Rainbow of arts showcased at KACA Open House

PUHI — The taiko thumping was magnetic, drawing young ears borne by little feet from the corners of the Island School campus, Friday afternoon.

Patricia Yu and Aki Conquest were warming up for the special Rakudo performance which highlighted the 2011 Kaua‘i Academy of Creative Arts Open House. Before an appreciative audience comprised of parents, the event showcased the varied accomplishments of students in visual and performing arts.

Rakudo, which translates to mean “Happy Place,” is a collection of about five people who have been meeting and doing taiko for less than a year, said Yu, the group’s leader.

“They’re all performers,” Yu said. “Aki, Leinani Springer, Daryl Edwards, and Kyle Chu are all involved in the arts.”

Mary Nakamura, director of the 2011 summer program, said there were about 120 students enrolled in this year’s program.

“The enrollment is not as much as normally participate in the program,” Nakamura said. “But it’s still a good introduction to the arts for the kids who do attend.”

Susanna Cota-Robles of the Kukui‘ula Village Marketing Department launched the evening’s event on a high note, presenting Nakamura with a contribution of $500, representing proceeds from the May and June Art Walk program hosted by Po‘ipu shopping center.

Cota-Robles said Art Walk’s goal is to expose the gallery population at Kukui‘ula Village while

generating funds earmarked to promote children’s art, music and theater in the community.

She said Art Walk is held on the third Thursday of each month when patrons purchase a special commemorative glass and enjoy a free wine tasting while visiting the different galleries in the shopping center.

Since the program started, Cota-Robles said Kukui‘ula Village has presented $550 to the Hawai‘i Children’s Theater, $550 to the Kalaheo School Drama Club, and on Friday, the $500 to the Kaua‘i Academy of Creative Arts.

Koloa School, who in the spring hosted a recycled art show in a former gallery space, sold the commemorative glasses during the Art Walk program and were allowed to keep the proceeds, Cota-Robles said.

Conquest, teaching classes in keyboarding through a “Jazz ‘Em Up” theme as well as traditional Japanese taiko, had a respite between her students’ performance as parents were entertained with a Hip Hop dance presentation led by Jennifer Bell-Gray, Randy Hudson and their students.

Natalie Fryman and her students offered up “Theater: Art of Storytelling” before Rakudo closed off the stage performances, allowing guests to enjoy the dinner prepared by Victor Punua Jr.

Peggy Lake is the KACA Board president; Christy Matsushige is vice president; Colleen Ogino, instructor of “Lost & Found Treasure!” is the treasurer; Sharla Hasegawa, taking a turn manning the baked goods table, is the secretary; Laverne Bishop is the director; and Nancy Budd is the counsel.

The KACA is supported in part by the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts through appropriations from the state Legislature.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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