Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, West Hawaii Today is publishing a story about individuals, groups or organizations that have helped make life better for others in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keiki Heroes, a Hawaii STEM Community Care program, recently launched the Superpower Art Adventure in another imaginative step toward helping keiki thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Art Adventure hub is at www.keikiheroes.org/superpower-art-adventure.
Keiki Heroes, with its mission to encourage children to adopt CDC and state Department of Health recommended habits to help keep them safe, is partnering with artists across the state to teach keiki via free online art tutorials. Videos created by these celebrated local talents will help keiki name their superpower, explore that superpower through art, and set an intention to serve others with their superpower.
“Creating opportunities for our keiki to feel purposeful during this time is integral to their health and happiness,” said Rebecca Choi, Keiki Heroes program lead. “Offering pathways to resiliency through healing forms of expression, like art, allows them to bring their creative ideas to life and share their messages of optimism with the entire community.”
Artists and educators on the project team include Noelani Isabella Anderson, Dani Preston, Bonnie Sol and Therese Uyetake.
Anderson was born and raised on the Big Island, where she started dancing at a young age, beginning with Hula Halau Hele le’i Pua O Waipi’o in Hamakua. She studied theater and Peace Studies at Chapman University in Southern California, and enjoys all aspects of the performing arts as well as local and global peace building.
She now teaches musical theater at Prince Dance Institute where she also enjoys writing original shows for the institute’s annual performances. In addition, she is a peer mediation coordinator at West Hawaii Mediation Center.
Anderson chose to participate in the Keiki Heroes because she loves the initiative and how the organization has taken a difficult situation and circumstance and found creative ways to get keiki and community members passionate about taking care of one another and embracing our kuleana to nourish a healthy community via art, music, and other resources. Her superpower is ability to find the silver lining in situations.
Preston is a collage and multimedia artist, musician, poet and educator on the Big lsland. Born in California, she has taught youth and created art in France and Hawaii. Currently she is teaching art lessons to youth as an introduction to the diversity of mediums which they may express themselves.
Preston’s superpower is gratitude because she transforms all situations, good or bad, into learning experiences which she is able to grow from. She teamed up with Keiki Heroes because keiki are her everyday heroes and influencers.
For over 20 years, Sol’s breathtaking oils have been inspired by nature. As a child growing up on the Big Island, Sol could find be found either outdoors, or in her room, drawing the world around her on sketch pads. Since then, no matter where she has made her home, nature has continued to be her inspiration.
Sol’s preferred medium for professional work is oil paint. She loves the buttery consistency of the paint, especially while blending colors on the canvas. For enjoyment, she really likes teaching with acrylics. She has a home art studio in Hilo from which she works and teaches. Her artwork is shown in seven galleries across the island.
Sol’s superpower is creativity and making art. She can sketch at a rapid pace, bring nature to life on a canvas, and has the power to facilitate a creative space so other people can learn and do art.
Uyetake is an art teacher at E.B. de Silva Elementary School. Born and raised in Hilo, she received her educational degree from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. When not instructing children at school, she enjoys gardening, art and crafts and baking for family and friends. Her preferred medium is oil pastels because they can be applied in many ways and the outcome will be beautiful however it is used.
Uyetake chose to participate in Keiki Heroes to share her love of art with the many children who may not currently have the opportunity in their schools to learn and create art. Her superpower is baking.
Superpowers can range from being an expressive dancer, to being a thoughtful sibling, to making people laugh. Likewise, keiki will be exposed to a variety of art mediums: drawing, movement, storytelling, painting, singing, poetry, pottery, music, and more.
Keiki can submit a picture or video of the final project, along with a brief questionnaire. Submissions will be shared on the Keiki Heroes social media pages and website at www.keikiheroes.org as well as on partners’ platforms.
Keiki who share their art via the online portal will be entered into a drawing to win prizes, from local business gift cards to games, Keiki Heroes goodies, and other surprises.The Superpower Art Project will accept entries on a rolling basis, and will add new artist teachers over the course of the summer.
Know a Hometown Hero that should be highlighted next Wednesday? It can be anybody, from a youngster doing good for the community, to a professional helping with the COVID-19 pandemic, or even a kupuna! Please send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Hometown Heroes Nomination. Please include the hero’s name, contact information and what makes them a hero.