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Precious Resources

BY Kai Andersen, Tiffany Hill and Kathryn Drury Wagner | October 31, 2016 | Feature Features

Hawai‘i is home to a vibrant arts scene: a powerful energy that resounds through the islands, into the Pacific and beyond. Of course, our artistic visionaries need support, and that's where generous donors come in, boosting creative efforts so that they can benefit the entire community. Together, these two forces—arts and philanthropy—blend to enrich our lives in ways immeasurable.
Kama‘aina Christmas is the only time one can dine in the Honolulu Museum of Art's galleries.

Fete of the Season
It’s starting to sound a lot like Christmas—Kama‘aina Christmas, that is. Honolulu Museum of Art’s premier fundraising event is now in its 31st year. “It’s the only time you can eat dinner in the art gallery surrounded by art with your friends. It’s such a wonderful kickoff to the holiday season,” says this year’s chair, Lori Harrison. The black-tie event, held Dec. 10, will be a Jingle Bell Rock theme, supported by a Beatles tribute band, Rubber Soul and a delicious menu by Roy Yamaguchi. Tables were sold out by August. So, just what is it about this event that makes it so successful? “We’ve built an event that is meaningful to people,” says Vi Loo, chairman of the museum’s board. “Old friends get together, and new friends come together. It’s a celebration of a wonderful year and kicking off the new one. And every event is different because every chair leaves a handprint.” This year, there will be an art sale in addition to the silent auction. “We wanted to bring in not just established artists, but also up-and-coming artists,” says Harrison. “We want to expose them to the community.” On the silent-auction side, there’s a hard-to-score stay at Twin Farms in Vermont, ranked as one of the best accommodations in the world. This also marks the first year the museum has a corporate sponsor, Saks Fifth Avenue. Last year’s event netted nearly $700,000 for the museum. There was an added bonus too: snow. “We had truckloads of snow. It was a traditional Christmas—with carolers,” says Loo. “The husband of the chair didn’t realize he’d have to be involved in shoveling.” It will be hard to top that, but we’re sure Harrison has something up her sleeve. Tables $10,000-$50,000, 700 S. Beretania St., Makiki/Ward, O‘ahu, 532.8700, honolulumuseum.org

Going Public!
This year, Ala Moana Center got the attention of island culturati when it added three new sculptures to its public art collection. Pieces like Gerard Tsutakawa’s “Kia‘i” and a contribution by mega-star Yayoi Kusama joined existing works by Bumpei Akaji, Edward Brownlee and George Tsutakawa. Local art consultant Kelly Sueda spent nearly two years curating the new pieces on display. Now comes its latest addition from artist Stephen Freedman. Born in South Africa, the acclaimed talent now lives on Hawai‘i Island. His sculptures have been featured in over 100 exhibitions and reside in many public, private and museum collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Getty museum. Freedman’s “Memory Containers” is on view at the Mall Level 2, Diamond Head Wing, near Bulgari. The three diamond-shaped forms originally contained text which read: “The words form cages but the letters are open windows through which meaning escapes,” which intriguingly faded after firing. 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Ala Moana/Kapiolani, O‘ahu, 955.9517, alamoanacenter.com

Chic Centennial
There is nothing quite like the nonprofit Hui No‘eau Visual Arts Center, set in the rolling hills of Makawao. Its home is the Kaluanui Estate, which was built by the noted Baldwin family in 1917. The Mediterranean design was the handiwork of prominent isle architect C.W. Dickey, whose signature style can also be seen in prominent buildings in Downtown Honolulu. Fittingly, the Valley Isle arts mecca will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the building as part of its largest annual fundraiser, Art Affair 2017, which just happens to be the 25th edition of this fete—on Feb. 25. We couldn’t think of a better way to support the Hui than feast on a dinner created by chef Bev Gannon and Celebrations Catering. Of course, there will be both a silent and live auction, as well as live music and dancing. And better yet, all tickets are partially tax-deductible. Cheers! 5pm, premium individual tickets $250, premium table of 10 $2,500, 2841 Baldwin Ave., Makawao, Maui, 572.6560, huinoeau.com

Backstage With Shep Gordon
Arts and entertainment fans can now get the inside scoop from a true mensch (Yiddish for “nice guy”). Shep Gordon is a Valley Isle fixture and legendary music manager. Read all about his career in his new autobiography, They Call Me Supermensch: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food, and Rock’n’Roll. In it, he covers his five decades in the biz, and he’s hard to top. He’s been an agent for the likes of Blondie, Alice Cooper and Teddy Pendergrass, as well as a film producer (Kiss of the Spider Woman, among others). Trying his hand as a writer, he says, was different: “I learned how hard it is to keep your voice when writing. It upped my respect for all autobiography writers who do it well, like Norman Lear and Keith Richards.” Gordon is also a leader in the celebrichef movement, aiding the careers of Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck and Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa. We suspect his new book will be as deliciously inspired. supermensch.com

Photography Courtesy Of: