By Susan Halas
This year’s Maui Open Studios kicked off Saturday night with a well attended reception at the Maui Tropical Plantation.
The event, featuring 101 participating artists and artisans, was a meet and mingle affair. Each participating artist displayed samples of their wares and the public could browse and decide, if after initial viewing, which ones they wanted to visit in their studios.
Maui Needs This
Open Studios (held on Maui for the first time in 2011) was a resounding success last year – both in terms of numbers attending and resulting sales. It got great word-of-mouth. If the crowd at the preview was any indication, this year will be even better.
Carolyn Quan, organizer of the event, wore a broad smile as she stood at the entrance and greeted her guests. Quan, who formerly ran galleries in Maui and Waikiki, is now a Sausalito, California resident and active in the art world there.
She said that after moving to the West Coast she realized that open studios were an idea with a long history and a substantial following in the Bay Area. She thought it would translate well to Maui. “Hawaii needs this,” she said, and indeed, she proved to be right.
Artists pay a small fee to be included in the deluxe printed program complete with maps, bios and samples of their work. There is also a large website to reinforce the printed piece. The artists open their work areas to the public at no charge, and no commissions are charged by the organizers.
Art lovers are offered three different weekends of roaming through Maui to see a truly vast array of styles and mediums including painting, sculpture, photography, woodworking, jewelry, ceramics, print making, glass and many more.
The prices range ranges from under $20 for a small reproduction to over $10,000 for a major creation.
Friendly & Accessible
This was a first-time experience for many of the artists who spoke with Maui Now, and they were already enjoying the interaction and questions from those who attended.
“I’m finding the people friendly and accessible,” said painter Lynette Pradiga of Wailuku (Weekend 1- Stop 22).
Taryn Alessandro was also pleased with the response. She offered a variety of mixed media pieces that incorporated the traditional elements of painting with found-objects as diverse as bottle tops and beach sand. (Weekend 1 – Stop 26)
“This is my way of getting my self out there,” said plein air painter Ann Pistillo of Launiupoko on the West Side. “I attended last year, this year I wanted to participate.” (Weekend 1-stop 16).
Much to See and Like
Comments were also plentiful from those browsing through the aisles. “We’re decorating our town house in Wailea,” said Dori Thorngren as she signed the guest list at Hui Noeau. “I’ll be looking for things that might go well in our place.”
Bill Brown, a part-time Maui resident from Maalaea, was making the rounds with his wife and neighbors. He’d seen quite a few things that caught his fancy. He particularly liked the curly Koa table by David Ryan.
Indeed, the piece he mentioned was a stunner and Ryan, based in the Pauwela Cannery in Haiku was smiling broadly as people crowded around his work. (Weekend 2 – Stop 47). Ryan credited his fellow wood artist Cody Laririt with getting him interested. (Weekend 2 – Stop 46) “I think is going to be good for both of us,” he said.
Open Studios Calendar for February
There are three different Open Studios coming up in February. These are divided by geographical region. During each of these dates the public can visit the studios of participating artists from 11-6. All of the Open Studio events are free.
Weekend 1: Feb 11 & 12 includes Wailuku, Lahaina, Launiupoko, all of Kihei, and Wailea. Studios 1-40 are open during this weekend.
Weekend 2: Feb 18 & 19 covers Paia, Haiku, Makawao, Haliimaile and Kula and includes studio locations numbered 41 through 93.
Weekend 3: Feb 25 & 26 features East Maui including the road to Hana and Hana itself. Studios numbered 94-101 are open for this weekend.
For more information about each of the participants, their specialties and maps for all of the geographical regions visit the Maui Open Studios website www.MauiOpenStudios.com