Artful Appreciations

Courtesy Haleiwa Arts Festival

The 20th annual Hale‘iwa Arts Festival will celebrate its love for creative artwork and community.

There's a reason why Hale‘iwa Arts Festival's executive director Kathleen Ells references her job to a wedding coordinator. Partly because there's a lot of organization involved, but mostly because it's about celebrating a beautiful union. A union that consists between one's love for art and the tight-knit community of Hale‘iwa. And unlike some coordinators, once the festival approaches, Ells will let out a sigh of relief rather than cringe at the knees.

"That day I can finally relax," Ells says with a chuckle. "Because at the end of the day I've got 140 artists there and given exposure that they otherwise wouldn't have. And it's just a great way place for everyone to come together and enjoy our Hale‘iwa community."

Like many marriages, this love story of art and community began twenty years ago with like-minded individuals in the North Shore whom devoted their love to all things artful. The dedicated artists decided to organize into a formal group, forming a space where they can share ideas and emulate the beauty that they were seeing around them into their artwork. Soon after the Hale‘iwa Arts Festival was formed, many other artists, of various mediums, joined into the mix and transformed it into a non-profit that strives "to promote education and public awareness of arts and culture, with emphasis on participation, for the betterment of the community."    

With that mission statement, followed an establishment that sought to promote artistic talents and works within the Hale‘iwa community on a year-round basis. Fundraisers and special grants given to HAF goes back to the community by sponsoring local schools and their educational art classes. Sponsors for HAF—which include the Kōkua Hawai'i Foundation's Plastic Free Hawai'i and The Outdoor Circle—will have their own booths, to help inform residents and visitors on how to get involved within the community.

This year's 20th annual festival will be held at Hale‘iwa Beach Park on Saturday, July 15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Sunday, July 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Along with 140-juried visual artists with original works and limited editions of their pieces, there will be food vendors, games for keiki, merchandise and souvenirs—such as the annual poster, T-shirt and tote bag designed by one of the participating artists from the festival—and live entertainment from local musicians every hour.

Ells is especially looking forward to seeing the interaction between the local artists and the community, and the overall camaraderie that's transformed into lifelong connections.

“It’s a different experience when you’re actually interacting with the person who has made your piece of work,” Ells says. “There’s always a special story to it, a face and a name. It’s a very special thing. It also helps our community become closer and know that we can count on each other when we need.”

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