Donation A Means To Inspire Art Support

Jessica Goolsby
Wednesday - March 17, 2010
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An anonymous donor has presented the Hawaii Arts Alliance with one of the most generous monetary donations the state has seen this year: $110,000 to support high school arts education.

The bulk of the gift has been designated to support the work of eight performing arts learning centers on Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai - including Nanakuli High and Intermediate School Performing Arts Center.

“This came out of the sky,” said Robin Kitsu, NPAC director. “What a blessing, especially with the budget cuts in the BOE. We just feel really blessed.”

The gift, however, is meant as a challenge: Each center must raise funds to match the initial $5,000 gift in order to receive a second grant installment, or become a $2,000 Arts Angel supporter with HAA.

Further, the gift is intended to spur others to donate directly to each center or become an Arts Angel Supporter.

“Actually, we’ve already matched it,” Kitsu said. “We talked with HECO, who we’ve partnered with in the past, and told them that we had this opportunity, and they were immediately willing to match the $5,000 up front. Our operating budget to run the program the way we want usually runs over $40,000 a year, and we’re hearing that next year many of the arts centers will face dramatic budget cuts or be cut out completely, so we’re working to combat that. We always need more funding.”

Kitsu said NPAC already has raised $15,000 since the start of the year and continues working to raise more.

“What we try to teach the kids is that it’s like entrepreneurship,” Kitsu explained. “You have to market the shows, you have to solicit the product, and you have to provide a great production to keep people interested and coming back to support our cause.”

Nanakuli will present its latest production,Rent,April 9-11 and 15-18. Those interested in attending or who wish to donate can visit

“We’re so grateful to the Arts Alliance for selecting us, and again, whoever that anonymous donor was, thank you for supporting the arts,” Kitsu said.

Hawaii’s performing arts learning centers provide performance skills to 1,000 students each year and countless others who are exposed to the arts as audience members.

To donate to any of the matching funds, call HAA at 533-2787 or visit

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