Friday | November 24, 2017
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Network of Artists debuts web survey

The Volcano Art Center has added a new tool to its arsenal to help Hawaii Island artists and is sending out an open call to all Hawaii Island painters, photographers, woodworkers, ceramicists, glass blowers, blacksmiths, jewelers, fiber artists, kapa makers, weavers, mixed media artists and sculptors to take the Hawaii Island Network of Artists (HINA) survey online.

“One of our goals with this project is to prove that artists make a positive difference to our local economy and quality of life,” said Tiffany DeEtte Shafto, project manager for the HINA research report and website. “We are asking fine artists and craftspeople who make all or part of their living from their work to take our survey and, in return, we provide a free web page on our actively marketed website, “

“We began last July, thanks to funding in part from Hawaii County, and are collecting data through May of this year to prove what we know to be true about our ‘creative workforce,’” said VAC CEO Tanya Aynessazian, who conceived the project. “Our local artists are an unrecognized creative work force. Because so many artists work independently, we need the public’s help in spreading the word about this project.”

Aynessazian and Shafto have been hosting community meetings in each district of the island as a means of sharing the intent of this project and hearing from artists directly. In 2012, they held meetings in Volcano, Pahoa, Waimea, Hilo, Honokaa, and Kapaau and met with nearly 100 artists — learning first-hand about their needs. Now they are getting ready for their next meeting at SKEA in Captain Cook on Jan. 24 at 5:30 p.m., and have three more meetings lined up in Holualoa, Naalehu and Laupahoehoe.

“The response to the project from the community has been wonderful, but taking a survey takes time and we needed a way to make it faster and easier,” said Aynessazian. “With the HINA survey now online, making it much easier for artists to participate, we expect to see a major increase in responses and artists represented on our site.”

VAC is actively marketing the HINA website, including a spot on Big Island TV. “Having one site to promote that benefits everyone involved is really rewarding,” said Shafto. “We visualized a website that acts as a resource directory — connecting art collectors with artists and increasing sales of artwork on island through one promoted website and its taking form. We’re out to prove that there are far more than 270 artists on this island and with the support of our creative community, we know we can do it!”

Apart from being one of the grandest undertakings since VAC was founded in 1974, the acronym HINA has a special second meaning for the staff at VAC. Hina, the Hawaiian Goddess of Hilo and a kapa maker, is a source of innovation and unification.

“Our goal is to honor our connection to the culture and history of this island through the inspiration it provides to today’s makers,” said Aynessazian. “HINA will no doubt propel our mission to the next level.”

To learn more about Volcano Art Center and the HINA project or to sign up for updates, please visit or follow on Facebook. For even more in-depth information, contact Volcano Art Center at 967-8222 or email


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