Ohai Kids To Show Off Their Art­work

MidWeek Islander (Central Oahu) - - Front Page - By SARAH PACHECO

Ohai Street will turn into an art walk Nov. 5, thanks to months of hard work by Surf­ing The Na­tions and the chil­dren in its new af­ter-school arts pro­gram.

The Ohai Ho‘ike Art Show be­gins at 6 p.m. at STN Hall (67 S. Kame­hameha Hwy.) and is the first ma­jor arts show­case of its kind in the down­town Wahi­awa neigh­bor­hood. There will be pieces on dis­play and for sale by pro­fes­sional artists Mark N. Brown, Oana Bollt, Spencer Chang, Rick Phillips, Bar­bara Su­mida, Kelly Turner and Francis Wong, along with pu­pus and live en­ter­tain­ment un­til 10 p.m.

But the main draw of the evening will be the art­work from 15 stu­dents age 8-14 who are part of STN’s Thriv­ing Arts Pro­gram, launched by the non­profit at the start of the 201011 school year with a grant from Friends of Hawaii Char­i­ties.

Dubbed the “ulu pono kids,” the keiki come from at-risk homes in the neigh­bor­hood and at­tend classes at STN Hall twice a week to de­velop fun­da­men­tal skills in both the vis­ual and per­form­ing arts. They also learn dis­ci­pline, com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills and re­spon­si­bil­ity by in­ter­act­ing with their in­struc­tors and each other.

“ ‘Ulu pono kids’… means to grow well, to thrive, and to see their pride in their abil­i­ties, and their work is sim­ply amaz­ing,” said Cindy Bauer, STN di­rec­tor and co-founder.

“The arts are beau­ti­ful,” she added, “and beau­ti­ful for the chil­dren.”

In ad­di­tion to their art (around three en­tries each), the ulu pono kids per­form hula un­der the di­rec­tion of Kath­leen “Aunty Lani” Kaleik­iAholo of Ilima Hula Stu­dio.

“Aunty Lani, iron­i­cally, fre­quented the site of STN Hall when it was an area bar dur­ing her trou­bled youth,” Bauer said.“It is a tremen­dous story that now she is giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity by teach­ing hula and dance at this site.”

STN has been work­ing tire­lessly as well to trans­form the rep­u­ta­tion of Ohai Street since mov­ing into the space for­merly oc­cu­pied by the land­mark Top Hat Bar last year. The group reg­u­larly dis­trib­utes food and sup­plies to peo­ple in need, con­ducts cleanups of beaches and road­ways, speaks at area high schools, and last Fe­bru­ary part­nered with area groups and busi­nesses to put on an Ohai Street Fair to build com­mu­nity pride among res­i­dents.

“We value the neigh­bor­hood as part of the larger com­mu­nity and see the ne­ces­sity and re­spon­si­bil­ity to the well-be­ing and pos­i­tive in­flu­ence STN can be for the youth of Ohai Street,” said Bauer, adding that plan­ning has al­ready be­gun for the next art show in May 2011.

Ad­mis­sion to the Ohai Ho‘ike Art Show is free, and pro­ceeds from the sale of and do­na­tions from artists ’works will sup­port the Thriv­ing Arts Pro­gram.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the art walk or to get in­volved, visit surf­in­gth­en­ations.com or call 622-6234.

Kath­lene ‘Aunty Lani’ Kaleiki-Ahlo leads the ‘ulu pono kids’ of Surf­ing The Nation’s af­ter-school Thriv­ing Arts Pro­gram in hula prac­tice at its hall in Wahi­awa town. The youths will dance as well as dis­play their art­work Nov. 5 at the inaugural Ohai Ho‘ike Art Show. Photo cour­tesy of Surf­ing The Na­tions.

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