With very humble beginnings at the East Maui Taro Festival in March of 1993, the Teen Hawaiian Art Exhibit is gathering momentum to become a significant juried local exhibition for youth artists of Hana.
With guidance and much appreciated help from Hana High School Art Teacher, Laura Straight and Science Instructor D.J. Huddleston, the first exhibit offered 26 art pieces submitted in four categories. The work was juried by local artists Karen Davidson, Jozef Smit and Carla Crow.
The theme of the Teen Hawaiian Art Exhibit was The Taro, and was open only to individuals between the ages of 13 and 19 years of age residing on the Hana Coast. Eight cash prizes were distributed, three tuition scholarships from both the local Hana Art School and the Hui Noeau Visual Arts Center were awarded. The teens were encouraged to place a value on their art, and five purchases were made at the student requested prices. Total cash awards to student artists was $180.00, all donated by four individuals and organizations of Maui.
At the second annual Teen Hawaiian Art Exhibit in March of 1994, Laura Straight again provided inspiration and the dynamic enthusiasm from the students. We had a 26% increase in the number of students participating and a 140% increase in the number of pieces sold. The number of art pieces exhibited almost doubled from 26 to 51. The biggest benefit to this event came when the Hana Cultural Center and Museum became the primary sponsor. When it was time to solicit donations for the art scholarships awards, the excellent reputation of the Hana Cultural Center and Museum generated tremendous support, increasing our exhibit donors from 4 in the first year to 34 in the second year! We were able to double our grants and awards to the art students and still keep a reserve for the 1995 exhibition.
Although this exhibit is a local event, the timing was perfect this year for our student artists to participate in the Grand Opening exhibition at the new Maui Arts and Cultural Center recently completed in Kahului. Five of our student exhibitors also exhibited in the Kazuma International Gallery at the MACC, a rare opportunity, especially for young artist.
Further good news on this exhibit is that the County of Maui recently approved a grant to the Hana Cultural Center to permit us to expand this "CULTURE FOR YOUTH" program. It provides financial support for the Teen Hawaiian Art Exhibit as well as support to the Hana Art School, and will continue to help us hire local students to assist in the many tasks of our organization. The preparation of this very newsletter you are now reading is another teen "Earn and Learn" training program supported by Maui County to give our local students practical job experience in the histories and humanities.