Island Artists Celebrate Capitol’s Anniversary

State Rep. Lauren Matsumoto with artist Mark Howard (left), student artist Senja Tovo (in Love shirt) and Tovo's brothers and sisters. Photo from Rep. Matsumoto.

State Rep. Lauren Matsumoto with artist Mark Howard (left), student artist Senja Tovo (in Love shirt) and Tovo’s brothers and sisters. Photo from Rep. Matsumoto.

District Matters…Rep. Lauren Matsumoto

Aloha, friends and neighbors.

We just concluded our seventh annual Art at the Capitol. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the start of construction of the Capitol, which was the theme of the free, public exhibit.

Paying tribute to our statehouse, Art at the Capital was held March 6 and presented in union with Hawaii State Art Museum’s First Friday festivities.

With its elevated ceilings, open atrium and ring of columns rising from a reflecting pool, our state Capitol is symbolic of the Islands and remains a work of art in its own right. That’s why, on the 50th anniversary of its groundbreaking, the Capitol building itself was a key part of the heart of this year’s Art at the Capitol exhibit.

In addition to the artwork being visible throughout the building, visitors were invited to watch a short documentary about the Capitol. The film provided insight into the commissioning of the building in 1959, the construction that started in November 1965 and its completion March 15, 1969.

More than 500 works by community artists in the offices of legislators and executive offices were open to the public. Fifty-seven offices in both the House and the Senate, including the public access room and office of the Lieutenant Governor, participated.

We loved welcoming the community into my office to chat and see the beautiful works we chose to showcase.

Acoustic guitar music was provided by my father, Michael Cheape, in addition to live music featured throughout the Capitol rotunda.

We also were honored to display art by local students, which received rave reviews.

Senja Tovo, a talented sixth-grade student at Waialua Elementary School, came to my office to show her beautiful work of art. Aurora Capes, another Waialua sixth-grader, who was unable to attend, also displayed her work in my office.

Artist Mark Howard painted three of the beautiful pieces I showcased. He was willing to settle into my office for the duration of the event, and to talk with guests and answer their questions.

Pleased with the event, he said, “What an honor to be part of this fun-filled occasion. It’s reassuring to see our state legislators promoting the arts.”

Please visit the following links for a preview of some of the art in the offices and to view a video series called “What’s on Your Wall?”:



I’m always eager to hear from you, so if you have any questions, concerns or ideas, feel free to contact me at 586-9490 or at, or visit