Part 3: How You Can Help
People interviewed for this report provided these suggestions for how individuals and businesses can help arts and culture in Hawai‘i. This is by no means a comprehensive list. We invite you to share suggestions with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Use the tag #HawaiiforChange.
Volunteer at your local arts organization:
Or ask to be considered for the board of directors, writes Bob Douglas, an artist on Hawai‘i Island, in an email. “It absolutely does not require a degree in arts or to be a practicing artist, just a drive to improve the community. The time investment can be minimal – even just one hour per month helps immensely.”
Attend arts and culture events and bring friends and family:
Melanie Ide, president and CEO of Bishop Museum, says the key is to do this regularly, not just once. “It’s like doing your exercise,” she says. “And it’s good for the soul. … It just enriches us collectively as a culture and a society.” Artist John Koga adds: “You have to become patrons of it, that’s the bottom line.”
Embrace your inner artist:
Artist Solomon Enos says he encourages everyone to engage in the creative process and call themselves artists. “It is something that transcends any real articulation. I can’t really quite say why it’s important but it’s super important, and people will recognize that once they start drawing.” Maile Meyer of Nā Mea Hawai‘i and Pu‘uhonua Society, which supports Native Hawaiian and Hawai‘i-based artists and cultural practitioners and organizes the annual Contact exhibition, says people shouldn’t just be passive consumers: “Actually do that thing and it’ll create extraordinary appreciation for it and acceptance of it.”
Spread the word:
Let friends and family and state legislators know how important arts and culture is and why, says Ide.
There are several resources available, whether you want to learn the basics or develop proficiency. The Duolingo education platform offers a Hawaiian language course online and as an app on iPhones and Androids. UH campuses offer classes, as do many community organizations.
Keiki Kawai‘ae‘a, director of UH Hilo’s Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language, says: “It’s all of our responsibilities as people of Hawai‘i to support our only indigenous language. It is one of our cultural treasures that only we have, that belongs to us. And by speaking Hawaiian and by promoting Hawaiian, we actually continue to promote Hawai‘i and I think that’s good for our communities, it’s good for business, it’s good for the health of Hawai‘i.”