairman of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry's public art fund advisory committee, said the exhibit's "Call to Artists" includes a safety clause that says pieces must be able to be touched and cannot topple over.
If You Go
The Public Art Exhibition on Hilton Head Island will be on display beginning Thursday at the Coastal Discovery Museum, 70 Honey Horn Drive. The exhibit is free and runs through Dec. 31. Visitors can vote for their favorite piece through October either online or by paper ballot, available at the museum.
For details call 843-689-6767 or visit www.hhipublicart.org.
Follow reporter Mindy Lucas at twitter.com/MindyatIPBG.