Aka`ula Art Show
Friends, family, community, students and staff of Aka`ula School gathered last Friday evening to celebrate art as the sun set over Kalae`s cool hills. The annual event, held for the past seven years at the home of Bronwyn and Rikki Cooke, featured a lively display of student work as well as pieces donated by Aka`ula staff and board members and local artists — all on sale to support the school.
Dara Lukonen, teacher and head of school, said the show represents the work of about two dozen of the school’s 35 students in grades five through 12. This year’s theme was sand art, guided by art teacher Paul Riel.
“I did some examples and they came up with their own ideas,” said Riel, who collected different shades of sand from all over Molokai, along with guiding students to use colorful, purchased sand. “It’s great for kids to develop their creativity, see their work on the wall and take pride in it.”
The sale gave students a chance to display their work in photographer Cooke’s own studio gallery, which he clears every year for the event. The evening also featured refreshments, music and mingling with friends and the student artists, along with the opportunity to acquire locally-created art.
Student Kekeiki Cabanting’s piece, depicting black and white wolves, tells a mo`olelo on Hawaii Island. His art took about two weeks in the making and was the first to sell that evening.
“It feels good because our school bought it to represent the school,” he said, explaining Aka`ula only chooses a small portion of student art to purchase themselves.
All proceeds from the sale go to the school, which holds several fundraisers every year to support Aka`ula’s financial aid program, as well as school supplies and equipment.
Victoria Newberry, one of the founding teachers, said in addition to being a fundraiser, the annual art sale offers the opportunity for community networking for both staff and students, as well as for students “to see their artwork in a great setting.”