The Hawai‘i Artist Collaboration is a non-profit entity dedicated to creating opportunities for artists and arts organizations to integrate collective knowledge, experience, and resources for the benefit of society and culture as a whole. We are a meeting ground for artists of all backgrounds, abilities, and cultures and work with planning, development, and implementation of arts and crafts education in the communities of Hawai‘i. Currently serving on the board are Tai Lake, Cliff Johns, JoAnn Freed, and Linda Boranian.
Six years ago I was invited to the Emma Lake International Artist Collaboration event in Saskatchewan, Canada. I joined with 100 other like-minded artists from all sorts of disciplines and backgrounds, to share, experience, and create art together for a week in the great Canadian wilderness. It was without a doubt, the most powerful experience in art making in my entire life. I knew immediately that we wanted to get something like this experience going in Hawaii. Mature artists have very little opportunity to come together with others who have also dedicated their lives to this path, and there is little of bringing in the next generations or those involved in local arts education to share in these lifetimes of experience. The collaborative experience rekindles those connections , compresses creative cycles and begins a far reaching series of three dimensional conversations that extend far beyond the actual event.
These events are essentially self-funded. The artwork produced is sold at an auction at the end of the event. The revenue from this, plus the registration fees, is enough to host the next event. Surplus money goes to scholarship, travel help, better shared tools and materials, whatever it takes to keep the event rolling. The benefit to communities comes from having their artists cross-pollinated and re-invigorated so that they can continue to do all the good that they already do.
The advice from these established events is to start local and small—to build slowly and get us all talking to each other. There is an enormous amount of interest from the world in attending an event here, but for now, there is a LOT of talent here that just needs an opportunity to get together.
From the first invitation we had hoped to get maybe 15 participants. 35 people showed up for the first meeting and the energy was intoxicating. We wound up with 27 participants representing 14 media. It was as if the entire event was waiting to fall out of the sky , the support for the idea was incredible and the experience was life changing. People were talking about ideas for "next year" even before we'd wrapped it all up and we're now talking about "next year" even before this years event has begun.
With help from supporters and The Kohala Center, we have created a 501(c)3 organization aptly named, Hawai‘i Artist Collaboration. Our mission is to create opportunities for artists and arts organizations to integrate collective knowledge, experience, and resources for the benefit of society and culture as a whole. The Hawai‘i Artist Collaboration provides a meeting ground for artists of all backgrounds, abilities, and cultures in order to plan, develop, and implement arts and crafts education and opportunities in the communities of Hawai‘i.