A Central Oahu Arts Center

By Edmund Aczon
Wednesday - August 23, 2006
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front, from left) Bennette Evangelista, Cheryl Orneallas, Edmund Aczon, Elsna Bohnert, (back) Charlie Remington, Antonio Saguibo, Mike Bilby, Ben Acohido and Ford Fuchigami
front, from left) Bennette Evangelista, Cheryl Orneallas,
Edmund Aczon, Elsna Bohnert, (back) Charlie Remington,
Antonio Saguibo, Mike Bilby, Ben Acohido and Ford

My wife, Michelle, and I love the arts, and regularly we go to plays, musicals, art shows, the symphony and the opera. We live in Central Oahu, and the back-and-forth commute into town or to the Windward side can take away from a beautiful evening. We are not alone.

Many of us enjoy the magic of the arts and agree an arts education and performance venue is needed in Central Oahu. The O’ahu Arts Center, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, has a vision to plan, design and raise funds to build a first-class arts education and performance center in Central Oahu. The center will serve the Island of Oahu and even the state, but it will primarily serve residents in the Haleiwa, Kapolei, Mililani, Wahiawa, Waialua, Waianae, Waikele, Waipahu and Waipio communities.

The center will be built on three acres of land donated by Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii Inc., in Mililani Mauka near Mililani Middle School. The first phase of construction will be an arts education center that will be the hub of activity including classes, family programs and studio space. The second phase is a performing arts theater that will seat 750 to 1,000 people. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2010.

The O’ahu Arts Center is led by a 13-member volunteer board and representatives from area neighborhood boards who are passionate about the arts. Together, we dedicate our time and talents to promote the arts as an integral part of community and family life.

In 2002, the City and County of Honolulu gave $100,000 to help launch the vision for the center. The funds were used for an environmental assessment, business plan, fundraising and conceptual planning. Gov. Linda Lingle recently released $200,000, which will take the center into the next phase, which includes our capital campaign kick off in 2007.

Until the O’ahu Arts Center is constructed, we will continue to have events and activities to keep the arts alive in Central Oahu. Here are some of our upcoming events:

* Third Annual Writing Contest, Call for Writers

Open to Hawaii and South Pacific Island residents. Categories include fiction, nonfiction, creative nonfiction, memoir and poetry. For prospectus, contact Elsha Bohnert at 627-1079 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). All entries must be postmarked by Nov. 10.

* A Night of the Arts - Aug.

26, 6-10 p.m. at Mililani Golf Club.

A delightful evening of food from Hawaii restaurants, wine and beer stations, live entertainment and art activities including an underwater photography “how to” clinic, oil painting , coloring contest and more. Tickets are $50 adults and $25 for children age 12 and under. Call 848-7632.

* Trash2Fashion Show - Sept. 21, 11 a.m. Blaisdell Arena

Trash becomes fashion at the Trash2Fashion Show as artists create theatrical costumes out of trash. This project is in conjunction with the City and County of Honolulu’s Discover Recycling Fair. Free.

* Wizard of Oz - Oct. 14, 7:30 p.m. at Mililani Mauka Community Park.

Follow the yellow brick road to the center’s first musical production, the Wizard of Oz. Fun for the whole family.

* Fourth Annual Mozart Festival - January 2007

Celebrate the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with a musical competition for students grades K-12. Winners are featured in a professional concert. Details forthcoming.

Dare to fall in love with the arts all over again. For more information about the O’ahu Arts Center or for details on the events above, visit www.oahuartscenter.org or call 848-7632.

Next Week: Christina Cox, President of KCAA Preschools

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