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Unique mural in jeopardy

By Staff | Dec 16, 2010

Kenny Stittsworth is trying to save this mural painted by his friend, the late Ron Cassidy.

Nearly nine years ago, Ron Cassidy painted a mural of an image he knew better than most West Maui surfers.

“The mural depicts a life-size image of looking out of the inside of a wave — the barrel at Maui’s famous Honolua Bay. Ron spent so much time in the exact spot he portrays, nobody could ever paint it better from memory alone,” explained his friend, Kenny Stittsworth.

A well-known West Side surfer and artist, Cassidy started the mural at Kahana Villa on Jan. 3, 2002.

“I remember because, coincidentally, it was my birthday. It’s on a common area wall separating my family’s condo from our neighbor. It’s not visible unless you are in my backyard,” Stittsworth explained.

“Ron saw the brown brick wall as a perfect canvas for a life-size mural. He knew he could bring it to life. Since we own the condo, and it’s underneath an extended room upstairs, he thought it would be a protected, undisturbed place. It’s been that way until now.”

The mural is especially important to Stittsworth, because Cassidy died while surfing at Puerto Escondido, Mexico in July 2007. He was 40.

And for months, Stittsworth has been trying to persuade the resort’s management company not to paint over the artwork.

“Covering it with brown paint is covering up a piece of true aloha, and it doesn’t seem like it needs to be covered. Why now? And I’ve asked the board to have a little consideration for this special art. It’s the last remaining mural Ron painted that hasn’t been subjected to the elements. We’d like to keep it intact and also keep Ron’s memory alive through his passion: island and ocean art” he explained.

“What makes Ron unique as an artist is that he captured and shared the best of Maui through his art. He had a personality that allowed him to connect with everyone on the island, and he’s Maui’s own Da Vinci who had an eye for intricate detail. You can see this in the mural. He spent four-and-a-half days on it.”

Stittsworth said nobody has ever complained about the mural, and surrounding owners and tenants signed a petition to preserve it.

Stittsworth hopes to prove to the resort’s management company that the mural is a valuable piece of art. If you agree, join the Facebook page called “Save Ron Cassidy’s Mural” to get in touch with Stittsworth.

“Maybe if enough people support it, we can save it,” he argued.

“Ron’s family on the Mainland and throughout the islands just asks that his art is left alone… If we lose it, maybe we can replicate and duplicate it, and put it somewhere visible for the community to enjoy.”