Maui Arts & Entertainment

Blessing Scheduled for Sculpture Gifted to Maui College Campus

January 25, 2015, 8:38 AM HST
* Updated December 4, 11:16 AM
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UHMC art installation. Courtesy photo.

UHMC art installation. Courtesy photo.

By Maui Now Staff

The University of Hawai‘i Maui College will soon honor the latest art addition to its campus with a blessing ceremony on Jan. 29, at 4:30 p.m. The artwork, a marble sculpture called “Kūlapa Kai” (to frolic in the ocean), portrays a playful mother monk seal and her cub.

The event is open to the public.

The lifelike work of stone carved from a solid block of New Zealand marble by local artists Bruce Turnbull and Kim Mosley took nearly a year to complete.

It was gifted to the college by Jim and Mary Hirschfield’s “Summit Foundation”–an organization dedicated to creating lasting legacies of art in the form of sculptures.


“Ever since we honeymooned here 47 years ago, Maui has held a special place in our hearts,” said Jim Hirshfield. “We are pleased to be able to return some of the joy we have received by supporting the college and through it the broader Maui community with this gift.”


The sculpture sits on a grassy knoll between the campus’ Kalama and Noiʻi buildings, creating a contemplative hangout for faculty, students, and visitors. It was brought to the campus in August by crane. Most of the sculpture’s carving was done at Turnbull’s studio in Kahakuloa. Students at the college helped in applying the artwork’s final touches, including sanding, grinding, polishing, and chiseling the stone using power and hand tools.

“We sincerely appreciate this beautiful addition to our campus,” said Chancellor Lui K. Hokoana. “I’ve already heard from faculty and students about how much they enjoy the new piece, and it was a wonderful opportunity for our art students to get some hands-on learning as well.”

“I love walking around the piece and taking it in from every vantage point,” said UHMC art faculty member Jennifer Owen. “It was a fellow art teacher, Mike Takemoto, who pointed out that from one of the nearby sidewalks, the sculpture looks entirely abstract, while from the other walkways the forms of the monk seals are revealed.”


The Summit Foundation has also commissioned two sculptures in Washington State. The foundation proposed the gift of the sculpture to UHMC in May of 2013.

To find out more about the sculpture, or to make a donation to the college, contact Ray Tsuchiyama at 984-3471, or email [email protected].

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