Ohai Kids To Show Off Their Artwork
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.