UH celebrates 24 of its artistic alumni


POSTED: Sunday, November 01, 2009

“;Degrees of Distinction”; comprises the work of 24 University of Hawaii Art and Art History Department graduates who have made their mark both near and far, not just within the realm of art, but in the larger community as well.

There's Grant Kagimoto, president of Cane Haul Road, whose witty graphic designs about island life and culture are printed on T-shirts, towels and calendars. Kagimoto's mark reaches beyond his graphic designs; he serves on boards of the City Commission on Culture and the Arts, Moiliili Community Center and TEMARI, Center for Asian and Pacific Arts.

Laura Smith, executive director for Honolulu Printmakers since 1993, is an advocate for the appreciation and understanding of printmaking and print production. “;Sometimes it is difficult to balance my work as an administrator and my need to continue creating art. But the combination makes for a lively work life,”; Smith said.

Carol Yotsuda has devoted a lifetime to sustaining the art scene on Kauai. As artist, arts educator, community advocate, organizer and volunteer executive director for the Garden Isle Arts Council for more than 30 years, Yotsuda has paired her passions for art and community to immeasurable effect.

Meanwhile, on the national front, Gordon Sasaki has been an educator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City for special-needs groups for more than 20 years. Sasaki himself has been wheelchair-bound since an auto accident in 1982. Speaking from his own experiences, Sasaki said that “;art is a fundamental vehicle, which has the potential to positively transform lives and the communities in which we live.”;

Another UH grad, Harold Koda, curates the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. “;For me, in the end, success is achieved if people find in passing through a Costume Institute exhibition that they are engaged by something that had never arrested their attention before and leave wanting to go deeper and to learn even more.”;

The rest of the lineup: Maile Andrade, Reiko Brandon, Sean Browne, Momi Cazimero, Willa Cox, Allen Hori, John Koga, James Kuroda, Mary Philpotts McGrath, Jason Minami, Wayne Miyamoto, Wayne Morioka, David Naito, Aaron Padilla, Abigail Romanchak, Gordon Sasaki, Noe Tanigawa and Inger Tully.