Student art graces Kaua‘i Museum

LIHU‘E — The final series of student art opened Friday at the Kaua‘i Museum and will be on display through Apr. 25.

“We have a lot of good pieces in this exhibit for students in grades 10 through 12,” said Chris Faye who had just finished installing the exhibit and was working on another exhibit. “There are some great photography pieces and multi-media.”

A Kaua‘i Museum staff said her favorite piece was a bag created out of discarded Capri Sun juice containers, the bag sitting next to a framed piece, the frame having formerly housed a MacIntosh computer.

This is the 50th anniversary of the School Art Exhibit, the tradition being started by Juliette Wichman, the Kaua‘i Museum founder, in 1960 with the hope of encouraging and acknowledging the creative and artistic talents of Kaua‘i youth.

Youth remains in the spotlight of the Kaua‘i Museum which announces the return of the Keiki Ka Lei Contest, translated to mean “youth lei making contest.”

Happy Tamanaha, a consistent contributor to the annual May Day Lei Contest and a seller of lei with the proceeds coming back to the museum, noticed during last year’s contest a lei submitted by a 5-year-old lei maker.

But with no category for youth, the creativity and skill of the young lei maker was overshadowed by other lei, but not Tamanaha who suggested the return of the youth division.

Saturday, Tamanaha and her husband Kats will host a lei making workshop, oriented toward the keiki lei maker, starting at 10 a.m. as part of the museum’s monthly ‘Ohana Day celebration, Faye said.

The workshop is for keiki ages 5 through 18 interested in learning how to make a Kui, Haku, Humupapa, Kipu‘u or Wili lei. There is a $5 fee for each family and a parent or guardian must accompany keiki from 5 to 11 years old, states the Kaua‘i Museum website.

In addition to the workshop, a special May Day — Floral Heritage display is incorporated into a Hawaiiana display and will be on exhibit through the May Day Lei Contest.

During ‘Ohana Day, there is no admission fee for kama‘aina, or residents, and is a perfect opportunity to not only attend the lei making workshop, but take in the student art exhibit and a special hotel and visitor industry exhibit featuring several rare pieces from the Grace Guslander collection which served as inspiration for iconic posters for movies and travelogues.

“We have the original Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau sign from the Chicago branch of HVB,” Faye said. “We also have the United Airlines menehune which was on display at the HVB Chicago office.”

Those iconic Hawai‘i symbols have a strong resemblance to the characters from Disney’s Lilo and Stitch movie.

“It’s a shame so few people on Kaua‘i know about these pieces,” Faye said. “The display will be up until the end of the month and ‘Ohana Day is a perfect time to look over the pieces which speaks a lot of our history and tourism heritage.”

 Among the flow of visitors through the museum, Friday, Kathy Buchanan quietly sat among the ladies of the Hawaiian Quilt Club led by Florence Muraoka.

Buchanan, visiting from Colorado, was attempting her first quilt after being persuaded by the museum’s education outreach officer Lopaka Bukoski to attend the weekly sessions which meet from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the ladies joking about Bukoski’s kolohe antics.

The Kaua‘i Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit www.kauaimuseum.org or call 245-6931 for more information.

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