LITTLE TOWN * BIG ART welcomes Lori Hepner



Wailuku’s creative place-making program, SMALL TOWN * BIG ART (ST * BA), announces its latest public art collaboration to share stories of its distinctive sense of place, history and culture.

In her January 2021 proposal to co-develop an innovative project with the ST * BA team and the community of Wailuku, Lori Hepner developed a piece centered around a series of community art creation workshops in which local musicians / performers would be hired to provide dance music for public light-painting sessions while workshop participants donned portable LEDs and programmable Pixelsticks to “draw with light”.

Lori Hepner. PC: ST * BA

Redesigned for a socially distant world, supporters of the project recruited ʻĪao Middle School and Hālau Makana Aloha O Ka LauaÊ»e to organize light painting educational events, the Wailuku Coffee Company to host the artist’s open studio days and the Lokahi Pacific Pono Center to display the resulting artwork: a video projection, two wall decals and a mobile app to access augmented reality lighting.

After months of project development, Lori Hepner, a Pittsburgh-based new media artist and integrative arts teacher at Penn State, joined Mike Rose’s after-school music program at ʻĪao Middle School on September 30 for her debut. collaborative artistic creation workshop. Students in Grades 6-8 improvised and performed music using ukulele, drums, guitar, and a few vocals under Rose’s direction while Hepner taught others to experiment with light-emitting diodes ( LED lights) to illuminate the entire painting, creating silhouette portraits to the beat of the strip.


“Mike has created an incredibly open, respectful, safe and creative environment for the students of Īao,” said Kelly McHugh-White of ST * BA. Everyone took turns learning from each other – whether with a musical instrument or a light brush – and just seemed to be having a blast. It was really like the masks and social distancing symbolically disappeared for an afternoon we were all creating something new and unique together. “

On October 1st, members of Hālau Makana Aloha O Ka LauaÊ»e organized Lori’s second light painting workshop. Musicians Joshua Kulhavy-Sutherland, James “Koakāne” Mattos and Lukela Kanae, known as KÅ«ikawā, performed hula ‘auana (modern hula) as dancers performed on My Yellow Ginger Lei,’ Ulupalakua, Puamana, Papalina Lahilahi and more. Hepner’s video recording technology captured the session as the dancers carried light sticks reflected from a 360-degree camera, which will lead to the artist’s site-specific art installations that will incorporate additional images of the surrounding area .

Lori Hepner. PC: ST * BA

“I’m really impressed with how ST * BA has worked to bring community into all of its projects,” said Hepner, “Sometimes community engagement is something that a public art project claims to have, but in reality, this is only a minimal part of it. In my later years, I made the transition to public art projects, ranging mainly from creating works to exhibiting in galleries and museums. . This type of connection allows the art created to be much richer and meaningful to those who were involved in its making. “

The public are invited to be a part of the resulting artwork and learn more about its process during her “open studio” days at the Wailuku Coffee Company on Market Street, where she will be seated outside on her own. Sunday 3 and Monday 3 October. 4 from 7 a.m.

Lori Hepner / Color Beechview. PC: ST * BA

“The Wailuku Coffee Company has, since its inception, created an environment where our community artists can showcase their work and talk with neighborhood residents and visitors about all that makes Wailuku so special,” said owner Jackie Goring. “While we can’t accommodate indoor seating at this time, we want to make sure everyone feels welcome to come and enjoy our take out menu, meet our SMALL TOWN * BIG ART resident artist Lori Hepner , and continue to celebrate the little town we call home. . “

Lori Hepner. PC: ST * BA

About the artist:

Lori Hepner is a Pittsburgh-based new media artist working primarily in new media performance, fine art photography, and community-focused public art projects. She has spent a great deal of time over the past five years in community artist residencies in two neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, in a small Arctic community on the Norwegian coast, as well as in Finland, Iceland and the Canadian Yukon.

Hepner’s personal photographic work has been featured in Time, Wired and Next Level Magazine and has been exhibited at the Houston Center for Photography, Carnegie Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, photography festivals in the Netherlands, China and in Spain. One of his Twitter portraits of Status symbols, as well as his performative photographs of #Crowd-sourced landscapes, will be sent to live on the moon in 2021 at The Moon Arch project. A recent collaboration with singer Kendra Ross titled Intersection * ology received grants from the Heinz Endowments, Carnegie International 2018 and The Opportunity Fund and has been performed at Alloy Studios at Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Durban, South Africa, InLight Richmond Festival in Richmond, Virginia, and Luminaria Festival in San Antonio, Texas.


Hepner holds an MFA in Digital Media from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA in Fine Art Photography from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She is a professor of integrative arts at the Greater Allegheny campus of Penn State University.

LITTLE TOWN * BIG ART presents Lori Hepner. PC: ST * BA


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