By CHELSEA JENSEN
Creativity was abuzz as young and old dabbled in an array of media on April 12 at Donkey Mill Art Center in Holualoa.
From papermaking and origami to lauhala weaving and ceramics, attendees got up close and personal with the arts at Project Art Festival 2013.
Gabriela Frier, 11, expressed excitement about the opportunity to learn so many different types of art as she used a sponge to release her freshly made paper from its mould.
“It’s going on my art wall,” Frier said about her tricolored masterpiece. “It’s fun to get to do a lot of hands-on projects and learn how to make all of this stuff.”
The annual Project Art Festival provides an outlet to captivate and inspire people of all ages to take part in the arts through a variety of hands-on media including printmaking, papermaking, lauhala weaving, origami, silk screening, raku ceramics, painting, ti leaf lei making, Hawaiian crafts and more, coordinator Cheryl Holdcroft said. It has been held for about 15 years.
“We want people to take away the idea that they are capable of creating things and they are creative,” said Anne Catlin, Donkey Mill’s director of operations. “This is an opportunity for them to just explore and experience art.”
The nonprofit art center’s event continues today at 9 a.m. at its building located off Old Mamalahoa Highway, north of the Hawaii County Department of Water Supply office. The cost to attend on Saturday remains $10 for adults and free for keiki under 12.
For Ana Tuppein, a Kealakehe High School junior, the event offered the ability to make art with her own hands. While she said she learns most of the fundamentals at school, she doesn’t get many opportunities to put what she’s learned to use.
“You learn more and you get it better than just reading about it,” she said while weaving a lauhala bracelet. “It’s teaching me a lot.”
Project Art Festival 2013 volunteer Susan O’Malley, a longtime Big Island teacher, spent the day sharing her knowledge of making paper from wauke, or paper mulberry, and other paper items.
“I want to share my passion with other people and demystify how paper is made so that people can respect it more,” she said. “I want people to have an appreciation for the labor-intensive process.”
The event also featured origami making; attendees could not only learn about it but also make origami cranes to be included in one of two senba zuru, a string of 1,000 cranes. They will be brought to Japan later this year to show the Big Island’s continuing support two years after the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown.
“It provides good energy when it is a whole,” said Donkey Mill founder Setsuko Morinoue. “We hope to send good wishes and we want (Japan) to know that the Big Island is thinking about them.”
Differing from prior years, this year’s Project Art Festival is funded via a $9,700 grant from the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s County Product Enrichment Program. With the grant, which the Donkey Mill Art Center must at least match, the two-day event costs $10 and is aimed at providing a opportunity for residents and visitors to try something new.
The Project Art festival is one of 18 events funded by the CPEP in 2013, according to the tourism authority. In all, 98 events are funded via the program statewide.
The program was created in 2002 as a partnership between the HTA and Hawaii’s four counties to diversify and strengthen tourism by focusing on an array of areas including agritourism, cultural tourism, ecotourism, edutourism, health and wellness tourism, sports tourism and technotourism.
Email Chelsea Jensen at email@example.com.