A gift to Hanapepe

HANAPEPE — For Brian Oliver, volunteering his weekend to give the town of Hanapepe something to celebrate was a no-brainer.

Oliver, the owner of Island Custom Tile and Stone, jumped on the opportunity to construct an 18-foot mural on the side of the Hawaiian Telcom building in Hanapepe.

“To bring something like this, that is gonna beautify the whole neighborhood, is awesome,” Oliver said. “It’s something I wouldn’t hesitate to do.”

The 18- by 9-foot mural is a community effort organized by Banana Patch Studio, which supplied the tiles and paints to Eleele Elementary School, whose students decorated the tiles.

“The mural that I designed is to be representative of things in Hanapepe,” said Joanna Carolan, owner of Banana Patch Studio. “We also worked with kids up in Eleele and with Caylin Spear who works with Storybook Theater.”

The side of the Hawaiian Telcom building was a blank canvas on which the community wanted to express itself, Carolan said. The use of ceramic tiles was preferred over a painted mural since it would take less restoration and would maintain its image and message over time.

“Initially, (Hawaiian Telcom) were concerned about doing a painting on the wall because it would require maintenance and if it faded from the sun and the elements, then it wouldn’t look as nice,” Carolan said. “Since we do ceramics at the studio, I suggested ceramic tiles.”

Oliver agreed, pointing out how durable ceramic is compared to other materials.

The tiles were given to the Eleele students to be creative with, and creative they were.

Each of the 648 tiles are different, but share the same theme, giving Hanapepe color.

Yellow, green and blue, each tile contains vibrant colors that will catch the eye of residents and tourists who view the art town of Hanapepe. Each tile was created, then decorated and taken back to Banana Patch Studio to be fired by solar-operated kilns.

“Hanapepe is growing, especially in the past five years,” Oliver said. “Art Night was nice five years ago, but now it’s a street fair every Friday night.”

Oliver was chosen by the studio to construct the mural because of his talent and his willingness to volunteer his time, according to Carolan.

For Oliver, putting together the mural was a way to give back and inspire kids to invest themselves in art and creativity.

“It’s extremely important (to get kids into this),” Oliver said. ‘To know that these could kids could come down to look at these tiles in 20 years and know that when they were in grade school, they painted these tiles. Their names aren’t on them, but they’ll know. And I’m sure some of these kids will come down and try to find their tile. Just to know that they did something for the community, that’s gonna stay with them forever.”

The official unveiling of the mural will take place in about two weeks.

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