Suzanne Tswei

Local Color
Sunday, April 22, 2001


From left, Vicky Chock, Karen Miyano and Cora Yee
enjoy ConTempo 2001.

Head of UH
Art Gallery ensures
annual show will go on

The art exhibit at the University of Hawaii Art Gallery would not be opening today if not for gallery Director Tom Klobe.

"Strike or no strike, the show must go on," Klobe declared as the faculty strike threatened to shut down the annual art show by students receiving their Bachelor's of Fine Arts degrees.

To prepare for the exhibit, Klobe had to cross the picket line before the faculty reached an agreement Tuesday with the state. He did so with reservations but felt strongly that a labor dispute should not spoil the students' first opportunity to show their work.

"This is where they are really introduced to the outside world. It's like their coming-out party. It would not be fair to them if the show is canceled because of the strike," Klobe said.

An Iona Pear dancer warns the auction is ending soon.

He is donating the pay he earned during the strike to create a travel-study fund for art students.

Titled "Unfolding," the show by 20 graduating art students opens today with an awards ceremony at 5 p.m. and a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit includes painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, video, installation and two performances.

Admission to the show is free, 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. It runs through May 11.

"Of course, I expect the show to be a big success. How could it not after all that we've been through?" Klobe said. He and his staff began preparing the gallery the day after the strike began, but the students have been working on their art all year.

Another show, ConTempo 2001, was also a big success. Never mind that it was two days before the dreaded federal tax filing deadline, the fund-raising event brought in more money than ever for The Contemporary Museum.

"It was a smashing success," said museum Director Georgianna Lagoria. "Every year it just gets better," and having Neiman Marcus as a host site this year allowed more people to attend the event.

Final figures weren't available, but the silent auction of 25 works donated by artists, ConTempoRARITIES 2001, alone raised more than $500,000.

A bronze horse by Montana sculptor Debra Butterfield, a part-time Hawaii resident, raised the most cash. The horse was valued at $185,000, and the starting bid was $85,000. It sold for $220,000, but the winning bidder remains anonymous. We are told that he or she is a longtime Hawaii resident in the early stage of amassing an art collection.

Mark Friday and Saturday on your calendar for the Windward Community College Ceramic Club pottery sale. Functional pots and modern art pieces created by students and seasoned potters will be for sale 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Iolani Building. Proceeds help fund the college's ceramics program, which has been facing state funding cuts.

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Suzanne Tswei's art column runs Sundays in Today.
You can write her at the Star-Bulletin,
500 Ala Moana, Suite 7-210, Honolulu, HI, 96813
or email

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