Friday | May 22, 2015
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Take a seat … or a tray or surfboard

A unique event is helping put an art degree within reach for area youth.

The Rotary Club of Kona Sunrise is hosting its third annual Chairs For Charity Art Scholarship Fundraiser from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Hawaii Big Game Fishing Club at Honokohau Harbor.

The club hopes to raise $6,000 to $8,000 for area high school seniors wanting to pursue an art major in college, as well as to support community and youth services in West Hawaii. Artists, groups and businesses have donated one-of-a-kind works of art and other items, all of which will be auctioned off at the event, said Barbara Kossow, Rotarian and event coordinator.

Sports and academic scholarships abound, but arts scholarships are often lacking — the main reason why The Rotary Club of Kona Sunrise created the fundraiser, Kossow said. The event celebrates the Big Island’s vibrant art scene, while benefiting budding artists. Many of the event’s featured artists want to help connect creative students with scholarship opportunities or experiences that allow them to develop passions and reach their professional aspirations, she added.

There are nearly 70 items, including 18 hand-painted items such as chairs, trays and surfboards. Many of the contributors will be in attendance, interacting with prospective buyers and sharing details about their donated pieces, Kossow said.

Born on the Big Island and raised in the Kona coffee lands, Bobbi Caputo is a self-taught folk artist best known for her award-winning childhood memories series “Who Pickin’ Da Coffee?” She tells her stories in paint with new additions to her island and whimsical impressions series. For Saturday’s event, Caputo painted a chair with a pair of Hawaiian owls, or pueo, whose mythological attributes include those of a skilled protector and guardian, a provider of guidance and direction, and a universal symbol of wisdom and knowledge, from which the artwork takes its name.

Caputo participated in this benefit auction because it offers her the perfect opportunity to raise both money and hope for aspiring art students in the community.

“I’ve always felt that encouraging Hawaii’s youth to further their education and pursue their dreams is an extremely important cause,” she said. “It’s a privilege to give back to the community and be a part of this noble event.”

Arc of Kona is participating in the event for the first time this year. The Kealakekua nonprofit helps people with disabilities develop skills needed to achieve the fullest possible independence and participation in society according to their wishes. Making choices, as well as being able to express yourself and communicate with others, are central to the arts, part of Arc of Kona’s regular curriculum, said President and CEO Gretchen Lawson.

Arc of Kona sees the impact the arts has on its participants and has benefited from a cascade of goodwill from the community, including from The Rotary Club of Kona Sunrise. Wanting to pay it forward, and at the encouraging suggestion of a board member, eight Arc of Kona participants and two staff members painted two chairs in roughly five days, “Pualani’s Parrot” and “Hawaii Fun.”

Attendees will be treated to a dinner prepared by Big Island Grill, complete with pupu, drinks and desserts. Grammy Award-winner LT Smooth and friends will provide entertainment.

Tickets cost $35 and are available at Kona Wine Market, Queen Kaahumanu Tesoro, Kailua Candy Co. or by phone at 938-0806.