Steel twists from a foundation of rigid I-beams to organic scrolls and branches, mimicking the growth of the large live oak trees surrounding Kevin Eichner's sculpture.
Eichner's "Modus Vivendi" -- Latin for way of life -- was one of 20 outdoor sculptures installed Thursday on the grounds of the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn on Hilton Head Island.
The artwork from local, regional and national artists was chosen from more than 330 submissions for the island's inaugural Public Art Exhibition. The exhibition begins Saturday and is presented by the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry.
The "Around the Horn" exhibition takes viewers on a nearly mile-long trail. It begins on the grounds of the Discovery House, with views and access to two boardwalks onto Jarvis Creek on Calibogue Sound, and meanders through woodlands and a butterfly enclosure.
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The foundation created a Public Art Fund in 2006 to buy and place art in public spaces, beginning with the bronze statue of Sea Pines founder Charles Fraser at Compass Rose Park along Pope Avenue.
The goal is to attract more visitors to the island, raise awareness of the arts and enhance residents' quality of life, said Carolyn Torgersen, vice president of marketing and communication for the foundation.
"Art isn't something you should have to plan to see or buy a ticket for," she said. "Art belongs in our everyday environment, where you bump into it. The goal here is to bring art into the public realm and introduce it into the lives of the community, engage and uplift the viewer, add to civic pride and enhance the island."
Mark Baker, chairman of the art fund, said the exhibition is also an opportunity to honor and embrace Hilton Head's rich history and cultural influences.
"Art offers a richer experience for residents and visitors beyond our traditional offerings of golf and tennis," Baker said. "It enhances the island's culture and aesthetic appeal."
A jury has been assembled to select one piece for purchase and installation at one of three sites approved earlier by the town for public art.
Most, if not all of the pieces, are available for sale to the public, costing anywhere from $3,500 to $53,000. Proceeds will be used to pay for future public art exhibitions, Torgersen said.
"I think this is a wonderful thing for the island, to showcase art in such a beautiful, natural setting," said Eichner, who moved to Hilton Head two years ago and opened the Eichner Atelier studio on Shrimp Lane.
Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/EyeOnHiltonHead
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