Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School student art opens

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    An undersea motif of decorated ceramic boxes, as well as a unique serving set, are seen in one section of the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School student art showcase at the Kauai Society of Artists gallery at Kukui Grove Center Friday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School art teacher Leslie Frasier creates a rainbow of felted rocks in “Collude with Joy,” a collective effort by the school’s sixth-grade art classes, at the CKMS student art showcase Friday at the Kauai Society of Artists gallery at Kukui Grove Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    “The Saimin Bar,” comprising various students’ creations of noodles, is complete with stools and a spider on the wall at the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School student art showcase at the Kauai Society of Artists gallery at Kukui Grove Center Friday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Sofia Saunders’ self portrait.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Sofia Saunders, a seventh-grade student at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, talks about the self-portrait concept during the student art showcase at the Kauai Society of Artists gallery Friday at Kukui Grove Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Jalena Haas, an eighth-grade student at Chiefess Kamakahele Middle School, adjusts her “Pizza Paint” at the student art showcase that opened Friday at the Kauai Society of Artists gallery at Kukui Grove Center.

LIHUE – The idea for “Pizza Paint” popped into Jalena Haas’ mind while she was doodling.

“I like pizza,” the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School eighth-grader said. “And I like to paint. It kind of all came together while I was doodling. Then I had to work on putting it together.”

Haas, the winner of last year’s anti-vaping poster contest, is one of the students whose work is showcased at the CKMS student art exhibit that opened its doors to the public Friday evening at a special reception for artists and their parents and friends at the Kauai Society of Artists gallery at Kukui Grove Center.

“This is a CKMS night,” said Melissa McFerrin-Warrack, Kukui Grove special events director. “Not only are the student artists having their party, Sarah Tochiki and the CKMS band are hosting the Stephenson Intermediate School band in a combined visiting-band program.”

Haas’ piece that she describes as a sculpture is among the student art showcase that is open to the public until Sunday, May 26. Gallery hours are noon to 6 p.m. Saturday through Thursday, and 2 to 8 p.m. Friday.

“We’re going to try and keep the gallery open during those hours,” said Leslie Frasier, one of three art instructors at the school. “We could use some volunteers to gallery-sit so we can keep the gallery open to the public.”

Sofia Saunders, a CKMS seventh-grader, was hurriedly trying to get things done before rushing off to participate in the chorus concert that was taking place at the school. Among the projects she was working on was the wall of self portraits, including one of herself.

“This is abstract self portrait,” the young artist said. “You get two pictures of yourself — it has to be profiles — and you draw it out. I don’t know how I chose the colors. It just looked good.”

Her father, Tim Saunders, was another of the three art instructors, being joined by Kristi Gibbs who has been spearheading the contest for the past several years, starting with the hanging cranes that graced the ceiling of Kong Lung Store in Kilauea.

“I’m so proud of the work done by all of the students,” Gibbs said. “Ms. Haas is so special, and we’ve seen her art grow over the past three years. We also have another student who did ceramics that comes apart to become a functional serving set. She did everything by herself — from concept to engineering and assembling. These are really good pieces.”

Patrons are able to view and admire the pieces and for those who want a piece of the show, there is a CKMS student art pop-up where, for a nominal donation, show-goers can bring home a felted rock, note cards, or mini vases. Proceeds go back into the CKMS art program.

“This is going to be hard this year,” Gibbs said. “This is the first year we’re doing the show without the bubbling, enthusiastic support of Carol Ann Davis, who was such a strong supporter of the students’ efforts.

“It’s hard, but we wanted to acknowledge how much she added to the show and the students’ growth in art. We will have a special Carol Ann Davis Award for one of the entries. She was a good friend of Leslie, and an anonymous donor stepped forward to make this award possible.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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