Supporting the arts

Yvonne Fong with her juried piece at Downtown Art Center

When I returned home, I was happy to hear that one of my kūpuna watercolor students from Palama Settlementʻs Kūpuna Art Program had one of her paintings juried into the Hawaii Watercolor Societyʻs Open Show at the Downtown Art Center in August. This was her first try and first show, I was so proud!

Meanwhile, at the Honolulu Country Club, curators Dexter Doi and Carol DʻAngelo mounted a new group exhibit: Halycon. I put in a few works along with other talented artists in different media. The theme was a fun challenge because I had seen the word over the years but didnʻt know what it meant or even how to pronounce it. So…now I know it is about a mythical pair of birds who meet on the open sea at winter solstice. It can be a type of bird as well that is very colorful or to mean a quiet respite, for example-the halycon days of my childhood. They are mounting the final show in this gallery program due to new owners and plans for the building. Organising, hanging, curating and promoting these shows take a lot of time and effort that often is not appreciated by artist and visitor alike.

Art at Marks also had a show, celebrating 21 years of operations called Rewind: Then and Now curated by MaryAnne Long and also with a dedicated team to pull it off. It isnʻt easy. Many people get burned out, weary, discouraged.

As artists, we all appreciate when a work is sold, it is a feeling of validation for oneʻs efforts and positive reinforcement to continue to create. For those who need to pay the rent, sales and foot traffic is also a validation for their efforts to present and offer the artwork for sale to appreciative visitors and collectors. But the others who you donʻt see or think about as much, are the volunteers and sponsors, they really make arts venues work and when they are tapped out, that is when places get shuttered.

I enjoy teaching watercolor to share my love of the medium and to dispel bad reps and myths about the medium. Palama Settlement will celebrate 125 years in the community and I have been a part of their programming for a short 8 years but I am proud to be a part of this organisation that helps keiki and kūpuna from Kalihi and beyond.